Randy Herlein is a guy who loves adventure. He enjoys backpacking, big game hunting, and hunting upland birds over his English Setters. Herlein is a guy who is always planning his next adventure. In 2009 at the age of 59, Herlein was planning a trip to the Grand Canyon when doctors discovered that he had bone cancer. One day life was humming along. The next day the doctors were preparing to remove his leg. “There is no question it was a shock to hear the doctors tell me that they were going to remove my leg,” Herlein said. “Several thoughts went through my head, but when I calmed down, I just remember thinking that I needed to get this over with so I could move forward. Life has bumps and this was one of them but I wasn’t ready to give up on life.”
Herlein had his leg removed at Mayo Clinic and fought hard to recover from the cancer that could have taken his life. “I starting setting goals right away and one of my goals was to hike the Grand Canyon. I accomplished that goal. As far as I know, I am the only full leg amputee that has ever hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out,” Herlein noted.
One of Herlein’s other goals was to bird hunt again. “I love bird hunting with my dogs. I couldn’t stand the thought of not bird hunting again. I love watching my dogs work through a field looking for pheasants. The thrill of watching a dog go on point is something I really enjoy so I worked hard to get myself in shape so I could hunt over my dogs again.”
From learning how to carry a gun when his balance wasn’t what it used to be to navigating through fields of uneven ground, it took Herlein months to figure out how to bird hunt again. His grit and determination paid off. He is an avid pheasant hunter in his home state of Michigan and he guides at the Haymarsh Hunt Club. “I love pheasant hunting and I love grouse hunting,” Herlein explained. “Grouse hunting is extremely challenging, but I enjoy doing it.”
One thing that Herlein struggles with is muscles cramps. “I over use my good leg in order to walk,” Herlein said. “As a result, I have a lot of muscle cramps. One thing that has changed my life is the Hydrate & Recover drink from Wilderness Athlete. The drink has greatly reduced my cramping. It makes hunting easier and everyday life easier. I don’t go a day without it. I know some people may think it is a sales pitch, but it really isn’t. I use Hydrate & Recover daily.”
Herlein is now retired and as he often says he is “busy living!” He travels across the country bird hunting, enjoying life, and pushing his physical limitations. We live in a time where often the only news we hear is bad news. Herlein is always smiling, always positive, and always encouraging others. His film, “Get Busy Living,” It is sure to put a smile on your face even if you are having a bad day. Herlein is a cancer survivor and a full leg amputee. He doesn’t let those things interfere with chasing his dreams and living a life full of adventure. Watch his film below.