Reed City coach a 50-50 outdoorsman

REED CITY — Brian Koopman has a full load of teaching duties and also keeps active as a girls basketball coach.

But still, the Reed City area resident finds that he has plenty of time to pursue his immense love of hunting and fishing.

“I’m a seasons’ person,” Koopman said. “I change with the seasons. Right now I’m gearing up and doing some creek fishing for trout with my son. We’re going to start doing some turkey hunting, we’ve got the month of May for turkey hunting. We’re going to try to get the boat out and do some brown trout fishing on Lake Michigan.”

Koopman figures he goes about 50-50 when it comes to hunting and fishing.

“I’m a season’s type of person,” he said. “I try to go for walleye on Houghton Lake and get a lot salmon out of Lake Michigan in-between ballgames and stuff and the fair with my son and daughter.”

Koopman also enjoys going to Kentucky occasionally to go after catfish with his brother-in-law.

“Last year was my first experience,” he said. “You do some noodling. My son and I did that for the first time last year. You go into the water ... and you go along the banks you take a stick until you see a hole that goes into the bank. You put your hand into the hole and you wait for a big catfish. Then the challenge begins.”

It’s a unique sport especially in the southern states, Koopman said.

“I can be a little dangerous because you don’t know what’s in the hole at the time,” he noted. “It could be a snapping turtle, a snake ... that was quite an experience for me. While we were doing it, we saw several snakes, big spiders. Everyone else was in the water doing it. They were doing it in lakes, they do it in rivers also.

“It’s quite an experience.”

Deer hunting is a favorite for Koopman.

“I love bow hunting. My son (Karsten), he loves bow hunting, but I do a lot of rifle hunting,” Koopman said. “Rifle hunting to me is still a challenge. But I don’t shoot any bucks that are small. My son, he loves the outdoors.”

Most of Koopman’s hunting is locally on his own property or this dad’s place in the McBain area. Winter months include some rabbit hunting for Koopman.

“But the rabbit population is way down,” he said. “We do some occasional fishing through the ice. Usually the winter is pretty busy with him having basketball and me having basketball.”

In recent years, Koopman has also ventured out west to South Dakota for pheasant hunting.

“It’s nice to go see a part of the country I’ve never been to before and to do some pheasant hunting which is phenomenal,” he said. “That’s been a good experience for me. It’s 50-50. I love fishing for salmon in the big lake. When fishing season winds down toward Labor Day in September, it’s time to put the pole away and start thinking about bow hunting and scouting. Then it’s rifle hunting and the late bow hunt.”

His mother was a major influence in getting Koopman to enjoy hunting.

“My mom’s been gone six years this year,” he said. “She was an avid deer hunter. When deer season came, it was shut down everything. She was in the woods 24-7.”

In the future, Koopman hopes to take his son further south from Michigan to hunt for trophy bucks.

Koopman, a McBain native who teaches industrial arts at Reed City High, sees plenty of similarities in the challenge of coaching and trying to bag a buck or catch a fish.

“In deer hunting, you have to do a lot of scouting like you do in basketball,” he said.

As much as he’s been involved with the outdoors, there’s a few other things Koopman wouldn’t mind trying.

“For fishing, I’ve never been in Canada,” he said. “I’d love to go up their for a monster pike or walleye. My other thing would be to go out west mule deer hunting. I’d love to go out and get a huge mule deer.

“We went out a couple of years ago and did some pheasant hunting in Kansas. You go out across the biggest open plains and all of a sudden a huge deer pops up and they’re right in front of you. I’ve thought someday I’d like to go back. I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to do.”

If possible, that would also include a safari trip to Africa, Koopman said.

“I’d love to go there once and see things on a safari,” he said. “If I got to hunt them, it’d be great. I’d just like to go see them.”