The following article was published in the 2018 4th Quarter publication of The Professional Bowhunter Magazine from the Professional Bowhunters Society.
My father’s love for the outdoors is part of the legacy that I am most grateful I have inherited from David Watson. There are many good memories and experiences I had with him, enjoying and exploring the outdoors. When I was younger, my father took me hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, and more. In fact, I learned how to use a fishing rod with my left hand because my father was left-handed. Fly fishing was my favorite way to fish. My father showed me how much of an art it was rather than just another way to fish. I embraced the gracefulness of casting that line out and understood how important form was to the art of fly fishing.
The bonding we experienced, occurred mostly when we were together in the outdoors. We went hunting together many times; he taught me how to use and respect a firearm. His outdoors experience helped in teaching me technique during hunting trips – how to be still; how to call a turkey; how to track a deer. He had many hunting trips where he killed deer. However, we never killed anything when we were together and maybe it was providential… After all, I am a vegetarian now. Haha.
One particular vivid memory I cherish was a hunting trip where we cascaded up the mountains to our campsite to spend a couple of nights. Everything from lighting fires, surviving on creek water, etc. is logged into my brain’s databank. I remember enjoying the quietness of nature and the respect it deserves. I now soak in the outdoors and my father’s love for it was surely passed down to me.
My father taught me how to use compound and recurve bows and this was his great love in the outdoors. I completely enjoyed shooting a bow the most because it included technique, calculation, art, stillness, and rarely any luck. If you were good at shooting a bow and arrow, it was because you embraced all the qualities it takes to shoot well. My dad and I both could shoot a bow and arrow well. On several occasions he took me to the Professional Bowhunter’s Society gatherings and I got to embrace the culture of it all.
On May 1, 2018 my father passed away as a result of his Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. He had heart-related issues and was battling pulmonary fibrosis. My brother Tim and I were out visiting him in Oregon when he passed away. We had the opportunity to spend some extra time there while mourning our father’s passing and were able to appreciate the beautiful countryside and shoreline in his native state that he loved so much.
These days, I regularly enjoy the outdoors and camp often. My wife and I currently live in Mexico and I love exploring the mountains and rugged terrain. Every time I am in a new place, I think about how my father would love it there. I appreciate the gift that he gave me in respecting and loving the outdoors. I know he was thinking about bowhunting one last time when he moved back out to Oregon and getting his last elk while riding off into the sunset. But instead, the sunset came first.