Mike Raahauge: the embodiment of the Father’s Day spirit

By Joel Shangle

Raahauge MemorialYou don’t always have to be a father to be recognized and appreciated on Father’s Day. As was certainly the case with Mike Raahauge, who recently passed away at the age of 72, your influence on young hunters and anglers can (and should) extend well beyond the boundaries of your own flesh and blood.

Raahauge, as so many of you already know, was one of the champions of hunting and shooting in California. The Turner’s Shooting Sports Fair – which just celebrated another fantastic run in early June – is the best example of one man (and family) reaching out to people and opening them into the outdoor community with open arms, regardless of age, social status or ethnicity.

Mike Raahauge was, above all else, generous and welcoming to anyone interested in the outdoors.

“Raahauge aorganized one of the largest hunter safety training programs in the nation, providing classes for first-time hunters in Southern California.” Jim Matthews wrote in Raahauge’s obituary. “As the years rolled by and the classes grew, eventually involving a promotional partnership with Turner’s Outdoorsman, many classes ended up with well over 100 students. A recent count showed that over 50,000 people have attended hunter safety classes at Raahauge’s facility, far more than any other program in the nation.

“Raahauge was instrumental in putting together the annual Youth Safari Day event in conjunction with the Orange County Safari Club chapter. The event exposes urban youngsters to a wide range of outdoor sports, from kayaking to rock climbing to shooting of .22s and archery gear. There are nature walks in Prado Basin and fishing for catfish in a pond on the complex. This year will mark that event’s 15th anniversary.”

As Father’s Day approaches, I’d like to extend a thank you to all of the dads, uncles, granddads, cousins and family friends who have reached outside their own families and created fishing and hunting memories with the youth of our state. Keep them in mind as June 16 approaches.

California Sportsman celebrates Father’s Day with a special package for all the dads of the Golden State.