Evart teacher finds quality time outdoors

UP NORTH: Jay Wallace of Evart, and his son, Preston, at their Canada fishing trip last summer. (Courtesy photo)
UP NORTH: Jay Wallace of Evart, and his son, Preston, at their Canada fishing trip last summer. (Courtesy photo)

EVART — Jay Wallace of Evart is one of those guys who keeps a busy schedule teaching and coaching, but somehow finds time to squeeze in his love of hunting and fishing.

He teaches high school special education and plant and soil science at Evart and has been at the school 17 years. He’s a Thumb area native.

He’s been a long-time active hunter and fisherman. Presently, he’s the junior varsity girls basketball coach at Evart.

“Coaching has always kind of gotten in the way of my hunting,” he said. “I’ve coached football forever. When I came from the Thumb, I was always a pheasant hunter and coached football, so I never got into bow hunting.When I got up here, there wasn’t much for pheasants so I got into partridge and woodcock hunting. When I quit coaching football, I decided to start bow hunting.”

Wallace coached football through almost 20 years. As a college student, he was also a coach at Beal City.

“I used to rabbit hunt in the Thumb, I grew up doing that,” he said. “But when I got here, I got a couple of beagles then I started doing beagle competition. I traveled all over the state doing that. The kids started getting older and things got busier and that kind of went by the wayside.”

Wallace went out a few times bow hunting but wasn’t able to get anything. He takes his son bird and deer hunting with him.

“We had a pretty good fall (for bird hunting),” he said. “I went once this winter after deer season.”

He also rifle hunts but came up empty handed.

“Last year, I shot two bucks, but nothing this year,” he said. “I saw lots of deer, a lot of young bucks.”

Wallace stayed away from shooting the younger bucks, waiting for them to mature.

“I used to go to the U.P. snowshoe hunting,” he said. “I go with other teachers and friends. There’s usually somebody that wants to go.”

Wallace enjoys his ice fishing immensely.

“Last year, we didn’t have real good luck but the year before, it was great,” Wallace said. ”I usually go to a few private lakes around here.”

As for public lakes, “we’ll go to Haymarsh a few times for bluegills,” he said, adding that when it comes to open water fishing, “we used to go to Canada every year for about 10 years, for walleye and pike, north of Wawa.

We went this year with the kids. I do a little bit of bass fishing around here. It seems like once the summer gets going, it’s hard to get time. We’ll usually do it in the spring, plus crappies.”

Walleye is a fish Wallace enjoys targeting from the challenge standpoint.

Down the road, Wallace would like to travel out west for deer hunting.

The challenge of having a successful hunting or fish endeavor, having a chance to relax and watching his dogs work are all satisfying aspects of his love of the outdoors, Wallace said.