A Father’s Day Message: Nurture by Nature

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My greatest hero and outdoor companion is my father, Tim. As I write this blog, I am preparing for his arrival in Minnesota on June 23rd for vacation, cribbage, family time, and planning of our 2021 outdoor excursions. I grew up nurtured by nature, and it’s all thanks to him.

Eight years and one week ago, Father’s Day took on new meaning. I nearly lost my father to a heart attack followed by an emergency quadruple bypass in 2013.

Family history reveals that cardiovascular genetics have never been a true friend of the Wiklund clan. In fact, nearly four generations of Wiklund fathers and still-to-share outdoor knowledge have not survived past the age of 63. Thanks to modern medical advances, however, each Father’s Day is now more important than the last.

My father’s 71st birthday is in July, and planning has commenced for a special elk hunt and various upland adventures together this fall.

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Like millions of father/son bonds played out across America, my father’s influence on my love for hunting and fishing is immense; a history that dates to 1990 in the Northwoods of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Time was split between cabin life (a cozy tongue and groove cabin complete with a well, outhouse, sauna, and plenty of mouse traps) and “the shack,” – a small, dilapidated building that stood for nearly a generation on the edge of the Superior National Forest. Between these sacred regions, dad and I shared A LOT of “firsts,” including:

  • My first whitetail buck with a rifle
  • My first ruffed grouse
  • My first deer with a bow
  • My first goose and wood duck
  • My first walleye and northern pike
  • My first smelting experience
  • Plentiful outdoor defeats and misses
  • The remainder of the list would fill this entire blog.

Thanks to him, I grew up nurtured by nature.

Fast forward three decades and now our outdoor time has gained somewhat of a fanfare, which we’re both grateful for. Hunting and fishing endeavors are now enriched by my daughters (spectacular granddaughters by the way!) who are self-described outdoor nuts.

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The best part? The “firsts” just keep coming thanks to my father/daughter bonds.

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Immersed in hunting, fishing, pollinators, birds, and the outdoor lifestyle on our acreage and public lands, my 6-year-old (Grace) wants a career as a biologist thanks to her upbringing. In her short lifespan we’ve shared exciting archery deer hunts, successful upland endeavors, and yearly efforts to raise monarch caterpillars to adulthood. The fisher of the family, Maggie (4), is my mandatory boat and dock mate. When not reeling in bluegill or crappie the size of a dinner plate, chances are extremely high she is by my side filleting or frying our quarry.

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Thanks to my childhood experiences, both daughters are also nurtured by nature.

Father’s Day is defined by Wikipedia as a holiday of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. When it comes to outdoor dads, there is no argument to be made about the paternal bonds created alongside sons and daughters in nature, or their societal influence on conservation – it is purely fact.

With that in mind, my Father’s Day message is simple: nurture by nature.

The outdoors gives us what we need most for a grounded lifestyle – memories, life lessons, wonderful food, and responsibility – I will be forever grateful that my father recognized this fact early-on in life and brought me into the fold.

If you’re reading this, I bet yours did too.

Happy Father’s Day to all the incredible outdoor dads in America, and a special salute to the one and only, Timothy Wiklund!


Jared Wiklund is the Public Relations Manager for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. When’s he’s not working for the bird club, you’ll find him following a pair of dogs into the golden fields of autumn or making outdoor memories with his father and daughters at his side.