Michael Atchison’s Outdoor Legacy

Michael and his son wearing matching Stormy Kromer caps while they smile at their hunted deer.

Michael Atchison, a proud Michigander, has woven the tapestry of his life with threads of nature, community, and family. His youth was spent bow hunting after school and fishing in the summers on the AuSable River. An Army Veteran with a deep love for the outdoors, he shares his story as a testament to the values instilled by generations before him. Taught to always have his heart guide his head and hands, Michael values hard work, family, and the community. 

"Growing up, having a sense of community was a core value. You went to school, church, and work no matter what...but a good season opener may have been the one and only exception to miss a day."

Family summers were spent around campsites fishing and enjoying time spent with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even neighbors. Michael’s family has learned from the outdoors to have reverence for nature and be grateful for each catch. A conservationist, Michael was taught by his father early in his childhood how to fish and how to be an ethical hunter, the same lessons he has passed on to his own son. 

“I remember seasonal summer camping at my grandparent’s old camper on the AuSable River — this was before cell phones, even the internet. I remember family just showing up. I would ride up early with my grandparents and sister, and my dad would show up after work. Friday evening, my uncles and cousins would arrive, and by Saturday, the entire family, even the extended family and neighbors, would all be there. Everyone kept their campers in the same section of the campground on the river, and it was nicknamed ‘The Family Circle.’ There was fishing from the dock and out on my uncle’s boats. What was caught was what was for dinner, and there always seemed to be enough to go around. 

“As I got older, I remember fall and winter camping with my father and uncle, hiking the Huron National Forest, scouting and hunting. I remember the cold winter nights in an old square sleeping bag under heavy wool blankets. Listening to the low hissing of the heater and soft quiet laughs and conversation of my father and great uncle. They were closer in age, and my dad learned to hunt and fish from him. Now my son hunts and fishes with me and my father, and the same traditions are passed on.”

Generations United: A Heritage of Connection

Michael’s greatest joy has been teaching his son what he has learned from his own father. Now a family of three generations of hunters, one of Michaels’s fondest memories includes when his son harvested his first buck earlier this year. It’s a heartwarming moment when three generations are able to take part in any activity, but it’s even more special watching family tradition collide with new history in the making. 

"Family means everything to me. My son and I take every opening week of deer season off to hunt with my father. The days are spent usually laughing and taking turns telling one at another, 'Be quiet, you're gonna spook the dear!' jokingly. Never mind the little radio my dad has, which is always quietly playing Chrismas music. It's more of a 'picnic in a deer blind with a chance of deer hunting,' but I wouldn't have it any other way."

When he and his son are not with his father eating “short order deer camp breakfast” (bacon, sausage, eggs, and pancakes, to be exact), Michael loves to travel with his family and girlfriend, Colleen. Both business owners, Michael is a certified arborist, and Colleen is a horse trainer. The duo embodies what it means to work hard for what you have in life while enjoying every minute of it. As Michael says, “Having nice things is nice, but having good people in your life is better.” 

His First Stormy Kromer 

“My first Stormy Kromer was actually one I had ordered for my dad to replace an old one he had. It was sent to me in Iraq by mistake, as I was in combat serving in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and had ordered it for him as a Christmas gift while at the MWR on one of the bases. It eventually caught up to me through the mail, and I carried it with me in my rucksack for the duration of my time there. Later, when I was in Italy, I mailed it home to him. Years later, just before my medical retirement from the army, he gave it back to me to wear.”

“Stormys” are a symbol of timeless American tradition. They stand for authentic quality, craftsmanship, Michigan craftsmanship, something unique and inspiring, born out of the hard work and ethics of our great state and nation. They bring warmth, comfort, quality, and style that show the spirit of our great nation and state. Stormys represent a “can do attitude” and a Midwestern “we will get the job done” attitude. Just as famous as a Fred Bear bow in a young hunter’s hand, a Buick full of teenage kids going fishing, three generations of a family deer camp sitting on the tailgate of a Chevrolet, sharing in a youngster’s first buck. “Stormys” fit well when worn like the grip of a hickory-handled Michigan ax. 

A “Stormy” is the comforting warmth and a promise of hope, with a letter from home to a soldier far away… that when they return, there will be “time to heal” “with a chance of deer hunting” or a good story of “the trout that got away”…

Michael Atchison’s life is a testament to the power of nature, family, and community. He walks the path his ancestors paved, preserving the wilderness and passing on the torch of cherished traditions. As seasons shift and years unfold, the Atchison family’s connection to the outdoors remains unbreakable, a legacy etched in the tapestry of time.

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