Hospitality lures hunter back to Wakonda area

Hospitality lures hunter back to Wakonda area by Lindsay Nelson Wyatt Watson, a big man with a soft heart, is visiting Wakonda for his fifth season of pheasant hunting.

He is unlike many of Wakonda's usual hunters in the fact that he is a professionally sponsored bow hunter. But, he almost didn't make the trip to South Dakota this year due to Mother Nature.

Hurricane Isabelle tried to change his plans for this year. She left a large red oak tree crashed on the top half of his house, doing $47,000 worth of damage. He placed a tarp over the gaping hole, contacted insurance agents, and did as much as he could at that point.

Watson said, "There is so much damage everywhere that it is almost impossible to find a contractor to do the job."

Watson and his family were out of power for 17 days. His wife knew how much he had been looking forward to his trip to South Dakota and told him to "Go hunt!" So here he is, back in Wakonda.

In Virginia, where Watson resides, he participates in archery hunting and local sporting tournaments. He modestly stated, "I've been lucky and won a few."

When participating he likes to spend time with kids. He will literally stop in the middle of a

hunt, set down his bow and go help the young kids that are hunting that day. Watson gets down on the ground with these kids, visiting and giving them tips on how to bow hunt.

Even in Wakonda, Watson takes many younger kids

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hunting with him, such as Andy and Chad Peterson and Angela Grider and her two children.

Several sponsors noticed Watson, due in part to the time he spends with young people, and they have sent him to several tournaments in places such as Colorado, Arizona, Mexico and Canada. His sponsors are Easton Arrows, Summit Treestands and White Muzzle Loaders.

In fact, when he leaves Wakonda, he will fly back to Chesterfield, VA for three days and then go to Illinois Heartland Lodge where he will participate in a white tail deer hunt. He will be in a tree stand for six days. Most of his hunting consists of bow and arrow.

While here he stays at the Wakonda Hotel where he can find a clean bed and visit with friends. He has also come back two summers with his friend, Ronnie Rice, to hunt prairie dogs in Western South Dakota, which for them is a hoot!

Watson stated, "I take time off from bow hunting to come to Wakonda because the people and hospitality are so good here!"

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