Fathers push us, guide us, and often lead us in our first connections to the outdoors. We’d like to show gratitude to all fathers who helped usher the next generation into adulthood. Below, a few of our Ambassadors share a glimpse of their fathers’ impact on their lives.
Early one morning when I was eight, my dad and I left the house in the dark. My dad had a buck tag for our property, so we crept up a logging road toward the mountain as the sun filtered through the timber. Suddenly, a monster whitetail buck sprang from cover in the creek-bed. My dad shouldered his rifle and I covered my ears. The shot never came, and eventually, the buck turned and walked away.
For years I tried to understand why my dad didn’t pull the trigger that day. What he wanted was for me to appreciate hunting without killing. To take in the sights and sounds and critters and feel grateful without notching a tag. Today, this lesson helps me slow down and clearly see the innate value in time spent outdoors regardless of ‘success.’
On the right: Sam’s dad, Tom Averett during his days as a hunting guide.
Until I was 18 my dad was a dedicated underground miner. He readily worked the day, afternoon, and graveyard shifts. He packed his metal lunch box and never complained. After 27 years, he finally decided to chase his passion. He became an Outfitter and hit the hills. I have now followed that same career but on a different path. I have never seen my old man complain and when my life seems hard I just think about where I could have been. A 4th generation miner or this. It’s pretty easy to get through those tough days on the mountain after learning from his example.
On the right: Dustin and his dad, heading into the bush to do what they both love.
“I remember sitting in the goose blind with my Dad chasing snow geese in California. It was the middle of December and one of the few times that my Dad and I had no friends along, it was just us. I asked my Dad if I could do the calling that day, he happily gave me the nod. We had geese all around us and I just couldn’t get them to finish. I was frustrated. Laughing at my frustration, my Dad looked at me and asked “Does it really matter?”. As a teenager, it absolutely mattered; but as I look back now, what he said makes complete sense. He didn’t care about the strap of birds that we walked out with. He cared that we were together, sharing the same passion that his Dad had passed down to him. That is something I’ll never forget.”
From a young age, a passion for the outdoors was instilled in me by my father. Actually, I would guess that most of us gals in the outdoors were pretty close to Dad. We were probably the oldest, or the ones that would wake early to fish or would walk the pheasant field from a young age. My father passed in 2008 from CTE after a 16-year football career that covered all of the 70’s and four superbowls with the Minnesota Vikings. There isn't' a day on the water or in the field that I don’t wish he was here to teach me a bit more. I would listen harder, improve my skills, and take in the lessons of life.
There are two saying that I still use often from my father:
1. “Get your head in the game.” Which is probably because there was a little Bud Grant in my father’s motivational style and drive.
2. “Be the cream that rises to the top.” Anyone that had the chance to meet him, would tell you he was exactly that.
Here’s to the fathers, present or not, what they have passed on to us, and what we hope to continue to pass on to our children. Love and miss you, dad.
“Fun is my dad’s favorite. Every time he hooked a fish, he was handing me the rod to reel it in. During my first hunting seasons, he made sure I was the one who would have the shot opportunity. Never once was he thinking about himself, it was always about making sure I had a good time.
In my early teen years, we were bowhunting together and happened to be in a setup in the same tree. A buck stepped out that would have been his largest deer by a good margin, but instead of reaching for his own bow, he immediately turned to me and told me to get ready.
Watching that example has taught me a valuable lesson about what time in the outdoors is really about. I know a lot of people who only judge success by a kill or by a stringer full of fish. But I’ve learned to value having a good time with hunting buddies and soaking up the outdoors over just a notched tag. If we focus on only the end result, we’ve missed what the hunting experience is truly about.”
My dad was one of those guys who was out getting after it year-round. We did a lot of outdoor sports but skiing and hunting were the two things we loved most and spent the most time at. If there was a new hunt or a new area, he didn’t make excuses, he figured things out and he was damn good at it. He hunted bighorn sheep from a raft in one of the most remote areas in the lower 48, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. He did that well before the internet existed and information was sparse.
Think about that for a minute; planning and executing an intense wilderness hunt....no internet, no GPS, no inReach, etc. Just badass grit and woodsmanship. His greatest example to me is to get out and go. The weather might suck, the rut isn’t kicked in yet, blah, blah, blah. Don’t make excuses! Once you’re out there you’ll never regret it, especially if you’re out with your kids.
Brady and his dad in their element.
When I was a kid, my mom was a wedding photographer and she was busy on shoots most weekends. This meant my dad had the sole responsibility of entertaining us kids. He had a new archery addiction and he shared this with us. When the weekend hit, he geared us up, hitched the pop-up camper, and we hit as many archery shoots as we could handle. I didn't know it at the time, but through my dad patiently sharing his passion with me, he was helping me form my career. I am now partnered with him in our own archery shop on the Central Coast of California and can honestly say I love my job.
On the right: Joel, his brother and his dad, Scott, sporting bowl cuts, and wheel cams.