Bear Miller in the Colorado Rockies

Where in the World is Bear Miller?

While I have been working on some writing projects, like my next book, I know that I haven’t been writing much for my day-to-day readers.  I have received a ton of your emails asking why I have been absent, and there is a good reason.  Before I get to that, I just want to say that I really appreciate all of my readers, especially those of you who I have come to know through our continued correspondence.  But each and every reader is valuable to me, and I hope you all continue to spread my words to your friends and family.  My message is meant for all, and my goal is to instill the outdoor ethics and love of our wild places for generations to come.

On my pheasant hunting trip on January 3rd of this year I slipped in the snow on a slight incline as I was approaching two pointing dogs that had a pheasant nailed down.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but that slight slip in the snow caused a ruptured disc in my back, which I have had problems with for 30 years.  The next day I could hardly walk, but I didn’t know what had happened, I thought I was just sore from a long day of hunting.

After two weeks of not getting any better, I decided to see a doctor about my condition, which lead to an MRI, and then a visit with a neurosurgeon.  That surgeon suggested steroid injections to my spine, which I had done a couple of weeks later.  That didn’t work; it made no difference to the intense pain in my back and leg.  Finally on February 25th I saw another neurosurgeon who told me that I need to have another disc fusion, as I had done in 2001.

While that news was devastating, at least I knew that something can be done to fix the problem, end the pain, and get me back to the life I like to live.  The downside is that it is going to be several months before I will be hunting, fishing, or enjoying the outdoors in any capacity.  The procedure is very invasive, and the recovery time is lengthy.  Suffice it to say that I won’t be hunting turkey this spring, and it will be a stretch to be able to hunt elk with a muzzle loader in September.  Pain or not, what I can’t do is pretty demoralizing to me personally. But I know it is the right thing to do, and I have to have it done, regardless of the consequences.

While I am not making excuses, I haven’t felt like writing too much lately.  Aside from the pain, it’s been a mental challenge to deal with sitting around the house, with no ability to do anything at all.  Even going to the grocery store is a challenge; standing for more than 30 seconds is difficult, and walking for more than 20 steps at a time causes excruciating pain.  But I have fought through it, day by day, and now I have 6 days ahead of me to have this surgery.

I hate to bitch about it; my Dad and my Sister have both gone through much more than this.  And the fact that they both fought through it gives me inspiration, and keeps me humble at the same time.  This is a bump in the road for me, nothing compared to what my Dad and Sister have had to endure.  I’ll get through it, and I will be fine.

I just felt the need to communicate to my readers about what is going on with me.  I will continue to write as I can, and I have a couple of articles to post before I have the surgery.  My readers are important to me, and I will continue to provide you with valuable content as much as I can over the next couple of weeks.  And for all of you spring turkey hunters, I’m jealous that I won’t be able to go this year, but I have some good tips for you in my coming articles.

As always, keep an edge on your knife, keep your powder dry, and never miss an opportunity to get outdoors!