Retired Marine Corps bomb technician Brian Meyer has found his calling, and his people, by returning to the great outdoors as a hunter.
Brian Meyer didn’t grow up a hunter.
“My parents were not those kinds of people,” he begins. He was, however, born with the calling. As a boy, Meyer would turn the kites his father bought him into bows and arrows and shot his BB gun in the Arizona wilds any chance he got.
“My dad said, ‘I don’t know about you, Brian,’” Meyer laughs to The Billings Gazette. It was this free, adventurous spirit that propelled him to his first calling: a life of service to his country.
Brian is a Marine Corps veteran who served for 12 years, starting at age 19. His enlistment day, he would later discover, came on a prophetic date: Purple Heart Day, Aug. 7.
With a tour in Iraq under his belt, he would then be deployed to Afghanistan. He spent his later days in service as a bomb disposal technician in Sangin, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.
It was here where a roadside “improvised bomb” detonated before him, sending his mangled body hurling into the distance. From this, Meyer would become a triple amputee: losing most of his right leg, alongside his right hand and three fingers on the left in 2011.
“It’s not such a big deal,” Meyer says of the line-of-duty explosion that changed his life forever. He spent 30 days in the hospital, recovering from incredible circumstances that have broken many fine men.
For Meyer, however, his personal tragedy would lead him into a second life. The life of a hunter.
The Call of the Wild
After recovering from his injuries, his deep-seated love for the outdoors led Meyer, now 39, to seek out the Wounded Warriors Outdoors program. Through the nonprofit, the veteran and amputee would find his true calling.
Founded in 2008 by businessman Ron Raboud, WWO organizes opportunities for wounded veterans to experience hunting, fishing, and more – without a single expense. For Meyer, his first outing with the organization would come in 2013 for a Canadian black bear hunt.
“I had a phenomenal time,” he says of his inaugural hunt. “I knew this was for me, but never had the opportunity to experience it.”
He hasn’t been the same since.
“By nature of being a bomb technician, I live day to day,” he continues. But for the active outdoorsman, seeking out the organization was just the beginning. “Opportunity finds me,” he adds, before noting that his mission has now become to help other wounded veterans find and join Wounded Warriors Outdoors.
“Other people need to check out Wounded Warriors Outdoors,” he says. For Meyer, tragic conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder are an obstacle that “getting outdoors and being active” can greatly help.
“That’s some of the best medicine you can take.”
“I’ve never had a bad time hunting”
Since his first hunt, Meyer has gone on hunts with WWO for white-tailed deer, mule deer, mountain lion, hogs, and even alligator. The veteran has also made his way to Alaska to fish, and the hunter found himself pursuing caribou, as well.
After all of these, what could possibly rank as Meyer’s favorite hunt? The next one.
“I’ve never had a bad time hunting,” he adds.
In recent days, Meyer is as active as ever, now hunting bison in the prairies of Eastern Montana.
“Wounded Warriors Outdoors had arranged for Meyer to participate in a donated bison harvest on land owned by American Prairie Reserve. The nonprofit conservation organization has a goal of preserving the unique badlands ecosystem, but has faced opposition from some county officials and legacy ranchers,” the Marine Times states of Meyer.
“Anybody who thinks bison hunting is easy isn’t doing it right,” Meyers laughs. “We were not seeing any bison,” he adds of the trip. But this didn’t deter the former Marine, nor does anything, really, since his triple amputation. From that on, everything else is but small fish to fry.
“That’s kind of the hunting game,” he continues. “I enjoy the peaks and valleys.”
And Meyer has a talent for the peaks. Many hunters never manage to take down a titanic bison. But Meyer did. With the harvest complete, he would drop the meat off at his local butcher, then send the hide and skull off for taxidermy. And whenever he returns home after a hunt, he gets right back to his day job in Fallbrook, California where he helps fellow veterans through a mortgage broker. A true Outsider to his core.
Up next: 5 Reasons Why Hunting Is Good.
[Source: Marine Times]