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Sarley: Woodstock's Mike Seeling wasn't typical outdoorsman

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:20 p.m. CDT

It’s funny to me when people say that someone doesn't look like an outdoorsman. It just doesn't make sense.

It’s like thinking that everyone who goes to the Chicago Musky Show ought to be big like Babe Winkelman and clad in camo or flannel and big waterproof boots.

One serious outdoorsman in McHenry County did not fit that mold. It was Woodstock’s Mike Seeling, who died at age 65 last week.

Seeling had a gentle demeanor, advertised by the smile he often displayed. His thinning, wispy hair and clerk-like glasses were definitely not things that proclaimed him to be an outdoors warrior.

His stature was rather odd. In my mind, Mike always resembled a Weeble. If you don’t remember, Weebles were toy figures manufactured by Hasbro that were egg-shaped and stood on their bottoms and never fell down.

Seeling, however, was one of the most dedicated outdoorsmen that I have ever had the pleasure of sharing time with on the water and in the woods. I fished with Mike a few times and hunted pheasant once or twice.

A number of outdoor writers and photographers, like Seeling, attended a function in Southern Illinois. He worked for the Daily Herald and remained there for 38 years until his retirement as director of photography, the only job he ever held.

We were all slotted to be able to take part in two activities per day – one hunting and one fishing. Seeling was able to finagle his schedule to get in three events per day and he always came in late for the seminars and the meals. He wasn’t there to eat and drink, he was there to do.

He was a good shot and a talented fisherman and archer. He loved cleaning and butchering what he harvested and enjoyed hanging around with Crystal Lake’s noted “Chef Green Acres,” Mike Ventresca, to come up with new gourmet treats based on game, wild birds and fresh fish.

McHenry’s Spence Petros was a close friend who shared many outings with Seeling. They recently took a fishing trip to Louisiana that Petros deemed, “One of the best trips I have taken in my life.”

Believe me, this guy knows his trips. He told me, “I’m really glad that Mike Seeling was able to experience this as his last trip before he left us. I am glad I was able to share it with him.

Goodbye, Mike. You will be missed.

Notes:

Northern Illinois – Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Hints of spring are starting to show with a couple of days in the 40s and 50s. We still have a lot of ice but be careful on the north sides of the lakes, and where streams run into the lakes and ponds. Late ice can be a good time to catch crappies and bluegills just under the ice. Now would be a good time to get your reels cleaned and new line put on."

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