Michael Phipps learned a lot about hunting from his wife, Erin, who was born and raised in International Falls and bagged her first buck at the age of 14.

“She really kind of teaches me,” Michael said, “more than I teach her.”

On September 18, the night before archery season began in Minnesota, the couple roved through private land a few miles west of Northfield to move some deer stands. After spotting what they described as the “perfect tree,” Michael strapped his ladder to the tree and then decided to clear some branches to fit his portable.

“Sure enough,” Michael said, “the branch I was on broke, and sent me down about 13 or 14 feet on the ground.”

The fall knocked him unconscious.

“It was, literally, the most terrifying moment of my life,” Erin said. “All my training my dad taught me growing up, about what do you do if there’s an emergency, I never thought I would have to use that knowledge. But I did.”

Erin’s instincts took over. 

She rushed to the truck to find a cell phone, called 911, and then directed the ambulance and EMS personnel through remote gravel roads to help treat her husband.

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Michael initially suffered broken ribs, but after his first discharge from the hospital, Erin noticed some issues with his breathing. One of the ribs, apparently, punctured his lung, as he would learn after his second trip to the doctor. That led to a two-week stay, with only Erin allowed as a visitor due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I got to see my wife, but my kids… that was the real punishment,” Michael said, “not being able to see my kids.”

That changed Monday, when Michael came home to hugs, signs and a party in his front lawn, complete with a “WELCOME HOME” message that must have warmed his heart. His brother, David, organized a benefit concert and a GoFundMe, which has already surpassed its goal with more than $6,000 raised as of Tuesday evening.

“We are blown away,” Michael said.

The donations are especially important for the Phipps family, not only because of medical bills but also because Michael won’t be able to work during his recovery process. And, most importantly, Erin is also pregnant again.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561