Reminiscing about the year that was in the outdoors

The author's brother, Gerry, and father, Tom, with the deer Tom shot this year.

The recent bitterly cold weather has brought ice into Michigan faster than it has in several years and fishermen are taking advantage of it from one end of the state to the other.

I’ve only had one short outing so far, but it was enough time for my buddy to connect on a dandy whitefish. We had spears at the ready, but we didn’t need them since this fish readily took his bait.

The author’s brother, Gerry Pink, on the St. Mary’s River in October with the biggest perch he’s ever caught. (Photos courtesy of Tom Pink)

It got me thinking of the last time we were ice fishing – on quickly rotting ice during the last few days of March 2017. During that outing, my partner again out-performed our spears with hook-and-line, and his brother speared his first whitefish.

I’ve had a great year outdoors between that fishing trip and the most recent. We did the usual hunting for turkeys, mushrooms, ducks and deer this year, with plenty of fishing on water in its liquid and frozen states.

I didn’t get a deer, but my dad shot his first in several years, a three-point that should have been a six-pointer – it was missing an antler. I’m pretty sure it was the same buck I’d seen chasing some does on his property a couple days earlier. I blew my chance, but Dad got his and connected a couple days after I left for home.

Joe Susi, of Sault, Mich., and Jon Susi, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with whitefish taken by spear and hook-and-line on the upper St. Mary’s River in late March.

My brother came up in October for an abbreviated version of our annual duck camp, and while the ducks were not plentiful, we found a few, as well as a couple of fish. It was a weird year for ducks that found us shooting divers in our shirtsleeves in early October, and it wasn’t much colder when we shot mallards during the first December duck hunt that the UP has seen in many years.

Here’s to a great 2017. In the coming year, of course, I hope to fish and hunt more, and maybe try some new things, too. We’ll see. Even if 2018 is a repeat of the same trips and methods as 2017, it will be hard to beat.

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