Whether they capture a successful hunt, an amazing catch, a spectacular sunset or a fun hike with the kids, photos bring us back to the scenes of our treasured outdoor experiences. And judging by the huge number of entries in Outdoor Canada’s annual photo contest, our readers certainly enjoy their fair share of adventures. As always, it was tough to pick the winners, but these are the images that really stood out from among the 2,000-plus entries. Many thanks to everyone who participated, and we look forward to seeing even more great photos next time around.

Overall Winner

Overall Winner

Photographer: Sean Donnelly; Where: Sarnia, Ontario; When: October 2012; Details: A rookie angler who usually takes landscape photos, Donnelly was walking under Blue Water Bridges in Sarnia on a foggy morning when he came upon this lone angler. “When I took this pic, I was thinking we are all the same in the scope of nature—the fog and fisherman seemed natural,” Donnelly says. And while he didn’t see the angler catching fish, the fisherman looked hopeful. “It was early." Overall grand prize: $1,000 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card

Fishing: 1st Place

Fishing: 1st Place

Photographer: Stacey Shackel; Where: Lockport, Manitoba; When: May 2012; Details: Catching a channel cat had been on the fishing bucket list of Shackel’s husband, Nick, and son, Alex, for a while, so on the May 2012 long weekend they went to Lockport to try their luck. Nick caught one but Alex didn’t, so they’ll be going back again soon, Shackel says. She captured this striking image of Alex and daughter Abilynn, in Nick’s sunglasses. Prize: Brecks $500 Tackle Prize Pack

Fishing: 2nd Place

Fishing: 2nd Place

Photographer: Judith Kennedy; Where: Gambier Island, B.C.; When: Fall 2012; Details: “This young man spent many pleasurable hours out fishing,” says Kennedy, who took the photo of angler Tom Roxburgh last fall on Gambier Island, where her family has a cabin. Roxburgh was fishing for coho, she says. Prize: Brecks $350 Tackle Prize Pack.

Fishing: 3rd Place

Fishing: 3rd Place

Photographer: Samantha Boyce; Where: North shore of Lake Superior, Ontario; When: April 2012; Details: After a long rainy walk, Boyce, her boyfriend, Brian Neureuther, and friend Matt Nelson arrived at their destination just as the rain stopped, only to find they had the water all to themselves. “It’s a day none of us will soon forget,” says Boyce, who snapped this shot of Neureuther and a fine chromer. Prize: Brecks $250 Tackle Prize Pack.

Hunting: 1st Place

Hunting: 1st Place

Photographer: Darren Dewitt; Where: Near Stratford, Ontario; When: September 2012 Details: Though new to photography, Dewitt expertly captured the thrill of the hunt in this shot of hunter Roland Dyke calling in Canada geese from a cornfield. “I enjoyed the quietness of waiting and hearing the distant honking response of geese to the call,” Dewitt says. Prize: Zeiss 3-9x50 Conquest Riflescope with Rapid Z reticle.

Hunting: 2nd Place

Hunting: 2nd Place

Photographer: Jesse Van Maarion; Where: Mackenzie Mountains, N.W.T.; When: August 2012; Details: “This bull mountain caribou was taken with one shot from a .270 WSM at 440 yards,” says the hunter, Zac Bishop, who submitted the photo (taken by his guide, Van Maarion). Says Bishop: “I couldn’t pass this stud up on day one of a 14-day hunt. It was a great way to kick off an incredible 13 days to follow.” Prize: Puma White Hunter Hunting Knife.

Hunting: 3rd Place

Hunting: 3rd Place

Photographer: Jessie Martens; Where: Near Hines Creek, Alberta; When: October 2012; Details: It was Martens’ birthday weekend when she and some friends decided to go fishing and ended the day practising shots with their .30-06, .270 and 12-gauge. “While I was reloading my last shot I saw a great picture and snapped this photo,” Martens says. “Great sunsets up north!” Prize: SHE C4 Jacket + C4 System Gloves.

Family: 1st Place

Family: 1st Place

Photographer: Ken Goodine; Where: Near Serpentine Lake, New Brunswick; When: October 2012; Details: “I have been taking the boys to a family hunting camp during bird season for the past five years,” says Goodine, who captured this image of his sons (left to right) Jonah, Jacob and Julian, and dog Sampson. “The boys look forward to the cookouts and the challenge of trying to do better than the year before.” Prize: Coleman Ultimate Prize Package

Family: 2nd Place

Family: 2nd Place

Photographer: Tina Jaeger; Where: Near Bancroft, Ontario; When: August 2012; Details: Jaeger’s son, Andrew, and husband, Mark, were fishing with a family friend when Andrew caught his first walleye. “He was so excited,” Jaeger says. And he wasn’t the only one, judging from Mark’s smile. Prize: Coleman Cooler and Portable Deck Chair 3rd.

Family: 3rd Place

Family: 3rd Place

Photographer: Matt Derks; Where: Biggar, Saskatchewan When: September 2012; Details: “This was my daughter Nola’s first time hunting,” says Derks. “The bugs were horrible and it started to rain, but my daughter had a blast setting up decoys and lying in the blind. She never thought twice about picking up a bird and said, ‘Dad, they are so soft.’” Prize: Coleman Beach.

Wildlife & Wild Places: 1st Place

Wildlife & Wild Places: 1st Place

Photographer: Victor Liu; Where: Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, B.C.; When: August 2012; Details: On the last day of a five-day camping trip, Liu decided to capture the sunrise with a wildflower meadow in the foreground. “It took me about an hour to walk around and compose in this area, and I totally forgot there were hundreds of mosquitoes flying around me,” he says. “I probably got more than a dozen bites on my neck and hands, but I think it was quite worth it.” Prize: Thermacell Outdoor Comfort Pack.

Wildlife & Wild Places: 2nd Place

Wildlife & Wild Places: 2nd Place

Photographer: Isabelle Marozzo; Where: Norland, Ontario, When: March 2012, Details: When more than 100 pine siskens arrived in her backyard last winter, Marozzo challenged herself to capture two of them in flight. “They were quite the characters,” she says. Marozzo studied the birds for a long time and took hundreds of shots to capture the start of this aerial dance, but she certainly nailed it. Prize: Thermacell Heated Insoles Pack.

Wildlife & Wild Places: 3rd Place

Wildlife & Wild Places: 3rd Place

Photographer: Curtis Matwishyn; Where: Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan; When: November 2012; Details: Matwishyn says winter camping is a great way to spot wildlife, because you can see their tracks and there are fewer people around to disturb the animals. “This particular fox was very curious,” he says. “It walked right up and sat looking at me for about a minute before it decided I wasn’t very interesting and made its way across the lake.” Prize: Thermacell Mosquito Repellant Pack.