EVART — Joe Kretoski has a ball when it comes to bass fishing and deer hunting.

He works at Pine View Homes where he is a liaison with the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate District and serves as a counselor. He’s in his 23rd year and is an Evart resident.

Kretoski has been in Evart for 21 years. He was born in West Virginia and came to the area with his family. His dad was a pastor.

“He came to Jackson,’” Kretoski said. “I didn’t go to school against (NFL coach) Tony Dungy but I played sports against him in Jackson. We were opposing quarterbacks back in the seventh and eighth grade.”

Between the eighth and ninth grades, Kretoski’s family moved to Evart. Kretoski is an Evart High School graduate. He is also a former West Virginia resident. His wife is a Chippewa Lake native.

Not many can top Kretoski’s interest in the outdoors.

“I like deer hunting , I love to bass fish and I love to rabbit hunt...I don’t kill whole lot of rabbits anymore, I’d rather run the dogs,” he said. “I don’t even know if I killed a rabbit last year.”

When it comes to deer, Kretoski invests in rifle season. His biggest deer he’s shot is a 10-pointer at Chippewa Lake at his in-laws. He bagged a doe last season.

Looking ahead to the 2013 deer season, Kretoski is hoping there’s no after effects from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, which came up to parts of Mecosta County last year but did not apparently impact the Osceola County and Evart areas. Dozens of deer died from the disease in west-Central Michigan.

Kretoski said he likes the “excitement” of bass fishing. I can always use ultra-lite equipment.”

In Osceola County, “I fish at a lot of places. There’s some good fishing in lakes,” Kretoski said. “The river’s OK too.”

Kretoski recalls he got interested in the outdoors through his dad being an avid sportsman

“I just learned to love to hunt and fish,” he said. “One of my biggest thrills this year was taking my grandkids fishing and catching their first fish with them.”