• M. Hammeren

A Life Outdoors

As fathers days has just recently passed, I have had some time to reflect on my youth and how important my father was to me. I was lucky enough to have a dad that shares his passion for the outdoors, namely hunting and fishing, with me. I have so many different memories that I can look back on. From the first time learning to shoot a BB gun, the first bird I harvested, learning how to drive a boat, and the first set of antlers I put on the wall. I was lucky. I had a man in my life that gave me direction, instilled a set of values, and taught me the importance of hard work. He taught me the basics of how to spool line on a fishing reel an to tie a knot to a hook. Simple lessons no doubt, but skills that will last a lifetime.

I am now in my late 30's and am still getting to enjoy the outdoors with my dad. After suffering through 3 heart attacks, a double bypass surgery, and a major stroke, my dad is no longer the man he was. Time has taken its toll on him and 45+ years of smoking has done its damage(don't smoke kids). While he can no longer walk the fields of fall and chase pheasants, we can enjoy our time in the boat, bring home a few for the dinner table and continue to make memories.

I now have the ability to enjoy recreation for the rest of my life. Doesn't matter if I'm up in a tree stand, stalking through the badlands for that shot on a mule deer, or pitching a jig on a river, I can be outdoors. You don't have to practice to go pro, or get a college scholarship, the outdoors are something everyone can enjoy and I hope to enjoy them until I am physically unable. They are a gift, possibly the best gift my father could have given me. He's given me so many great memories to look back on. The thrill of success, the learning lessons of disappointment and the laughs from heckling of a missed shot. These are the gifts that I was given and hope to give to my kids.

All of this is possible because he took the time to teach me. This is the importance of getting your kids outdoors and teaching them what our fathers taught us. I am a father myself now and have been for 5 years. My daughter is growing too fast! She is now at that age where she can reel a fish in on her own, and of course wants to reel in every fish we set the hook on. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love to see her excitement when the rod bends over. While I want every fish to be a walleye, she is just happy to catch anything, and of course like a true outdoorsman, the bigger the better.

I hope that as she grows her passion for the outdoors will continue. She is already asking to come on hunting trips. I hope I can continue the traditions my father passed on to me. I hope when she is an adult she can look back knowing she had a dad who loved her, and gave her the gift of the outdoors.

Too all of the fathers that have given the gift of the outdoors, feel proud. It is quite possibly the best gift you can give your kids.

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