A Hunter Who Survived Suicide

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A Hunter Who Survived Suicide

Postby TRMichels » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:08 am

Don't know if I posted this before, but here it is.

A Hunter Who Survived Suicide
I was born to unwed parents, a sixrteen-year-old girl, and an eighteen-year-old boy. I was then adopted by Dr. Roger Michels and his wife Pat, and grew up in Willmar, Minnesota, where I attended St. Mary's Catholic Church. After high school I enrolled in St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, with plans of going into wildlife research. But, I left college to work as a horse trainer and trail guide on a guest in ranch in Loveland, Colorado. After several years jumping from job to job I moved to Cheyenne Wyoming, where I managed a pet store and sold men's clothing. My life was fairly settled; I had a good job, I dated occasionally, and on the outside I appeared happy. But, I felt alone, and I was depressed.

While I was in Cheyenne my parents had become "Born Again" Christians. Learning of my depression they flew to Cheyenne and shared their newfound knowledge of Jesus with me. Shortly after they left I found myself in a Catholic church for the first time in years, and I knew I had found what I was looking for, a relationship with God.

I began to attend church regularly, and a few months later I was invited to attend a "Charismatic" prayer meeting by one of the nuns from the Catholic church. Within weeks I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I received "the Baptism of the Holy Spirit" and I became a "Born Again" Christian.

For the next several years I was on fire for the Lord, and I became the leader of the prayer group in Cheyenne. When I moved back to Willmar, I became the leader of a prayer group at the local Junior College. In 1977, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to manage a pet store. I was also trying to start a new business as a pet wholesaler, and working as a musician. Then my girlfriend broke off our relationship. I became depressed and attempted suicide by placing the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun under my chin and pulling the trigger.

I don't remember much about the incident, except putting my hands to my face, feeling that it was sticky (with my own blood) feeling something sharp (the shattered bone of my left jaw), and realizing that I couldn't see or speak. I reached for the phone and dialed the operator, but because I couldn't speak, I couldn't tell her what was wrong or where I was. I thank God that she realized something was very wrong.

Because I couldn't speak the operator tried to trace the phone call. When she couldn't trace it she tried to find out where I was by asking me questions and having me tap on the phone receiver; once for "yes" and twice for "no".

Meanwhile, my sister Debbie had been trying to reach me on the phone, but she kept getting a busy signal. Because she was worried she called the operator and asked them to cut in on the phone line. The operator told her she couldn't cut in because it was an emergency situation, and they were trying to trace the call. Debbie explained who she was, and promptly gave the operator my address.

The next thing I remember was the sound of the ambulance coming down the street and the operator telling me that help was on the way. By this time I had been lying on the floor, bleeding to death, for twenty minutes.

When the paramedic finally reached me, he picked up the phone and I remember him telling her, "We're here. It's bad, I don't think he's going to make it." When I heard those words I gave up, and thought to myself, "Well God, here I come. I haven't been real good, but I haven't done anything real bad either. I hope I make it to heaven."

I don't remember the ride to the hospital in the ambulance, or the paramedics trying to get me to lay down on the stretcher, so they could put a tracheotomy tube into my throat to help me breathe, because I was drowning in my own blood. I don't even remember the emergency room doctor asking me if I wanted him to help me. I was in such bad shape that the doctors didn't know if I would live.

Two months later, as I stood in front of the mirror in my hospital room, I saw my face for the first time after shooting myself. What I saw was a swollen, mutilated, grotesque face, with a plastic brace screwed onto the outside of my shattered jaw to hold it together. At first I felt like I was in a bad dream, and that everything would be all right when I woke up. When I realized that what I saw was real, I tried to jump out the window of my hospital room. Thank God it was locked.

In the following months I had several surgeries to repair the damage I had done to myself. Some of the surgeries were so difficult that I was given the Last Rites. At one point I had seven major surgeries in thirty-five days, one of those surgeries lasted 14 hours. When I awoke from the last of those surgeries I had new incisions on my face, both of my legs, my chest, my left side, my left arm, and my left wrist.

While I was in the hospital my parents had flown back from Guam, where they lived. They, along with my sisters, prayed that I would live. They witnessed to me about God's mercy, and told me that they were sure that God had a plan for me. In spite of several failed surgeries, I somehow kept my faith in God.

Over the next ten years I had major surgery every six months. Muscle was taken from my upper arm, my side and my chest to repair my face and the roof of my mouth, which was no longer there; blood vessels were taken from both my feet, and the top of my head to provide blood for the muscle transplants to the roof of my mouth. Bone was taken from both my hips, the left side of my pelvis, and a rib from my right side to repair my upper and lower jaw; skin was taken from my upper thighs six different times to transplant to my mouth and sinuses. I barely recovered from one surgery before I went in for another one. After I had my twenty-first surgery I decided not to have any more. Even though the doctors told me they could do more, I had had enough.

While I was still having reconstructive surgery I met my wife Diane, and we were married in 1984. I adopted her daughter Melissa two years later. We then had a son, Dallas, and another daughter, Tawnya. In an effort to regain some semblance of a normal life I attended the Wilderness Guides and Packers School in Jackson, Wyoming, where I received my diploma as a certified hunting guide. Two years later I formed T.R. Michels Guide Service; booking hunts for several guides and outfitters in North America. I also guided for elk in New Mexico, and for goose, deer and turkey in Minnesota. For the next few years I was busy throughout the year booking hunts, guiding, and giving seminars at sport shows. Then, because I was away from home for much of the year, Diane left me.

During the first years of our marriage the family had attended church regularly. But, we had not been attending prayer meetings. After Diane left I felt the need for Christian fellowship, support and prayer, and I began attending a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting in North Saint Paul, Minnesota. Within six months Diane returned home and our family began to regularly attend prayer meetings, with a renewed faith in the Lord.

One night, while we were praying in tongues at the prayer meeting my son Dallas whispered to me that he wanted to pray in "tongues" too. But, he said he didn't know how. I told him, "Maybe you don't know how, but the Holy Spirit does, just let him do it for you." While I was talking to him I noticed that my youngest daughter Tawnya was praying in tongues, which she had never done before. And then Dallas began praying in tongues. I know now that they had both accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and that on that night they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; Dallas was eight years old, Tawnya was six. My oldest daughter Melissa gave her life to Christ later that same year; she was thirteen.

In 1999, Melissa became engaged to Greg Boehmer, who she had been dating since she was 13 years old. Later that year a local evangelist, Lowell Lundstrom, invited me to speak at the 2000 Wild Game Dinner at Celebration Church in Lakeville, Minnesota. Greg accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the dinner that night. Then, the night before Palm Sunday of 2001, five weeks before he married Melissa, Greg was baptized and confirmed, and he celebrated his first communion in the Catholic Church. I am proud to say that I now have another "Born Again" son.

By the grace of God I began writing my column Maximum Effort Hunting System, which was published in several Midwest publications, in 1987. I began giving seminars at sport shows throughout the Midwest in 1988. I designed Konifer camouflage for the Cabela's catalog in 1989, and Field "Stalker" for the Herter's catalog in 1992. I wrote my first two books Goose Addict's Manual and Elk Addict's Manual during that time. In 1997 I began writing for the National Rifle Association's American Hunter magazine.

Since that time I have written for the National Wild Turkey Federation's Turkey Call, Petersen's Bowhunting, Buckmasters, Bow and Arrow Hunting, North American Whitetail, Fur-Fish-Game, Midwest Outdoors, Big River Outdoors, Midwest Bowhunter and several other regional and state publications. I wrote the "Deer Management and Nutrition & Deer Research" column in the Rub-lines magazine, and the "Deer Biology and Behavior" column in the Whitetail Fanatic magazine. I have also written articles for the Christian Bowhunters of America Speaking Out magazine, and the Christian Deer Hunters Association newsletter. I also author most of the articles in Trinity Mountain Outdoors Magazine and the T.R.'s Tips talk forum on my web site at www.TRMichels.com. I also co-founded COFA.

I thank Jesus for dying on the cross for me, for coming into my life, for saving my life, for returning my speech and sight, for saving my marriage, and especially for saving my soul.

Jesus is my God, my Lord and my Savior.


T.R. Michels has been called, “The most versatile hunting seminar speaker in North America.” He is nationally recognized for his action-packed, informative seminars, which are based on his experience as a wildlife researcher and professional guide. As a speaker for nineteen years he has provided whitetail, duck, goose, turkey and elk seminars at the Deer and Turkey Classics, Expos and shows in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin; and at the Chicago Sport Show, Chicagoland Sport Show, Denver Sportsmen's Show, Eastern Iowa Sport Show, Gulf South Hunting and Fishing Show, Louisiana Sportsmen's Show, Michigan Outdoorama, Milwaukee Sentinel Sport Show, Minneapolis Sport Show, Minnesota Game Fair and the Quad Cities Outdoor Show. He has also been the featured speaker at the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet, the Iowa Bowhunters Association banquet and the Christian Deer Hunters Association banquet.

T.R. has spent several years studying game animal behavior, including communication through vocalization, scents and visual stimuli; and ways to use this knowledge to attract game. He conducted a seven-year study to determine how weather and lunar factors affect deer movement and rut related activity; and the effectiveness of using scrape activity to determine when and where to hunt whitetail bucks. He conducted a four-year study to determine how seasonal and current weather conditions and lunar factors affect turkey movement, gobbling, and breeding activity. He has also conducted a study to determine how elk activity is affected by meteorological conditions and lunar factors; what calls elk use and how they use them; and how daily and seasonal bugling are affected by age, dominance and competition among bull elk.

T.R. is also the owner and webmaster of the Trinity Mountain Outdoors web site at www.TRMichels.com, which hosts his hunting articles and tips in the Trinity Mountain Outdoors Magazine, his "T.R's Hunting Tips" and the "T.R's Hunting Tips" message board and talk forum, and his wildlife viewing and photography tips in the Trinity Mountain Outdoor Adventures Natural History and Travel Magazine.
Last edited by TRMichels on Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
T.R. Michels
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Postby dleo » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:43 am

That is very inspirational. A fews years ago we had a priest come to our church but I cannot recall where he was from but he was a charismatic priest. I had never heard of one up to that point but he had a really good message. I attend St. Francis of Assisi in Madison Ms and I am a team leader for RCIA.
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Postby danmanion » Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:21 pm

TR, great testimony. I too am spirit filled. To God be the Glory.
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Postby Mike Brooks » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:38 am

TR, how is your health doing?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5
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