Teacher devoted to outdoors

EVART – Fishing and hunting in his own backyard is a concept that appropriately applies to Evart’s Jim Chatel.

“I do quite a bit, I deer hunt and turkey hunt,” he said. “I really enjoy pike spearing in the winter-time … as often as possible, I guess.”

The sixth-grade math and science teacher at Evart Middle School is in his ninth year in Evart after growing up in the Tawas City and Midland areas. He went to school at Marquette and attended college at Northern Michigan University and has a master’s degree from Central Michigan.

Evart schools provided Chatel with his first teaching position.

Chatel deeply enjoys all three hunting seasons: archery, rifle and muzzleloading.

Last season, “I hunted quite a bit. I shot two deer with my bow, one out of the ground and one from a tree,” Chatel said. “I shot a couple of bucks with my rifle. I had a really good deer season.”

Chatel hunts in the U.P. for opening weekend of rifle season and bow hunts in the Gladwin and Clare county area on his grandmother’s property plus some area stand land.

“It’s not a real scientific estimate but I was seeing some deer this year,” he said.

Chatel recalls bagging a lot of memorable bucks.

“Probably the nicest one I shot was this year (on his grandmother’s property) with my rifle,” he said. “It’s probably the largest buck, 9 points and about 20 inches wide. It almost got away. I saw it and couldn’t get a shot. I had to grunt at it to get it to stop and look. It was a last second shot through some brush. I ended up making a good shot.”

Turkey hunting also draws Chatel’s attention, considering he actually lives in Clare county.

“It seems to be pretty steady,” he said.

Hunting has been in Chatel’s blood for a long time.

“I pretty much got carried into the woods,” he smiled.

Fishing is also in his blood although Chatel had to adjust his schedule to what was mild winter.

“It was late getting the shanty on the ice,” he said. “But I speared the biggest pike of my life this year.”

Chatel took a 43-inch pike out of an Osceola County lake. When it comes to open water fishing, he likes flyfishing for trout.

“I have three young girls who love to fish,” he said. “I take them as often as I can. They like the ice fishing and spearing. They can watch the fish under the shanty.”