There are only two acceptable uses for ice

As a hockey goalie, I am pretty opinionated as to what ice should be used for. Hockey is perfectly acceptable. Figure skating is not. But as an outdoorsman, there are a couple other things I don’t mind ice being used for.

While waiting to get on the ice for a league hockey game, I often hear my teammates grumbling about the figure skaters who are twirling around on the surface. The most common comment is, “What a waste of perfectly good ice.”

But I’ve heard the same comment uttered by ice fishermen when youngsters are batting a puck around on a city park lake. I’ve also been riding in a truck with fellow goose hunters when we pass a lake where ice anglers are trying their luck. The familiar phrase can be applied to that situation, too. I guess it all depends on your point of view.

My hockey teammates might be mortified to hear me say this, but I don’t see anything wrong with either ice fishing or goose hunting on ice.

That being said, I don’t mind ice fishing, but you probably won’t find me hunkered over a hole very often. During my short stint as a Game and Fish photographer up in North Dakota, I got to tour quite a few ice huts that were nicer than my own home. They had recliners, full kitchens, satellite TV and just about anything else you could think of. But that just seems to go against what ice fishing’s all about. It seems to me if you go ice fishing, you should just resign yourself to the fact that it’s going to be cold, and probably windy. And as far as I’m concerned, fishing and television just don’t mix.

The same’s true for goose hunting. Again, I’ve been in some pretty plush blinds. Comfortable chairs keep the hunters’ rumps off the cold ground, and propane heaters keep the pit a reasonable 65 degrees. But again, it just doesn’t seem right to me.

But as long as I’m hunting or fishing, I think I’d learn to live with it. For now, I’ll make do with my ground blind for hunting and an upside-down bucket for fishing. It’s what I have, and I’m happy to have it.