September 30, 2004 at 9:47 a.m.
Bergquist, 27, a life-long resident of Lindstrom and an avid deer hunter for many years, took his first bear with a crossbow September 16 with the help of his friend, Todd Angel, owner of St. Croix Outdoors and Todd’s 10-year-old son, Scott.
Bergquist lives with Cerebeller Ataxia, a condition that affects his ability to coordinate and control muscle movement and balance, and in 1997, he lost his left arm to a staph infection. Despite daily challenges, his passion for hunting and the outdoors remains unwavering.
“Todd got us out and up into the stand each night and helped us down from the stand at quitting time, and Scotty helped me with what I needed in the blind,” Bergquist said. “While the bear was heading our way, I had Scotty hold the crossbow until I was able to get up from the chair I was sitting in. Due to Ataxia and how I shake, also with the loss of my arm, I have a tendency to shoot left.” With that in mind and the bear moving from left-to-right, Bergquist put the scope’s crosshairs squarely on the sow’s shoulder. “I ended up taking the shot as it was partly quartering away.” When big game hunting, experience and patience usually pay off in the end, and this hunt was no exception. The arrow hit its mark and the bear dropped on the spot.
The Angel and Bergquist families have been friends for many years, and Mitch has remained a close friend to Todd and the Angel family. “Todd has always encouraged me to keep going, to keep active in the outdoors, and has always invited me up to their place, north of Taylors Falls, to bow and gun hunt. Todd knows my condition and built stands on his property with me in mind, utilizing stairs instead of ladders. He’s always trying to help,” said Bergquist.
Of course, helping each other is a two-way proposition, so when Todd is busy organizing and coordinating Ducks Unlimited and other annual hunting banquets in March and April, Mitch is always available to lend a hand and lighten the load. “I enjoy and appreciate giving something back,” said Bergquist.
I’d argue that most of the people I know hunt and fish. They are men and women who would assist others in the woods or afield without a second thought. It is the rule, not the exception. They are sportsmen that lead a “sporting life,” and their actions transcend the mere endeavors of hunting and fishing. It affects the way they conduct themselves each and every day, and most importantly, it has a profound bearing on the way they treat others.
Todd Angel and Mitch Bergquist are two such men. They are sportsmen in the truest sense of the word.
Dan Brown’s weekly outdoor column is brought to you by Frankies Bait and Marine in Chisago City and St. Croix Outdoors in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.
Dan Brown is a director at the Chisago Lakes Achievement Center in Chisago City. In addition, Brown is a fly casting instructor and trout fishing guide at Seven Pines Lodge in Lewis, WI. Recently Brown was featured on Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound and ESPN II’s Backroads with Ron and Raven, as well as KSTP channel 5’s Eyewitness News Morning Show. He is a Taylors Falls resident and can often be found on the area lakes, trout streams and the St. Croix river.
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