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A MOUNTAIN CONQUERED Also featuring...

MY CAMPFIRE STORY FATHERS, SONS & MENTORS THERE & BACK AGAIN HIGH ANXIETY Vol. 30 | Issue 3

DISPLAY UNTIL

DECEMBER 31, 2019

$

8.95


Hunting

Dall Sheep | Alaska Yukon Moose | Mtn. Caribou | Mtn. Goat

w w w. l a n c a s t e r f a m i l y h u n t i n g . c o m

Jim (250) 846-5309 Clay (250) 263-7778

jladventures@xplornet.com

Helicopter and riverboat backpack hunts in the Mackenzie Mountains, NWT


INSIDE

THIS ISSUE

Mountain Hunter is the official publication of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC), Association of Mackenzie Mountains Outfitters and Yukon Outfitters Association.

FEATURE STORY

Articles, photos, editorial submissions, comments and letters to the editor should be sent to:

A MOUNTAIN CONQUERED Rocco Mattarazzo

MOUNTAIN HUNTER: c/o GOABC, #103 – 19140 28th Avenue Surrey, British Columbia Canada V3Z 6M3

ON THE COVER

Tel: (604) 541-6332 Fax: (604) 541-6339 E-mail: programs@goabc.org www.MountainHunterMagazine.com

12

www.facebook.com/mountainhuntermagazine @MtnHunterMag

Rocco Mattarazzo with his goat guided by Terminus Mountain Oufitters

@mountainhuntermagazine

MOUNTAIN HUNTER is published three times a year by the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia 2 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION

4 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION

Canada - $50 CDN USA - $50 USA International - $65 CDN

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20

28

MY CAMPFIRE STORY

FATHERS, SONS & MENTORS

THERE AND BACK AGAIN

HIGH ANXIETY

Melissa Tautscher

Cindy Carpenter

Colin M. Sands

Jerry Russell

All prices include tax.

SEAN OLMSTEAD MICHAEL SCHNEIDER FRASER MACDONALD DOUG MCMANN KEN ROBINS MATT LEUENBERGER MICHAEL YOUNG LEIF OLSEN

President Past-President First Vice-President Second Vice-President Director Director Director Director

LOCAL PRESIDENTS: STUART MAITLAND SCOTT PICHETTE AARON FREDLUND MIKE DANIELSON RUDY DAY KIFF COVERT MELVIN KILBACK RILEY LEUENBERGER MIKE LEWIS STAFF: SCOTT ELLIS JENNIFER JOHNSON BRENDA GIBSON CRAIG SWEETMAN BRENDA NELSON

Cariboo Chilcotin North Central(Omineca) Northern (Peace) Northwest (Skeena) Tahltan Guide & Outfitter Assoc. Thompson Okanagan Southern (Kootenay) Vancouver Island/South Coast

Executive Director Executive Assistant & Member Services Communications & Special Projects Consumer Marketing Director Content Quality Oversight

(403) 357-8414 HAROLD GRINDE KELLY HOUGEN WERNER ASCHBACHER

President Past-President Secretary

MAC WATSON CHRIS MCKINNON SHAWN WASEL

President Past-President Executive Director

50

DEPARTMENTS 2

GOABC President’s Corner

44

Conservation MattersTM

3

News & Views

55

Poem: The Wild Mistress

6

Preferred Conservation Partners

56

Fair Chase Kitchen

26

Guides Gallery

60

A Different Perspective

ADVERTISERS A Bar Z Outfitters..................10

Gundahoo River Outfitters...24

Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding................................49

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation ...........................33

Arcadia Outfitting.................32

Houston Safari Club..............47

Safari Club International....49

Ashnola Guide Outfitters.....59

Hub Insurance......................42

Scoop Lake Outfitters.............9

BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters............................24

Inzana Outfitters...............OBC

Shadow Mountain Outfitters..55

Bonnet Plume Outfitters......10

Kettle River Guides & Outfitters...........................24

Sikanni River Outfitters.......42

Boone & Crockett Club............9

Krieghoff International.......11

Bugle Basin Outfitters..........59

Lancaster Family Hunting..IFC

Cariboo Mountain Outfitters..10

Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters.........................32

CBI Solar.................................5 (867) 668-4118

34

Dallas Safari Club................18 Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters............................32

McCowans Sporting Properties............................24

Pelly Lake Wilderness Outfitters............................5 Raven’s Throat Outfitters....59

Silent Mountain Outfitters.....48 SITKA Gear...............................19 Sonny’s Guiding Service........42 South Nahanni Outfitters.......5 Sports Afield.............................43 Stone Glacier............................48

Liard River Outfitters..........49

Tuchodi River Outfitters........48

Eureka Peak Lodge & Outfitters.............................10

McGregor River Outfitters....5

Wicked River Guide Outfitters..................................59

MennoSchaefer, Caroline Laanstra of CDL Photography

Gana River Outfitters...........33

All rights reserved. Articles and advertising in Mountain Hunter do not necessarily reflect the view or directions of GOABC. GOABC reserves to the right to refuse any advertisements.

GOABC...................................42

Northwest Big Game Outfitters........................IBC

Grand Slam Club/Ovis...........58

Peak Refuel...........................33

Depositphotos.com: david clode, my-name-is-yanick-ac, Mshake, lightwavemedia, dmstudio, emberstock, Valentyn_Volkov, Rangizzz,

Mervyn’s Yukon Outfitting...33

Wild Sheep Foundation..........25 Yukon Big Game Outfitters.....11

Designed in Canada by PG Web Designs Printed in the United States of America by Forum Communication Printing - Fargo, North Dakota

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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GOABC PRESIDENT’S CORNER “When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thoughts, you don’t need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.” ~ Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t It was rooted in this place that the board met in June to reengage with our strategic planning initiatives. Good governance equals more effective board meetings. Because of the gains the board has made over the past 12 months, we were able to reduce our summer board meeting to half as much time as they have been taking in previous years and reinvest the time into continuing the strategic planning begun Sean Olmstead, in March. President, GOABC The vision of an organization is such that, if it were to happen, the organization would no longer need to exist. BC has much work to do to achieve abundant big game populations for all wish you a safe and successful season. Too soon the adventures to enjoy, both now and in the future. Thus, with the goal of of 2019 will be wrapped, adding more fond memories to the welcoming fishing guides into our membership, we agreed bank that will fuel us into the seasons ahead. upon a slight but key revision to our vision. It now reads abundant wildlife as opposed to big game. We look forward Our Vision to providing relevant services to this group and welcoming A province with a strong and stable guide outfitting newcomers to our organization. industry and abundant wildlife populations for all to From there, with the alignment of vision, mission, values enjoy, both today and in the future. and goals reaffirmed, we worked together in teams to give our goals “legs.” Champions were assigned to each imperative; Our Mission outcomes, actions, KPIs and due dates set. With this work As passionate advocates for wildlife, the Guide completed and other key conversations had, we left our Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) sessions with a clear vision and renewed sense of how we are is the recognized voice of the guide outfitting family. going to get there – together. With integrity and professionalism, GOABC promotes Since then, the summer has passed in a blur! With special the conservation, stewardship and sustainable use memories of good times enjoyed with friends and family still of wildlife. fresh in mind, we’ve completed our preparations and have headed back into camp for the season we all live for. Having highly competent staff addressing the daily operations of GOABC allows the board and I the freedom to focus on our TM clients and facilitate the dreams they come to BC to see come true. The next few months will be incredibly busy for us all and I

Wildlife FIRST

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VIEWS

NEWS &

Scott Ellis, Executive Director, GOABC

On August 9th GOABC stepped into a new era. After much discussion at the board and membership level, consultation with PR experts, and a film tour through the north western region of the province (netting 21 interviews in just eight days!), we went live with the launch of our Who Cares? social media campaign. A key part of GOABC’s Fight for the Hunt mandate, the purpose of the PR campaign is to slowly socialize a different perspective about hunting and its role in wildlife management. As all in the hunting community are aware, urban dwellers have become increasingly disconnected from the wild places and wild things that make British Columbia one of the most spectacular places on earth. As hunters, it is our responsibility to do a better job of communicating to non-hunters how, in the big picture, the regulated harvest of wild game does far more for conservation than any other tool humans have in our arsenal. This massive gap in understanding became overwhelmingly apparent with the closure of the grizzly bear hunt in 2017, at which time it was stated that the vast majority of British Columbians were against the hunt. As Michael Sabbeth’s A Different Perspective article on page 60 of this issue of Mountain Hunter suggests, a good question to ask these folks is, “Would you support hunting grizzly bears if hunting resulted in more healthy grizzly bears?” The Who Cares? campaign revolves around the three Cs – Consumption, Conservation and Community. In our experience, it takes just a brief conversation with the average Vancouverite to help them see how, not only is hunting a key performance indicator of a healthy wildlife population, it is the primary source of incentive and revenue for conservation. After all, what we appreciate, appreciates. Our Who Cares? campaign is focused on engaging the

“70 percent in the middle” – those individuals who are predominantly urban dwellers, largely unaware of the current challenges wildlife are facing in British Columbia, unfamiliar with the important role that hunting plays in conservation – and have the power to determine the outcome of elections and whether or not anyone gets to hunt. We are working to help them see that the meat is consumed, and how the hunting industry injects millions of dollars into the provincial economy every year. Through the distribution of powerful imagery, compelling story telling and insightful infographics on Facebook and Instagram, we are hoping to prompt individuals to stop and question the assumptions they have made of hunters and hunting. Who Cares? Hunters do! And hopefully, they do too.

Straight shooting and safe travels. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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NEWS & VIEWS As I write I am sitting in a hotel in Norman Wells, waiting to fly home from a meeting I attended here. The meeting was not about hunting specifically; it was a tourism marketing meeting. I was asked many years ago if I would serve on the board for NWT Tourism, which is the destination marketing organization for the Northwest Territories. I agreed and here I am, five years later, serving my third term on the board. I also have served for many years on a NWT advisory board that gave the government direction regarding the new Wildlife Act and wildlife regulations. I have found that serving on these various boards over the years has not only given our industry a voice at the decision-making table, but more Harold Grinde, President, Association importantly, I have gotten to know, and be known by, many of the decision makers of Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters in government. To know department heads, Deputy Ministers, Ministers and even the Premier on a first name basis has paid off many times when issues have come up. Through the many years of serving on various boards with a positive and productive attitude I have managed to build good relationships with many people. Therefore, my voice—the voice of the outfitting industry—is heard by those who make the decisions that directly affect our industry. Please, if given the opportunity, give of your time. Get involved, as someday it may well pay off in a big way. As part of this meeting we wanted to showcase the region to all of those on the board from other regions, so together we took a flight out to the mountains. I had never been out at this time of year, so it was a unique experience for me as well. The mountains were nice and green with new growth, most of the snow was gone, and the rivers were running at normal levels. From what I saw, the wildlife should have had an easy winter followed by a good lambing/calving season. I can hardly wait to get back in for the first hunts!

It’s the best job in the world! Hands are calloused, beard is full, and legs are muscled. The horses too are trail toughened now – boot tracks and horse prints on the mountain are adding up. The sun still has some warmth to it, although the daylight hours are not what they were. There is always an endless list of evolving details to stress about during the season, yet the adventure of the hunt always gets me rolling out of bed and into the dark frosty mornings during the hunting season - very gratifying to make a living doing something I love. The adventure in the Yukon remains exceptional, just like in the books of old. It is intriguing to read the early northern hunting journals with a map on hand, retracing the day’s travel or matching up old photos using ridgelines to pinpoint Mac Watson, President, camp locations, often from long ago. In the Yukon today, the truly wild places can Yukon Outfitters Association still be found without having to get too far from the beaten path. However, through time there have been notable tradeoffs between wildlife and economic opportunity. Thinking back on my own early hunting and wilderness career, some of the areas that were only experienced via quiet pack string now have a road guarding the valley bottom. Those of us who have a connection with the wild places must remain vigilant and a voice for conservation. Full recognition of the long-term tradeoffs made between wildlife and development must be part of the conversation. Restoring lost habitat, reclaiming roads, and recovering wildlife populations have historically proven costly with respect to time and money, often with uncertain success. Yet, the Yukon Outfitters Association continues to work hard to ensure conservation concerns are heard and addressed in an informed manner. The hunting and wilderness adventure in the Yukon remains a truly remarkable experience. We hope you will make the time to come up for a hunting adventure. Shoot straight and happy trails!

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South Nahanni OU T F I T T E R S L T D .

WILDERNESS OUTFITTERS LTD.

STONE SHEEP MT. CARIBOU MT. GOAT ELK BLACK BEAR MOOSE

Dall Sheep • Mt. Goat • Mt. Caribou • Alaska -Yukon Moose

Backpack Hunts enjoyed by all– using Bushplanes and Helicopters Phone: (867) 399-3194 Werner and Sunny Aschbacher Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

www.huntnahanni.com NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – CANADA

Hunt British Columbia Canada 800-554-7244 or 406-468-2642 pellylk@aol.com • www.comehunt.com

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL In Praise of Trophy Hunting

opportunity. Trophy hunting, as the IUCN noted,

Since

2014,

Foundation

has

the

DSC

been

Frontline

fulfilling

its

benefits local rural communities, mission of providing financial assistance While “meat hunting” is beginning providing income and economic benefits to individuals who, in the course of to gain some grudging acceptance with little or no ecological impact. A providing professional hunting services, among the non-hunting public – trophy typical sheep hunt, for example, leaves have suffered disabling injuries. In hunting? Not so much.

a very small footprint on the landscape, the case of death, assistance has been Derided as “killing for fun” on social may (or may not) reduce the herd size offered to their families. media, it is hard to see from a non- by one non-contributing male, while, at The Foundation was originally created hunter’s perspective any reason at all for the same time, generates a substantial to focus on accidents happening while the pursuit of an animal for its head and amount of fresh revenue to the local skin. Is there any value in today’s world community. to hunt and harvest an animal for the Safari Club International’s Record challenge and experience, with a trophy Book, often criticized as only an exercise as a memento of the hunt? Certainly, if in egotism, provides an incentive for there also is value in conserving wild the trophy hunter to seek out not only creatures and wild places. a special trophy, but in doing so, to take In 2016 the International Union for part in a very special personal challenge Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stated: and experience. The hunter takes away “...legal, well-regulated trophy hunting memories represented by the trophy programmes (sic) can – and do – play an and leaves behind means to support the important role in delivering benefits for conservation and management of both both wildlife conservation and for the the wildlife and the habitat. After all, livelihoods and wellbeing of indigenous a wise man once said: “Conservation, and local communities...” without financial support, is merely While meat from a “trophy” animal conversation.” is, in most cases, consumed, either by John Boretsky, SCI the hunter or the local community, the

hunting professionals were engaged in

conservation factor is that the animal

providing over $153,000 in support

taken by the trophy hunter is normally

DALLAS SAFARI CLUB

hunting or hunting-related activities, but later recognized the valuable service provided by PHs as well as game scouts and trackers in the ongoing war against anti-poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife. It was unanimous to amend the mission to recognize this important aspect of conservation. Through grants that cover everything from defraying medical expenses and loss of income to funeral expenses, the Frontline Foundation has been, in many cases, the only lifeline available to help professional hunters, staff and families put their lives back together. To date, Frontline has assisted 14 professional hunters, or their families, to offset financial hardship. A few

a male, past its breeding prime, sought DSC Frontline Foundation - Providing

examples will illustrate the critical role

after rather than taken as a target of a Lifeline to Professionals in Need

this Foundation plays in the lives of those

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019


in the professional hunting community. • In

October

2017,

Botswana

cover living expenses and education

area. This effort is being accomplished

of the children.

through the cooperative efforts of

professional hunter Jason Bridger

More information about DSC was electrocuted while attempting Frontline Foundation, including to restore power in a hunting camp. eligibility requirements and how you Frontline provided aid to Jason’s can support this worthy cause, may be

landowner Javier Artee and family,

wife, Claire, in the form of a grant to

found at www.frontlinefoundation.org

bighorn sheep are an important part of

cover lost wages and schooling for

or by contacting the Foundation at (972)

our culture in Mexico and my family

their son.

980-9800.

is proud to play a role in repatriating

• In March 2018, tracker Nguenha

John Patterson, Director & President,

Mareau was killed in a firefight with

DSC Frontline Foundation

elephant poachers in Mozambique

WSF, DSCF, and hunters who continue to invest in conservation throughout the world. According to Jacobo Artee, “Desert

these animals for the people of Sonora, Mexico.” The restoration of free-ranging desert

while on an anti-poaching patrol.

WILD SHEEP FOUNDATION

bighorn sheep to their rightful place

Frontline funded a trust for Mr.

Sierra El Alamo Project

in the mountains of Sierra El Alamo

Mareau’s widow to be disbursed towards the education of his four children and completion of a half-

The steep and imposing canyon walls of Sierra El Alamo are lined with images that reveal the significance of wild

is significant. For WSF, putting and keeping wild sheep on the mountain such as those of Sonora, Mexico is

finished house. why we exist – it is what we do, and to • Frontline also made a grant to sheep to local inhabitants thousands have participated in this historic event master Alaskan guide Coke Wallace of years ago. Once widely distributed personally was extremely powerful. of Midnight Sun Safaris who was throughout northern Mexico, less than The Sierra El Alamo transplant project seriously injured in September 2018 while wrangling horses. Frontline’s

30 years ago desert bighorn sheep had is one of several we have partnered all but disappeared from the mountains with in the Mexican states of Coahuila,

grant was provided to offset out- of this region of Sonora, Mexico. On November 10th, 2018, 21 freeof-pocket living expenses and lost income.

Chihuahua and Sonora. The ability to make these transplants happen on free

ranging desert bighorn sheep were

range ranches in Mexico with minimal released into this historic habitat on red tape is a great way to move the needle Safaris PH and pilot, Barry Style, was Sierra El Alamo. A total of 60 animals and restore desert bighorns to their killed along with three clients in a have been transplanted to the area over native ranges. We are honored to work

• In November 2018, Buffalo Range

plane crash in Zimbabwe. Frontline

the last eight months and this is the third

alongside these visionary landowners

provided a grant to Barry’s widow, of many planned releases to eventually and conservationists. Kim and their four young children to repatriate 200 desert bighorns to the Gray N. Thornton, President & CEO MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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PREFERRED CONSERVATION PARTNERS

GRAND SLAM CLUB/OVIS Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation It was an honor to attend the GOABC convention in March. I was pleased to see old friends and delighted to meet new folks. This event was well-organized and well-attended – my sincere appreciation for all that went in to organizing such a successful convention. It was gratifying to see several other wildlife conservation organizations attending and showing support of GOABC.

GSCO sponsored

the Frank Steward Award and I was truly honored to be on-stage to present this well-deserved recognition to Mike Danielson. It is of great concern to observe the numbers of hunters declining in the US and abroad. There are myriad reasons behind this dip in numbers and we can speculate all day. We all are aware that hunters are the true conservationists and stewards of wildlife. So, with declining numbers staring us in the face, it is essential to our future that we address this issue – now better than later. To that end, GSCO is proud to partner with the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation (OTF). Their mission is to teach outdoor education and promote and

fund

worldwide.

conservation Outdoor

of

wildlife

Adventures,

a

program within OTF, is an in-school physical

education

course

teaching

students lifelong outdoor skills, using an integrated curriculum of science, math, writing, critical thinking skills

wildlife conservation within units, earn “diamond” for example. People who certification in hunter education, and go cannot afford or do not want a real on to purchase their hunting and fishing diamond have this option. But commerce in nature is a different story. licenses. The hunting community, wildlife Currently there are 461 schools involved in 30 states. In 2019 there will professionals, and legislators are faced be 46,000 students participating. On a with a false product challenge. Whitetail visit to one of these classrooms in Dallas, deer and elk are being artificially grown Texas, GCSO board member Keith Hite to dimensions beyond what nature is and I learned that the students enrolled capable of. This is not for science or were city kids, many of whom have research, or even for the betterment never hunted or fished before in their of the species. It’s for ego, status, and life. While some of these students may commerce. This raises many interesting never be hunters, they will become and troubling questions. Does this intense manipulation add voters and at least understand the true, factual side of wildlife conservation. value, or does it devalue the real thing? GSCO is also supporting the Alabama Just because we can, should we? What Wildlife Federation – a similar program does this say about the direction the with a curriculum aimed at young hunting community is taking itself—or being led? Does this reflect the value hunter education. GSCO looks forward to continuing we place on nature, these species and these partnerships with OTF and the the opportunity to hunt? Will the nonAlabama Wildlife Federation – and hunting public understand and accept contributing to the achievement of their or reject wildlife being subject to this meaningful goals. I won’t be here 50 type of handling for ego, status and years from now, but I sure hope your commerce? All good questions and ones grandchildren and great grandchildren we best be prepared to answer. Any activity in our society that comes have the same outdoor opportunities I have been blessed to experience. Our to be viewed in a harsh and unfavorable successful future depends upon how we light faces a bleak future. We have other sayings: “One bad apple spoils the whole invest today. Mark Hampton, Executive Director bunch” and “perception is reality.” There is a reason why you never see BOONE & CROCKETT a mount of a farm-raised deer or elk with its ear tag. Is it because there is still A False Product tremendous value in the real McCoy? Although opinions as to the true Let’s hope so. origins of the saying “the real McCoy” Keith Balfourd, Director of Marketing vary throughout history, it is commonly

and computer technology. The program held to mean “the real thing.” includes a variety of activities such as Our society embraces the real thing archery, hunter education, clay target over a lesser or fake imitation. “Real” sports, trip planning, and wilderness

therefore

carries

the

most

value.

medicine to name a few. Students who Yet, imitations do have their place participate in Outdoor Adventures study

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019

in commerce. Take a cubic zirconia


Garth Olafson GOABC Guide of the Year

Darwin & Wendy Cary 5615 Deadpine Drive Kelowna, BC V1P 1A3

Tel: (250) 491-1885 Cell: (250) 859 4327 Email: info@scooplake.com www.scooplake.com WE HUNT:

Stone Sheep, Moose, Goat, Caribou, Elk, Black Bear & Wolf WE FISH:

Lake Trout, Bull Trout, Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout & White Fish

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Eureka Peak Lodge & Outfitters Hunts for Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Black Bear, Mt. Goat, Moose, Cougar, Lynx and Wolf in Beautiful British Columbia Canada

Proud Member

Proud Member

YUKON HUNTS DALL SHEEP MOOSE CARIBOU GRIZZLY

Contact: CHRIS & SHARRON McKINNON PO BOX 89 Athabasca, AB T9S 2A2 (P) 780-331-2440 www.huntbpo.com chris@huntbpo.com

ALBERTA HUNTS BLACK BEAR WHITETAIL DEER TRAPLINE TOURS

Contact: CHRIS & SHARRON McKINNON PO BOX 89 Athabasca, AB T9S 2A2 (P) 780-331-2440 www.huntmco.com chris@huntmco.com

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A MOUNTAIN CONQUERED by Rocco Mattarazzo

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As many hunters will understand, when hunting we strive for a challenge, a quest, and to find the adventure that will test us. This hunt would be mine!

I

t came unexpectedly while looking through emails of hunt offers one afternoon - a hunt was being offered by Craig Kiselbach of Terminus Mountain Outfitters for mountain goat. This was a dream hunt that appeared obtainable for a blue-collared guy such as me. The hunt was a two-on-one goat hunt in the Northern Rocky Mountains of BC. After some consideration of hunting partners, I reached out to a good friend of mine to see if he would be interested and, as I expected, he was on board. We made contact with Craig and after corresponding over a few weeks, the hunt was booked! The lead up to the hunt flew by, and before we knew it we were on our way. We flew into and overnighted in Fort Nelson, BC. The plan was to take the bush plane out the next morning to the Terminus Ranch but as luck would have it weather came in. There we sat for the next two days wearing the faces off a deck of cards in the lobby of the Super 8, occasionally making the trek across the parking lot to dine at the Boston Pizza restaurant.

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Late on the third down day, we got word the weather had cleared and to get to the airstrip! Finally! We grabbed our gear and headed out to catch our flight with Villers Air Service who would get us to our final destination. The flight was unbelievable, flying through some of the most beautiful country and snowcapped mountain ranges I have ever seen. At times the mountains rose above us into the clouds! Incredible. After some time, we came out of the mountain pass and dropped into a picturesque valley that we followed to our destination. Once landed we were greeted by Craig and our guide for the week, Nolan Osborne. We proceeded to get our gear off the plane and then were led on a tour of one of the

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most stunning ranches I have ever seen. An incredible log ranch house and bunkhouse with horses corralled beneath sweeping mountain views! It was obvious that no expense had been spared. After a home cooked meal, we headed out to the range to be sure our firearms were still shooting straight. Once we were comfortable with sighting in, we loaded up the gear and headed down to the river. Along the way we were greeted by a young bull moose. At the river, we loaded into a jet boat for the trek to base camp. The camp had been well equipped prior to our arrival, and once settled in, we were glassing the mountains in search of billies. Almost immediately we spotted goats at different elevations across the faces of the mountains – what a sight! We spotted what


The flight was unbelievable, flying through some of the most beautiful country and snowcapped mountain ranges I have ever seen.

appeared to be one or two billies and made a plan to go after them in the morning. At O-dark-30 the next morning we were up, and Nolan already had a fire going and coffee brewing! Some quick eggs and we were off to begin our accent. The climb was unforgiving, sometimes nearly vertical, grabbing onto roots and limbs to pull ourselves up. Never having experienced a true mountain hunt, it was a challenge that I welcomed as it was the adventure I was striving for! We reached the top some four hours later and crossed paths with several goats, but all nannies and kids, no billies! We spent the afternoon covering that mountain, glassing for hours. We came across more goats but no mature billies so down we went back to

camp – only to do it all again the next day. On the second day, my buddy’s ankle was throbbing with pain. He had been dealing with an Achilles heel issue and each step was torture. As we stopped for a bit to catch our breath, Nolan announced, “I’ve got eyes on two mature billies for sure!” A rush of adrenaline came over me as he pointed out where they were at. He was certain it was two mature billies that we needed to go after. Unfortunately, they were miles away on another mountainside. “The mountain is not gonna give them up easily,” I remarked. By then it was late in the afternoon and there was no way to get to them that day so down the mountain we went again, working out a plan to get to them the next morning. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Unfortunately, my buddy was in quite some pain and wasn’t feeling he’d make the planned trek with his ankle the way it was. Instead, he suggested Nolan and I make a play for them the next day without him. The plan was to head back to the main lodge to get some supplies and well-deserved rest. Nolan and I would bug out at first light while my buddy stayed back and iced his ankle. After a good night’s sleep, Nolan and I headed out to conquer the mountain! We had enough gear to spike overnight if needed. We hit base camp, grabbed a two-man tent and our sleeping bags and started our ascent, not knowing if the billies would still be there. We crossed streams, and traversed over blowdowns, climbing up only to have to climb back down to get around obstacles and impassable rock faces, with plenty of sidestepping on wet shale. Man, I should be careful what I wish for! About four hours into our climb on some of the steepest and most treacherous slopes that I have ever climbed, we took a moment to do some glassing, hoping to spot a billy. Unreal – we spotted a beautiful, mature one bedded up on a side hill not far from where we had spotted the two the

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afternoon before! YESSSS! With hearts pounding and blood pumping, our energy surged – it was time to get it done! From where we were though, we still had a couple hours to go to get into position to take the shot. A few hours later we were finally close enough to drop our gear and start glassing. Within minutes we had found him, and the conditions were perfect! We were on a ridge with tree cover just perfect to hide our advance, the sun right above us and the wind was in our face. Yeah, it was going to happen! We got within about 350 yards but couldn’t get any closer. I got into a prone position, resting my Sako 300 Win Mag over my pack. Nolan set up with his spotting scope, cleared some low branches and sounded out the yardage, 354 yards. “Okay Roc,” I coached myself, “calm down. Get your breathing under control! Focus!” Ready... Bang!! I took the shot, but Nolan couldn’t see where it hit – or if I hit? The billy ran for cover and disappeared into the brush and trees. I felt good about the shot, but geez where was he? He hadn’t gone up and he hadn’t gone down. I jacked-in another round and we sat at the ready, looking hard...for what seemed like hours. Suddenly, Nolan sounded off. “I see him behind that tree – he’s coming out, get ready!” I saw him too and took the shot. Nolan shouted again, “He’s hit, hit for sure – big billy down!”


After hand shaking, bro hugging, and high fiving the emotions flooded in. My God – a dream hunt, a dream adventure that I had thought was never obtainable for me, the challenge I had strived for had come to fruition! A mountain conquered! Nolan headed back down to bring our gear while I stayed on the goat. Nolan came up and together we took what we needed to make the retrieval. It took us about 30 or 40 minutes to get over to him. Nolan reached him first and yelled out, “Got him!” “Good billy?” I asked. He just looked at me with a big ole grin on his face and said, “Yeah, buddy - oh yeah!” I got to him and stared; he was magnificent, absolutely beautiful! We took some time to just admire him and take in the beauty that surrounded us. Broke out the camera and snapped some photos. Nolan estimated him at about 9.5, and his coat was luxuriant. What an incredible animal – just amazing! Now the real work began; we got him caped and quartered then headed back over to the ridge where I’d taken the shot. By then it was too late to head down so we set up a spike camp, got a fire going, made sure to hang the meat and hide downwind of us – it was bear country after all – and kicked back to reflect on the day. Those were some of the best sandwiches I’d ever had!

At first light, we packed up and headed down the mountain. The trek down was more brutal than the trek up. We had decided to make a beeline straight down which turned out to not be such a good idea. We ended up backtracking a few times up and down as well as crisscrossing a very cold mountain stream several times to avoid obstacles. Some six or so hours later we were finally down. Totally exhausted, we loaded the boat and headed back to the lodge, a little heavier than we started out the day before. Needless to say, I had a big grin on my face! We both did! I want to express my gratitude to Nolan Osborne who guided me on this most incredible adventure! Also, thank you to Craig Kiselbach, owner of Terminus Mountain Outfitters. If you want to experience the adventure hunt of a lifetime contact Craig, you won’t be disappointed! Safe travels! EDITOR’S NOTE: Reach Terminus Mountain Outfitters at 250-442-8195 or visit their website at www.terminusmountain.com

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My

CAMPFIRE

Story by Melissa Tautscher

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Some days it is still hard to believe that I have become a huntress.

I

dreamt about this lifestyle for many years. However, it wasn’t until I went through many personal changes including the end of a long-term relationship, a move back to my hometown, and a career change, that I finally started doing things for me. Although hunting was one of the first things I wanted to pursue, I felt intimidated stepping into “a man’s world.” But I finally realized that I didn’t have anything to lose; rather, I had everything to gain. I didn’t have much of an idea on where to begin given that I don’t come from a family of avid hunters, so I had begun to research my options as a novice when I came across Kettle River Outfitters in the Kettle Valley of British Columbia. I was instantly drawn here after being in contact with Tami and hearing her compassionate response towards my nerves of this new world I was about to explore. She explained how welcoming her husband Melvin is with beginners and, as a new hunter, this was exactly what I needed. I quickly arranged a three-day mule deer hunt for the upcoming fall season. I could hardly wait for the weekend to arrive! As I counted down the months that soon turned into days, I did all that I could to prepare. And when the day finally arrived, I packed my car with my gear, high hopes, and nervous energy and made the road trip up north. Once I

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arrived, my nerves quickly settled. Perhaps it was Melvin’s friendly personality, the coziness of the cabins, or the fact that I was finally living a long-time dream. Whatever it was, I felt as though I was exactly where I needed to be. After a tour of the property, complete with cabins circling around the main cook house, a cold storage, off-road vehicles, hoists, a target shooting area, and a fire pit perfect for sharing hunting stories (of which I was in high hopes of gathering around to tell one of my own!), it exceeded what I imagined a hunting camp to be. I settled into my cabin, we sighted in my .308 rifle, took a few practice shots, and then headed out for my very first evening hunt! With coolness in the air and barely a cloud in sight, we took advantage of the last light of the day. We hiked up to the open slopes of the sub-alpine and glassed down onto the open fields in hopes of spotting a buck. It wasn’t long before we spotted a herd of does cantering down the mountain followed close behind by three coyotes. Melvin and I sat back and observed, camouflaged in silence. I felt so engrossed in the moment, as though I were watching a movie. It was fascinating to witness this wildlife while being in the midst of nature. It was a wonderful reminder why I wanted to hunt in the first place. We watched the coyotes chase the does away and headed back down the mountain soon after. Along the way, we spotted a bachelor group of six bucks, two of which were four-pointers. The sun was setting on us quickly, just a little too late to act, but what an exciting first evening experience and the trip had only just begun! We headed back to camp and made plans for an early morning hike to that same spot in anticipation of beating the bucks on their way up the mountain side.

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I can’t recall a time I have been excited about a 4 a.m. alarm clock ringing before that day. We began our journey up the mountain in the dark, early enough to sit and enjoy a beautiful sunrise. As the night turned to day, we spotted a few small bucks and does. Although nothing big, seeing these animals enhanced my excitement and motivation for being there. Melvin and I continued to explore up the mountain for a greater view. I didn’t know it at the time, but my experience as a hunter was about to get started. We sat roughly in the middle of the mountain where the silence of nature yet again made me feel so connected. As we waited patiently, we spotted an enthralling point buck grazing on the fields below then slowly walking in our general direction. It was almost as though he was meant to be mine. Although we remained silent, I could feel and hear my heart beating out of my chest. As the buck climbed up the hillsides, he would disappear and reappear from our sight. Ultimately, we didn’t know which direction he was going, or if he was moving in our direction at all. Each time he reappeared my heart would beat faster. The excitement of the unpredictability was exhilarating to say the least. That’s when preparation and opportunity collided. The buck walked onto a perfect hillside flat directly in front of us at about 350 meters. With my rifle set up on the tripod, I followed him closely through my sight. I rehearsed taking the shot over and over again in my mind as he moved closer with every step. 300 yards, then 250 yards. Melvin whispered, “Anytime you’re ready.” I felt confident. It was in that moment that I remember taking a deep breath and taking the shot. It happened fast but so slowly at the same time. I remember


seeing the buck jump up, spin around, and then run about 20 metres where he dropped to the ground. I was flooded with emotion - in shock and disbelief that I had just shot my first buck. As I placed my shaking hands over my face, I felt tears pouring down both cheeks. Each tear seemed to have a different meaning of excitement, appreciation, gratitude, or victory over the fear. Some sadness too, because it’s not easy to take a life, and pride, as I had been successful in my quest for my own meat. It was truly an indescribable feeling; one I had often heard hunters speak of and one I absolutely will never forget. It was incredible to feel so supported on this journey by Melvin who was just as happy for me. We shared a celebratory coffee as we cut my tag then walked over to retrieve my deer. I didn’t want to rush the process or the feeling; I had never seen a wild animal so closely before and took time to appreciate the beauty of the buck. Fully present in the moment, I couldn’t help but to pet the fur and look at his teeth. I was fascinated. We made our way back to camp where we gutted and skinned my deer. I loved learning the process and Melvin

loved to teach – the perfect team. We hung my buck in cold storage until it was time to head home and I spent the rest of the weekend immersed in gratitude for the experience. I left camp that weekend with my next whitetail trip already booked – as well as my campfire story! There was nothing quite like driving home to share the meat with family and friends; it was a great honour for this animal. I am thankful every day that I was able to overcome the fear and intimidation of hunting. It’s never too late to get started.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reach Kettle River Outfitters at 250-498-4176 or visit their website at www.kettleriverguides.com

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Gundahoo River Outfitters MUNCHO LAKE, BC

QUINTIN THOMPSON

Box 2941 Rocky Mountain House, AB Canada T4T 1P2 Phone 403-391-7879 Toll Free 1-866-GRO-HUNT Email info@gundahoo.com

gundahoo.com Specializing in STONE SHEEP, MOOSE & CARIBOU, MOUNTAIN GOAT, BLACK BEAR

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$5.6 MILLION in 2018 • directed to wild sheep restoration | conservation | education | advocacy JOIN TODAY and Help us “Put & Keep Wild Sheep on the Mountain” | 406.404.8750 | wildsheepfoundation.org


GUIDES gallery

Mike Rex of Washington with 48-inch archery moose. Guided by Bugle Basin Outfitters.

Jim Jannasch of Westfield with Western Canadian moose. Guided by Fire Mountain Outfitters.

Dennis Tyree of Virginia with his goat. Guided by Silent Mountain Outfitters, 2017.

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Kurt McDermott from Arkansas with Dall sheep. Guided by Bonnet Plume Outfitters.

Robert D’Isidori from Idaho with his 2018 spring black bear. Beaverfoot Outfitting - purchased on GOABC auction.


Craig VanArsale, California with MH Record Book black bear guided by Cariboo Mountain Outfitters. Daryl Haury and son Scott from Washington and Shiras Moose guided by Covert Outfitting, 2018.

Derek Stainbrook of Sasketchewan with his goat. Guided by Packhorse Creek, October 2018.

Gary Wosoba of Iowa with moose. Guided by Jonny Fehr of Fehr Game Outfitters.

WANT TO SEE YOURSELF IN THE GUIDES GALLERY?

Brett Quakenbush and son Colby with 7 ft plus bear. Guided by Copper River Outfitters.

Jack Goodwin of Northwest Big Game Outfitters congratulates Doug Johnson of Washington on his 227 green score bull moose.

Submit your photos to info@goabc.org with the outfitter’s name, species, and harvested date of your animal. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Fathers, Sons & Mentors

by Cindy Carpenter, Director of Youth Outdoors Unlimited Youth Outdoors Unlimited (Y.O.U.) grants fully funded and guided hunting or fishing adventures to youths diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and/or a physical disability. One of the most requested hunting trips is the opportunity to hunt black bears in British Columbia. 2018 was another exciting and successful year at Bowron River Guiding with Scott and Lynn Pichette for three boys who had the opportunity to experience BC hunting at its finest and harvested their first big game animals. This hunting opportunity is generously donated by Bowron River Guiding but also sponsored by GOABC, North Central Guide Outfitters, and the financial donors of Y.O.U. In addition to financial assistance for licensing and tags, each boy received a GOABC backpack loaded with BC memorabilia, hunting items and an issue of Mountain Hunter magazine. Scott and Lynn Pichette have been involved with Youth Outdoors Unlimited since 2013. Their love for hunting and mentoring youth has made them long-time sponsors of youth hunting opportunities.

Billy Mark from Redmond, Washington Y.O.U.’s first hunter in BC was 17-year-old Billy Mark. Shortly after passing his Hunter Education, Billy was diagnosed with cancer. Youth Outdoors met Billy and his dad at a spring sportsman show in Puyallup and immediately went to work coordinating the hunt of a lifetime. Although Billy was still actively in chemotherapy treatment, this opportunity gave him something to look forward to during his ongoing treatments. In June, Billy, his dad and Y.O.U. representatives Bob and Holly Kenner took off on his adventure to spend three great days hunting. Shortly after arriving at Scott and Lynn’s and getting settled in, Billy was out shooting and ready to hit the roads looking for his bear. On the last day of the hunt, Billy harvested a beautiful 5’ 9” bear.

, u Scott & Lynn k! Thank yo t a great wee ha us WOW! W nt, inviting ch a great hu for hosting su d supporting tiful home an into your beau . We had a ors Unlimited Youth Outdo rvested his ce. Billy ha en ri pe ex t grea of the trip. the last day first bear on that we will an experience be ill w is Th rward to r. We look fo ve re fo r be remem t! our next visi Mark Bill and Billy

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Keelan Clearbrook from Everett, Washington The next US hunter was 16-year-old Keelan Clearbrook. Keelan was born deaf. He was accompanied by his dad Greg (who is also deaf) and Y.O.U. founders and directors, Joe and Cindy Carpenter. “Most people don’t think about the challenges that hearing impaired hunters have. Not being able to hear game moving and communicating with other hunters proves to make things difficult for deaf hunters. Keelan and his dad were a real pleasure to travel with and learn to communicate with without words. Joe and I got to learn some sign language and enjoyed this father and son and the great friendship they have,” said Cindy. Keelan harvested a beautiful 6’8” black bear on his second day of hunting and even had a chance to squeeze in some BC fishing with their guide Scott Pichette. Keelan even got to give his dad the best 50th birthday present by harvesting his bear on his dad’s birthday. Keelan’s bear meat was processed and delivered to his family and taxidermy was provided by Washington taxidermist, Dane Carlson of Premier Sportsman Taxidermy & Tanning.

Scott and Lynn , We want to sa y many, many thanks for ever Thank you for ything!! all your patienc e with me and with us being my son deaf clients. Yo u treated us so Keelan had a bl well. ast learning fr om Scott abou and all the stor t be ars ies he shared about hunting Keelan shot his in BC . bear on my 50th birthday which greatest gift ev is the er received. M any thanks for this hunt happ making en through Y.O. U. We will al remember all th ways e wonderful m oments and ho one day get to co pefully me back to BC to hunt moose. God Bless!! Greg & Keelan Clearbrook

Chase Yaggi, Moscow, Idaho Y.O.U.’s third BC Hunter of 2018 was 14-year-old-youth, Chase Yaggi. Chase was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 9. Chase continues chemotherapy treatments and although they have not been successful in curing his cancer, they have been successful in keeping it from progressing. Chase was very excited about the opportunity with Youth Outdoors Unlimited and specifically the opportunity to black bear hunt in BC. Chase, his dad Ernest, and Y.O.U. directors Joe and Cindy Carpenter, enjoyed the great travel up to Bowron River Guiding in Willow River, BC. After getting settled at Scott and Lynn Pichette’s, Chase was anxious to get out hunting as soon as possible. He harvested his bear the morning of his second day, making a great shot at a 5’9” black bear with a beautiful long coat. Funny on this adventure that Chase also harvested his bear on his dad’s birthday. Congratulations Chase, well done!! And happy 49th birthday Ernest! We know that this will be a great adventure memory for both of you.

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, sit Scott & Lynn rtunity to vi for the oppo h uc m e so Th ea in BC. Thank you ence your ar ri pe ex to d an ase & with you all hing that Ch trip is somet is th of ndy on ti d anticipa et Joe an Ci r since we m fo ng ti ai w e to forget I have been BC was a tim in re he e m ti This er for from Y.O.U. ling with canc future of batt n ow rs kn un td e about th g and ou oo ture of huntin fu a on s cu g! He has Chase and fo e hunting bu th s ha w no He for with Chase. appreciation s and a new ill sk le e, ab m lu ti for you learned va t. Thank you ou ab l al is ip g is tr what huntin O.U. kids. Th dication to Y. de d an s r me on fo ss d your le ase – an lifetime for Ch a of nt hu a nter. was truly a kid and a hu e him just be se to le ab g bein cow, Idaho e Yaggi, Mos Ernest & Chas

Youth Outdoors Unlimited wants to heartfully say thank you to GOABC, North Central Guide Outfitters and Bowron River Guiding for supporting the mission of Y.O.U. and providing three more “Once-In-aLifetime” hunts to youth facing difficult medical challenges. The support from British Columbia unites our countries as we focus on what is universal to all outdoorsmen – kids and the outdoors. Youth Outdoors Unlimited also wants to thank the other outfitters who have provided opportunities to kids in the past. Brad and Lori Bowden of Cariboo Mountain Outfitters, Tammy and Melvin Kilback of Kettle River Guide Outfitters, and Steven and Stephanie Leuenberger of Ram Creek Outfitters for their generosity in offering hunts to the kids of Y.O.U. These guide outfitters help the organization touch the lives of more kids through the great outdoors.

Visit our website at WWW.YOUTHOUTDOORSU.ORG MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters Stan Stevens Recent Trophies

Phone # 250-719-8340 www.mmo-stanstevens.com mmostanstevens@gmail.com Facebook Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters

Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters

Hunting British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains for: Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Shiras Moose, Black Bear, Mule Deer, Cougar, Lynx, Wolf

Ryan & Denise Damstrom 250.421.0476 ryden@skcmail.ca

Sam Medcalf 250.425.5531 sam@elkvalleybighorn.ca

elkvalleybighorn.ca

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MERVYN’S Yukon Outfitting Horseback Hunts Excellent Dall Sheep Alaska Yukon Moose Mountain Caribou Wild Wood Bison Grizzly and Black Bear Wolf and Wolverine

GANA RIVER OUTFITTERS LTD. HORSE OR BACKPACK HUNTS RIFLE OR BOW IN CANADA’S NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Hunt the Beautiful Mackenzie Mountains

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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THERE AND BACK AGAIN by Colin W. Sands

The snow fall began to hasten; I could see the flakes building on the neck of Brownie, my transportation down the 40-kilometer trail into camp. Hooves digging into the soft ground and the sound of the steel clanking on the wagon as the team drew closer... it was all coming back. It had been just under two years since I last made this ride and anticipation was high. My last journey to this country had ended – well, not exactly as planned...

T

hat fall of 2015 had found me beginning a new journey with old friends. I was back in the care of the Madley family of Tzazati Mountain Outfitters in the Chilcotin. I have had many adventures with this crew, but this had turned out to be my first true BC wilderness hunt. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a green horn when it came to time in the saddle on a hunt. I had backpacked in New Zealand and scoured the Mackenzie Mountains for days, but those experiences had been nothing like what I had been about to encounter. Our journey had not begun or ended with a float plane touching down on a lake where many amenities of home can be found. No, this time we had loaded a wagon pulled by a team of mighty horses with our gear and supplies and had “cowboyed” a dozen or so ponies that we would rely upon for the next ten days. As we rode out, visions of a land filled with moose and caribou filled my head, just as Rich Hobson had described in his writings. Meadows filled with game, another herd of caribou passing by on the mountain at the end of my spotting scope. Yes, to say I was excited was an understatement. New country to hunt always fills my soul with anticipation.

“What lies around the next bend in the river, or will something emerge from the forest’s edge at dawn?” Fortune had come quickly for us, a bull only 600 yards from camp as we set out on day three. Not a monster by any means but a bull none the less. Having been fortunate to take many bull moose in my young age, I can assure you, monster or meat with paddles, a bull always gets the heart pumping. With a moose down, we felt the pressure ease. You see, I have forgotten to mention that our first day of that trip had been highlighted with a monster bull that ended up eluding us in the thick timber. Following a fresh bull track in the snow is always a rush but sitting in the thick timber knowing animals are near, you can’t help but almost feel as if you are the hunted. Between the trees we had watched black go in and out, MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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a cow moved around us in almost a circle. Glimpses of her follower captivated us and for a second, he showed himself to us, if only long enough to realize it was he we had come for, and quick enough to elude us and leave our hearts pounding and feet shaking. Those first three days in the Itcha Ilgachuz mountains had certainly been an experience, but it’s always a good one when the horses are packing freezer fillings and it’s only a short ride back to camp. The memories of the previous journey began to fade, and coming back to the present, I saw the snow was building even more now. I tilted the brim of my hat to block my eyes as my mare picked up speed for the coming hill. I recognized this hill from our previous trip; only 10 clicks to go and we would be shoveling supplies into our cabins and laying out our gear for the first day of moose season. Have I mentioned I am not a cowboy? While I say that, I do have nearly 1,000 kilometers of saddle time, but let me be clear: I am no cowboy. We like to joke about the one thing that feels better than stepping off a horse after a long 12 hours of riding... “Nothing.” Before long, we arrived into camp. My horse picked up to a gallop as she saw the corrals and the lush green grass awaiting her. Together we rejoiced – we had made the long haul of nearly 50 km into camp, all was accounted for and all were in good spirits and health.

Colin and his giant bull moose from the 2017 hunt sporting 33 points. Unbelievably the same bull whose shed Colin found in 2015.

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That night as I lay in my bunk awaiting the 5 a.m. wake up call for coffee, I visualized the next day. Would it end gloriously with a herd of caribou in the open, monster bulls jockeying for cows with my biggest worry being, “Did I shoot the biggest one I could?” Or would I spend the afternoon admiring the massive palms of my bull moose that I had been cunning enough to lure out of the timber with a cow call or two? You probably know as well as I do that hunts don’t usually work that way, but we all hope they do! Like a kid the night before Christmas, I was fighting the excitement, knowing every minute of sleep would benefit my day to come. But as I lay there, I couldn’t help but reminisce again about that first trip up the mountain... Thinking back, once we had the “easy moose” out of the way, we had put our hard-core hunting hats back on; after all, we had two caribou and another bull moose to find. We still had a long haul to the top of the mountains, nearly 15 miles from camp. Would we succeed in finding the herd and would the next few days be consumed with the packing of trophies and meat off the mountain? And just like that, by 2 p.m. we had some caribou spotted, the horses were tied up well, and in our spotting scopes we could see the tundra mud spraying as nearly 80 caribou headed our way. We sprinted across the mountain side, hurdling brush, dodging boulders. This was


happening, and it was happening fast. We stopped for a quick glassing, picked our line and headed for what would be our best cover for an ambush. We were set, the herd was headed our way, and we reviewed the rules for trophy classification and discussed a plan to ensure we were all on the same page. Heck, I had already picked out a spot on my wall back home for my bull! And then, just like that they were gone. Like, really gone. Just moments earlier we had 80 animals at 800 yards coming right at us, and now the tundra was empty. They had dived off the side of the mountain into the timber. Our guide Garrett looked over at me and said, “Welcome to caribou hunting!” It had been a long walk back to the horses, and an even longer ride off that mountain. Yet, that’s the thing I enjoy the most about hunting; the highs and lows, at times poetic and other times painful, to say the least. Two hours later, our fortunes turned yet again, when our other guide Kevin exclaimed, “Caribou!” We dismounted at the edge of the tree line as we came off the rocky mountain trail, our horses tied in record time. That same herd from the top of the mountain was now headed straight for us again, only this time at 200 yards. We crawled a safe distance from the horses and set up for the shot. My bull was picked and in my crosshairs. The only thing that kept me from a loud victory cry was the 30 head of cow that surrounded him and the other bulls. 175 yards, now 130 yards, 100 yards, now 80! Holy cow, I could hear them breathing and snorting as they come straight at us and still no clean shot. All of a sudden, they stopped and took off in a 180-degree all out retreat. Had they winded us or was it the horses tied up they could see? At this point it didn’t matter as the day’s hunt was over and I didn’t know what to think. What a day – two blown chances at caribou and the 50-inch bull moose we hadn’t taken care of earlier that morning on our journey to the mountain. Yeah, it was an all-around day of defeat. I don’t think I have ever experienced a more emotionally crushing day of hunting in my 25 years of carrying a rifle. This trip had ended on a bittersweet note. We would get our second bull moose, not the timber ghost nor the meadow monster that had both proven too cunning earlier in the trip, but a nice bull that spooked us and with a quick shot in close quarters we found ourselves moose heavy and caribou light. Two wolves met their maker as well, so all in all, it was a good solid hunt. It had taken a while to clear the caribou memories from my mind, not knowing if I would be back on that same mountain again and if things would turn out differently this time...

changed; of course things really don’t in the tundra. Saplings were a little taller and old sheds a little whiter, but the smell of the wilderness and bite of the wind were familiar. I often wondered, as we put mile after mile on our horses, crept into a pocket meadow here and there, and glassed from highpoint to beyond the day’s ride, how many animals had we passed and what great stories were left sitting in that timber awaiting another hunter? My favorite saying in the bush is, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” It helps me remember that a quiet afternoon can explode into a frenzy in a second. After three days of riding, my binos had gotten as discouraged as I had with no game to view and no antlers to score. It was after 1 p.m., we had covered some country that day, sandwiches gone by 11:30 a.m., a brief nap and glass had taken place in the mid-day sun as we formulated our plan to cross the river and work our way back to camp. We were nearly 10 miles away, with only three or four hours of day light left. And just like that the “frenzy” arrived. Garret exclaimed, “I’ve got a bull in the river bedded, get off your horse and get ready!” We were in the middle of a huge open and just like that, I knew it was my time. There wasn’t a tree for three hundred yards except for the one five feet in front of me. Just one was all we needed to serve as our tie up point and my resting point. I located the bull in the river. He was just over 350 yards and all I could see were the tops of his palms. “He is moving, shoot him when he gets out of the riverbed,” Garrett yelled. The bull emerged onto the flats headed straight for the deep timber and I let one shot go. “He’s hit,” Garrett exclaimed, “again, again!” Just like that, the gun was empty, the bull was down, and I dropped to my knees. Recall my earlier mentioned the highs and the lows? This was definitely one of the highs. We embraced, high fived and took a few deep breaths, but didn’t exchange much for words. Twenty steps later we both stopped as if our minds were connected. I looked at Garrett. “That bull,” I said. “He is a truck,” he replied. “What did we just do?” I asked him. “We just took one of the most magnificent creatures the Chilcotin has ever seen!” The bull was huge. I had read many stories when hunters refer to the opposite of ground shrinkage and yep, I get it. I was not sure if it was the massive lower palms of this bull that made him such an awesome spectacle or the 23-inch dagger that curved off the lower palm, or the 8-inch rib sticker that kicked off the back, or better yet, the 33 points the beast sported. After two or three hours of work, photos, smiles, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir laughs, and further celebration, we had the moose quartered, boned, and covered in spruce bows to protect it overnight. The next morning, I pushed my gun into my scabbard. Here We saddled back up and started our 8-mile journey back we were on day one of my second hunt up the mountain, to base camp. Within five minutes of leaving the moose, we and it was my turn to write the story now. Not much had were caribou hunting, and by caribou hunting I mean we MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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had bulls in the binoculars and dust was flying as the horses raced at our behest to cut off the fast grazing bulls that were a half mile ahead. Then, horses tied, we took off on foot, backs low, spotting scope in one hand, rifle in the other. We found a small knob and set up. My mouth dropped, there were caribou everywhere. We had been merely a mile up the meadow dancing and celebrating the moose while meanwhile below us there was a caribou party. I felt like a kid in a toy store as there were bulls everywhere; from 500 yards to 1,500 yards, probably 100 animals. We slowly and methodically eliminated groups with non-legal bulls and those that were in locations we could not put a play on. We settled on two groups and moved closer. It’s funny, from a distance a meadow can look like a flat field, “a simple jaunt” one might think. Wrong. We traversed the tundra, crossing creeks, four-foot hummocks, swamp grass and ground anything but flat. Finally were in place with sights locked on bulls, two good ones. This was the moment; guns ready, awaiting the go ahead from Garrett. “Bull on left not legal,” he whispered. “Bull on right ear tag and radio collar. Legal, but let’s leave him and check out the other group.” The point requirements on caribou in our unit were five points above the rear guard. The bull of the left was five strong on top and a toad; however, no rear guard so I glassed to the left and the bigger bull was legal, but as stewards of the animals, we left the radio-collared bull be. We slowly backed down the knob and worked towards the horses to race up to the last group of bulls. We were racing against the sun just as much as the bulls grazing towards the timber. We were losing light fast as we tied up again and crawled forward to a group of trees. We could hear the bulls sparing, antlers crashing. We sat 110 yards from glory, two legal bulls fighting together; this was our time. We confirmed points, confirmed our bulls, light dissipated quickly and then, just like that, I felt like I had travelled back in time to 2015. The cows moved in to surround the bulls, moved out, then in, and then the light was gone. Wow, twice now in two trips, bulls in the crosshairs and the opportunity vanished. As we set back for the horses, it was black as it could get. We mounted and started the eight-mile journey back to camp. My heart and mind were going crazy – what a day! It had started

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with eight hours of amazing scenery, a bit of new country, a well-deserved nap and then an explosive afternoon with an epic bull down, all capped with an evening of solid caribou action. The cold began to bite at my hands, and my gloves were in my saddle bags. Reaching back, I was unable to free them. I could see caribou eyes all around us in the dark, horses a bit spooked; gloves still stuck. Despite having been told not to do it, I used my infrared light to assist me and then it happened. The horse in front of me jumped a bit, my horse stumbled, my light flipped to white and the rodeo was on. Kicking, bucking,

Colin, Kristjan Ochs and guide Garrett Madley.


Colin getting ready to ride out on “Brownie” during the 2017 hunt. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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and 30 seconds later I was ready to abort. I threw my left leg out and then... right foot stuck, all went black. I woke up to the sound of my name being yelled. I had been totally knocked out. I was fifty feet from the trail, my horse and everyone else out of sight. I could hear them yelling my name; I could feel the blood running down my face, and my chest and abdomen were as tight as possible. I felt a hand on my neck. “We got your horse,” Kevin exclaimed. “What happened – can you ride?” “Yes,” I said. As I said, this was not my first rodeo and I am no stranger to pain (circa “It Only Takes Nine” in Mountain Hunter Fall 2017). I mounted back up and we headed for camp. It was after 9 p.m. by the time we made it back. I still felt a bit of shock from the day, but a few smiles were left, despite the massive amount of pain I was in.

The next morning felt like the day after a car wreck. I was bruised, cut up, eye swollen, and ribs tender. I made the 20mile round trip on horseback to pick up the previous day’s trophy. It was day four of ten, I was beat up and bruised, but I had six days of caribou hunting left and there was no amount of beating that would keep me from it. After five more days of combing the country for the herd of caribou that had tempted our spirits earlier in the week, we had our backs against the wall. We had seen over 100 head of caribou in the week and now they were gone. The final day of our hunt arrived, and we were hunting country so big it would take a week to cover each area where we had seen caribou. It would take a Hail Mary. We agreed we would ride 12 miles out further than we had gone before, into country we

“We ride and never worry about the fall. I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all.” - Tim McGraw

Colin and Kristjan

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had not seen. It was flat and open and would give us our best chance for glassing. By 2 p.m. we made new country, bushwhacking as they say, and wouldn’t you know, by 2:30 p.m. we had caribou in the spotting scope, and there was a bull. Just one. We tied our horses and set out for a large knob. We verified our bull was legal, but he was 850 yards out with strong winds. Our plan was simple: move closer using the gentle slope of the tundra to conceal ourselves. As we came to a slight rise and no caribou, we panicked. We had expected them to be at 200 to 250 yards but there was nothing. We crept another 50 yards to a rise, where I peered up and signaled back to Kevin and Kristjan. We had caribou and they were close, less than 100 yards. We slid back a bit, chambered rounds, and slowly rose and in seconds it was over – bull down. Kristjan and I had set out two years prior to accomplish a mission of two moose and two caribou. Throughout this

for our trophy, I took a moment and laid down on the tundra. The pain of my injuries set in as the trip came to a climax. Amazing animals had been seen and harvested, tags had been filled, my body ached, and the pressure on my chest was crushing, and there was a disturbing pink tinge to my urine. Yet as I laid there on the ground, I looked up to the sky and smiled – I wouldn’t have it any other way. And just then... it began snowing and it didn’t stop. Suddenly caribou were everywhere, but our time was over. It was getting dark and we were over 12 miles from camp and visibility was zero. We began the long journey and by 10 p.m. we were back in camp. The boys there were great, dinner was on and they helped us unload. What a trip, filled with highs and lows, success and failure, epic moments of joy and crushing moments of defeat and injury. There is something about those mountains, maybe I have read one too many Rich Hobson books, but I am hooked.

incredible journey we had traversed to the mountain and The mighty Itchas... there and back again, it was an incredible back again, had killed four moose, three wolves, and one journey and one thing is for sure, before long the mountains caribou and put over 400 miles in our saddles. As we cared will call and it will be my time again. EDITOR’S NOTE: You can reach Garrett Madley of Tzazati Mountain Outfitters at 250-394-4278 or check out their website online at www.chilcotinoutfitters.com You can reach Kevin Newberry of Chezacut Ranch & Outfitters at 250-469-9440.

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with Shane Mahoney BACK AT THE RANCH Shane Mahoney is considered to be one of the leading international authorities on wildlife conservation. A rare combination of historian, scientist, and philosopher, he brings a unique perspective to wildlife issues that has motivated and inspired audiences around the world. Named one of the 10 Most Influential Canadian Conservationists by Outdoor Canada Magazine and nominated for Person of the Year by Outdoor Life Magazine, he has received numerous awards including the Public Service Award of Excellence from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and International Conservationist of the Year from Safari Club International. Born and raised in Newfoundland, he brings to his writings and lectures a profound commitment to rural societies and the sustainable use of natural resources, including fish and wildlife.

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F

or decades I have been reminding people that the most important issues facing the hunting world are not those of controversy, but those of relevance. Hunters’ motivations will always be subject to interpretation and drive emotional reactions and disagreement. In such debates, facts and rational argument will get short shrift; and, it is fair to say, hunters do poorly when trying to explain why they engage in hunting activity. In fact, hunters and their organizations generally do a poor job of engaging anyone outside their own community, preferring to deal with one another and a predictable cohort of business and political entities already on their side. No doubt this is a comfortable and comforting space. The problem is, there is no long-term future in this. Discussing the relevance of hunting, on the other hand, offers a chance, at least, for mature debate and discussion. It provides a platform for providing facts and figures and guides antagonists away from focusing on the practice of hunting and towards focusing on its consequences. This is where the conservation impacts of hunting can be credibly examined and where citizens who cannot understand how or why individuals choose to hunt, can at least come to the conclusion, that despite their personal dislike of the activity, it might do some good after all. No, there will not be hordes of citizens who rush to embrace hunting or hunters as a consequence of such discussion, but it won’t drive people away either. Most importantly, it will make people on both sides of the issue think, not just react. However, here’s the problem. If hunters want to speak of relevance, they must get comfortable talking about bigger issues than game calls and calibers. They need to realize that the public must see some real connection between hunting and, frankly, more important social issues, such as economics, food security, and the environment, to name a few. This will mean not only focusing on a different story but also telling the story in a different way. This would be an impossible hill to climb if hunting was not relevant to such larger social concerns. However, hunting is relevant to these issues. So, the hunting world has no excuse; and, no, it doesn’t need more introspection and navel gazing. It needs to get on with the job of telling its story in a socially relevant manner. Let’s take the case of game ranching in South


Africa as an example. Located on the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa is a nation of extraordinary natural beauty and wildlife diversity. While rich in natural resources, poverty and inequality are widespread and the wealth gap between rich and poor remains extreme. Not surprisingly, therefore, South Africa is a nation with deep experience in human conflict. These circumstances might suggest that wildlife conservation would receive little attention as more pressing social and economic issues are addressed. The reality is, however, that South Africa has enjoyed marked success in its efforts to conserve wildlife and natural landscapes. Traditionally, South Africa’s wildlife sector encompassed everything from recreational hunting to photographic tourism. More recently, wildlife ranching, sometimes called game ranching, has increased in both popularity and value. The activity has grown by nearly 20 percent per annum over the past 15 years alone and has come to encompass a range of wildlife-dependent sustainable use activities. It has done so by marrying conservation and economics in a highly and mutually supportive framework. That framework relies on the cooperative engagement of the public and private sectors, and on the free-market economy to regulate the economic value of wildlife and the price of related goods and services. Collaboratively, these institutions have enabled a remarkable recovery of wildlife in South Africa and the rise of a strong sectorial economy. In the past, game ranching was far more of a rarity in South Africa. In the 1960s it comprised only a very small part of South Africa’s agricultural sector. However, the industry experienced growth in the 1970s and 1980s when attitudes about wildlife and conservation began to change. There was a realization that the sustainable use of wildlife could be financially viable and a successful alternative to marginal domestic livestock operations. Then, in 1991, South Africa enacted the Game Theft Act, securing private ownership of game animals on fenced land holdings. This was a watershed event, providing security and fiscal incentive to private

landowners and a commercial pathway to recovery and conservation of a diverse array of South African wildlife species. Since then, game ranching in South Africa has become a large-scale industry unto itself. It now protects about 20 million hectares, or 20 percent of South Africa’s marginal agricultural land, to support nearly 19 million wild animals, all on private ranches. This number is predicted to rise to 30 million animals by 2025. The industry is well-regulated, and the land given over to productive use. In comparison, the South African State conserves approximately 6 million hectares of land in Protected Areas, which support between 5 and 6 million animals. Both approaches bring conservation success. Altogether, game ranches contribute more than R20 billion annually to South Africa’s economy, and are directly linked to approximately 25 percent of South Africa’s GDP. The ranches produce an average economic output of R220 per hectare, which is significantly higher than the R80 per hectare obtained through conventional farming. As of 2014, 65,172 South Africans relied directly on the wildlife ranching sector for employment, meaning they actually worked on the ranches. This number does not include people employed by industries that are reliant on the wildlife ranching sector, such as wildlife capture and translocation, fencing businesses, and taxidermists. When these individuals are also considered, the number of jobs dependent on game ranching in South Africa rises to a conservative estimate of 140,000. Assuming the present growth-trend continues, this number could rise to 250,000 by 2025. The economic benefits of game ranching are undeniable and so are the conservation benefits. There are more large terrestrial animals in South Africa today than in the past 165 years. Game ranching conserves species, natural habitats, and ecosystems. The activity has positively and directly influenced the recovery and conservation of white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, blesbok, bontebok, sable antelope, roan antelope, cape mountain zebra and black wildebeest. Of

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course, protecting habitat is good for all kinds of wildlife, not Industrialized solutions to basic human requirements may be just those of primary interest to hunters. Indirectly, game part of the solution but are not always the best or only way to ranching in South Africa has also assisted in the conservation satisfy human demands. of non-game species, such as leopard tortoise and the South Africa’s wildlife ranching industry has demonstrated Waterberg copper butterfly. When compared to other forms of agricultural land use, including factory farms, crop farms, and mixed agriculture, game ranching is undeniably the only sector to compare favorably with nature reserves in terms of wilderness and wild species conservation. While hunting activity provides the economic basis for game ranching and is the primary focus of ranch owners, the animals harvested provide food for local consumption and, in some cases, for export. In 2014 alone, 21,220 tons of game meat were produced on South African game ranches through a combination of culling and trophy hunting. Though a modest amount in terms of national food requirements, all local protein is meaningful to a nation that annually imports R4 billion worth of meat. Indeed, isn’t all organic food production relevant in an increasingly nature-conquered world? Certainly, food security is a challenge in many countries, Africa included. Measures that can alleviate such challenges while minimizing damage or alteration to natural systems need to be considered and advanced. Wildlife represents the original human forage. Obtaining it is neither anachronistic nor aberrant in a modern world. Rather, doing so emphasizes that original pathways for human existence still hold great value and relevance today. In a broader sense, this is a lesson the world desperately needs to accept and act upon.

that it is possible to achieve both economic and conservation benefits from the sustainable utilization of wildlife. Over the last 50 years, the numbers of large game animals in South Africa have increased by nearly forty times, an extraordinary record by even global standards. At the same time, marginal agricultural land has been made productive and natural habitats and ecosystems have been protected. Jobs have been created, especially in rural areas, and wild, organic meat has been made available for consumption. These are themes that can and do matter to a far more inclusive public than just those with an interest in hunting itself. At a time of escalating biodiversity loss, economic challenge and diminished food security, we share a planet much in need of rescue and careful stewardship. Hunting may be unpalatable for some, of concern to many. It is, however, one practical instrument in striving for a better conservation future. The hunting world would be well advised to leave its egotistical hyperbole aside, abandon its emphasis on itself and speak to a world public about the issues that are of greatest concern and importance. Placing hunting within a sustainable development framework is quite likely the only path forward for humanity’s oldest try at life. Examples of where this has been successful are critical to hunting’s future. South Africa’s game ranching phenomenon should be explored and communicated to a wider world.

The Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) wishes to create a fundamental shift among hunters from caring about hunting to caring about all wildlife. Ranchers care about cattle and anglers care about fish, but hunters are concerned for all animals and their well-being. Hunters must be committed to the responsible use of wildlife resources and passionate about preserving a diversity of wildlife species. GOABC is a strong supporter of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, which stipulates that law and science should manage wildlife. This model is the result of hunters and anglers who were dedicated to conservation. As anti-hunting pressure becomes louder, it becomes increasingly important to continue and enhance the legacy of the hunter-conservationist.

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HIGH ANXIETY By Jerry Russell

H

ave you ever awakened and wondered if you are still dreaming, or having an out of body experience? That is exactly how I felt when I awoke on a very cold October morning in a hunting cabin in British Columbia. It was the sixth day of our delayed departure, due to adverse weather conditions. There is something about being in a remote place and not being able to leave that does something to your brain – paranoia sets in. The food provided for the 10-day hunt, now unexpectedly into its 14th day, was running low, as was the fuel for the generator. I guess it all started decades ago when, as a young boy from rural Kentucky, I watched Curt Gowdy on the American Sportsman show. Those hunting adventures from across the nation lit a fire in me that the squirrel, rabbit, and coon hunting could not extinguish. Only small game was present at

Steve, Jerryd, Jerry and Jeff

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that time; there were not any deer, turkey or large game. The hunt that I was presently on would have only been a dream from that past. Being a middle-class American in my mid-60s, a guided hunt of this magnitude had been at the top of my bucket list, but seemed entirely out of reach. However, when I received the e-mail from Global Hunting Resources that Liard River Outfitters had a cancellation on a moose hunt in northern British Columbia, for the first time serious consideration was given. Jeff Condie, owner and operator of Liard River Outfitters was very cooperative in giving names and contact numbers for references, all who provided glowing reviews. Very soon consideration was upgraded to action and, before I knew it, my deposit was sent, and travel arrangements were made.


I knew a hunt in this area would be physically demanding so exercises on the tread mill and stationary bicycle became daily routines. Six months later and 20 pounds lighter my aging body was in about as good in condition as it could be. I was ready to go – or so I thought. I met Jeff at the Fort Nelson, BC airport. He is a big man, with an even bigger smile, whom I liked immediately. He was dropping off Craig Boddington and his wife, who had been hunting with him. This further assured me that I had picked a quality outfitter. Craig Boddington is a noted professional hunter and outdoor writer, who hunts with the highest quality of outfitters. Jeff proceeded to take me to the main camp, which consisted of a beautiful log cabin, a few outbuildings, and an air strip, all settled in a picturesque valley along the beautiful Liard river. The evening before my departure into the bush was enjoyable. This was the transition time and it gave me the opportunity to meet the incoming hunters, like myself, as well as the outgoing hunters. It was exciting to hear about their experiences and see the magnificent bulls the area had to offer. The fire in me was roaring! The icing on the cake was the gourmet meals prepared by the cook, a culinary student. I have been on a few guided hunts previously, but none to this level of professionalism. Jeff and his staff had an enthusiasm that made me feel welcome and at ease immediately. Early the next morning I was flown into a remote area along the Yukon border. The camp consisted of a one room log cabin and an outbuilding that had been used as a stable many years ago. Upon arrival I met my two guides, Steve and Jerryd. Steve was the main guide, a serious no nonsense person with a military-like demeanor,

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while Jerryd was a young strapping trainee, whose bright smile and encouraging attitude were much appreciated. We immediately loaded two carts being pulled by 4-wheelers and embarked on a three-hour trip to an even more remote spike tent camp. The first few days were somewhat uneventful, except for my appreciation of the exquisite British Columbian countryside. It was a rough, rugged, unforgiving territory, that didn’t give up its treasures easily. I had underestimated the physical challenges of waist- to shoulder-high willows and the bogs that were like quicksand. I was the third hunter in a row to be flown into this area while the guides had remained on site straight through. To say they were in excellent condition would be an understatement. Steve was a push on, get ‘er done person while Jerryd was a laid back, easy going individual. You could say it was like a good cop, bad cop situation. The first day I was running on adrenaline and did everything I could to keep up, although I did trip and stumble my way through the willows. At first, I resented Steve’s fast pace, but the reality was he knew what it took to be successful and he was going to do everything in his power to guide me to that success. He had been successful on the previous two hunts and he was not about to break the streak now. It was a relief when we stopped to glass and cow call every once in a while. Each morning would begin the same way; breakfast before daylight, a long trek to a glassing vantage point, usually staying

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until lunch. Then another long trek to another glassing area or a remote lake, staying until dark and a long hike back to the spike camp. To tell the truth, there were some mornings that I dreaded going, my body was sore and tired. My mind said yes but my body was hesitant. That is when I began to wonder if I had made the right decision about my capabilities. This was no place for the weak or faint of heart – or an old fat man. Things changed later in the week when, one afternoon, a mature bull moose was spotted on the far side of a remote lake. My guide tried to coax the mature bull with seductive cow calls and very shortly, we heard twigs breaking behind us. To my disbelief, a small bull approached to within 10 yards. He stared and looked at us for the longest time, trying to figure us out. This is how hunting sometime goes, from nothing to having two bulls in sight at the same time. Yet, this time the wind was wrong for the mature bull and he soon vanished, along with my anticipation which had spiked from zero to 100, only to crash back to zero again. The next afternoon found us back at the same remote lake because we now knew a mature bull was in the area and the rut was still on. My guide felt that with the right wind this could be the afternoon we had hoped for. Steve began making cow calls and raking on a tree. After a short period, almost to my disbelief, across the lake stood the magnificent bull moose that I had dreamed about for decades. My excitement and anticipation were almost beyond belief. My thoughts raced!


Was this really going to happen or would, as on many other hunting occasions, fate intervene, and disappointment be the result? Almost immediately, the massive animal began his slow and staggering pace toward us; 600 yards away, 500 then 400, and before I knew it, although it seemed like an eternity, the bull was 250 yards and still moving towards us. I could feel and hear my breathing quicken; at this point I knew something was going to happen, good or bad. I have harvested many animals in my lifetime, but there is something breathtaking when an 800-pound animal is within your sights. Then my guide told me to shoot before the bull was into the lake. My first shot found its mark and the huge animal stumbled, the second sealed the deal and shortly, after all the high fives and shouting, I was staring in disbelief at my dream came true. It was after dark when the quartering was finished and we all were exhausted, so decided to sleep in the next morning, with a focus on rest and a good breakfast. Feeling rejuvenated, we eagerly packed and headed back to the log cabin. After approximately three grueling hours of 4-wheeler riding with heavily loaded trailers getting repeatedly stuck, we were back at the cabin. Waiting for us were comfortable cots, a wood stove, a roof over our heads, and a make-shift shower, which we badly needed. We contacted Jeff, the outfitter and owner, and reported our unbelievable success. He was excited for us and advised we’d be coming out early due to inclement weather approaching. Weather in the area

was very unpredictable and ensuring safe air transport was a top priority for Jeff. We prepared for departure the next day, but that evening Jeff texted to say the pilot had made other arrangements to get another group of hunters out, so it would be the following day before we would leave. No big deal, I thought. Boy, was I wrong! The weather changed overnight, and we awoke to blowing snow and winds of approximately 30-40 miles per hour. Not suitable for air travel. Again, I thought no problem, we originally weren’t to leave for a couple more days and my travel arrangements were still intact. For the next five days we awoke with the anticipation that we were leaving. We would pack and gather our things early and wait for the message, but each day the same news came: “Bad weather can’t fly!” That is where the real story – and a new understanding of what I was truly made of – began. Each morning hoping for a change in the weather, but being dealt disappointment again and again, all the while not knowing when it would end. At that time of year, weather patterns can last several days. As a senior citizen, I’ve had many life experiences, but there was something very unique about this situation. It would have been different if we were still hunting, but our tags had been filled and I was ready to go home. Spending days on end in a dimly lit cabin due to the rain, snow, and sleet led to a bad case of cabin fever. The reality that I was not in control

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gas supply for the generator, although we did have a wood stove. We turned the old stable into a makeshift shower house, which was greatly appreciated by everyone. We cleaned the cabin from end to end and made repairs – when we were not playing a marathon of card games. Anything to keep our minds off of the feeling of isolation! During this time, I developed a kinship with these two men, and realized what a sincere and deeply-felt responsibility they had toward my safety and wellbeing. Right from the day of my arrival until the day of departure, they put forth a tireless effort to make my hunt a memorable experience. On the sixth day, the blue skies returned! Jeff texted us with news that the plane was on the way, and it looked like we were going to get a brief opportunity to fly. The excitement was almost identical to the harvest of the unbelievable trophy that I had been blessed with! The plane arrived and I boarded with mixed feelings, realizing that I was leaving behind a place that had brought me several levels of emotions, some of which I had never felt before as well as some I would never forget. On the short flight back to the main lodge I had time to ponder and realize that a hunt is measured not by the size of the trophies, but rather in the size of the emotional experiences. Few, if any, leave this wilderness country untouched by its natural and unspoiled beauty and I was no exception. We returned with no other issues. Rescheduling Jerry and Jerryd of home flights were made and within days I was home telling my unbelievable story. of my destiny sank in, and I started to feel almost imprisoned If you have a bucket list of your own, I highly encourage you with no escape, completely dependent on factors outside of to indulge yourself. You really can’t predict the priceless and my control. As crazy as it sounds, I started to wonder if this life-changing adventures that await you! is how the incarcerated feel. I learned firsthand that there is certainly punishment in isolation, leading to a sense of desperation. We knew Jeff was doing everything humanly EDITOR’S NOTE: possible, but Mother Nature can be a fickle foe. You can reach Liard River Outfitters at 780-933-8001 or We did things to keep our mind off the depleting food supply, visit their website at www.liardriveroutfitters.com although we did have plenty of moose meat, and our depleting

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the wild mistress today I release you to your other lover, the wild & exhilarating mistress. she gets your heart, your summer nights, your quiet whispers & fire filled passion. she’s much older, wiser & yet, full of mystery. she’s got thick oak curves, rushing rivers and incredible heights. all things you love unconditionally. so today, I release you to the mountains that are calling you home, to the winds that sing sweet melodies, to the other love of your life – to the absolute & isolate wild. - grow wild honey b.

Tim & Astrid Faiers SOUTHEASTERN BC TEL/FAX

250.225.3551

1712 Eastman Avenue, Riondel BC V0B 2B0

shadowmtguides@bluebell.ca

shadowmountainoutfitters.ca MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Hi everyone! My name is Tammy Wood. I am a wild game and seafood chef and am excited to share my unique recipes with you. First, though, a bit about my history. I have always been a very passionate cook. My father is a chef, hunter and fisherman and is where my love of cooking and the outdoors began. Throughout my life, fishing was my main focus. That is, until my husband of eighteen years was killed in a workplace accident. Without warning I was left with our five children and a sixth on the way. I immediately went into survival mode; the wellbeing of my children was my top priority. What would I do if I couldn’t support them? It was then that I decided to get my firearms and hunting licences so I could hunt on my own and be assured that, at the very least, I could provide wild game. I was fortunate to have the help of amazing mentors, to whom I am forever grateful for the tips, advice, knowledge and passion that took my hunting to the next level. In addition to the hunting, I found a new passion for cooking and developing amazing recipes to show my family and friends just how delicious wild game can be. Along the way, I applied for Master Chef Canada and was lucky enough to finish in the Top Ten.

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Once the show aired, my wild game cooking career really took off, along with my love of welcoming newcomers, youth and women to the outdoor lifestyle. I became a published cookbook author, had a food editorial in BC Outdoors Magazine, and became a member of the Pro Staff team for Cabela’s Canada. I’ve had wonderful experiences hunting abroad with Artic Nature in Sweden, International Huntress in Africa, and have catered many events to support conservation organizations such as the BC Wildlife Federation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. I joined the board of SCI West Coast and help with their annual fundraising dinners. I have cooked on sportsmen’s show stages across BC and abroad, entertaining crowds and feeding them delicious wild game and exotic meat. I am now also an ambassador for Browning Firearms and am currently working on a TV show titled “Sossy Outdoors” that will air on the Canadian Sportsmen Channel starting in January 2020. Sossy was my late husband Gary’s nickname for me – it is very dear to my heart. I am very excited to now be sharing my passion and dishes with you, your family and friends! Please follow my Sossy Outdoors Facebook and Instagram pages and feel free to reach out with questions anytime – I am happy to help!


Cooking with Cougar Meat Cougar meat has to be one of the most delicious meats to eat. Old mountain men treated it as a delicacy. Some say it’s like pork, but I personally find it to be more like a dark turkey meat. I prefer to slow roast the tougher meat portions with poultry spices and herbs, pulling the meat and creating an incredible gravy that would have you thinking it is the best turkey meat you’ve ever tasted! The only real rule for cooking cougar meat is that it must be cooked to 180 degrees to eliminate the possibility of Trichinosis. This disease cannot be killed by freezing, smoking or microwaving. Cougar meat must be brought to a high temperature just like bear and pig.

Cougar Soft Tacos with Mango Slaw, Avocado and Garlic Lemon Aioli • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

18-20 small soft corn tortillas 2 lbs of cougar meat, sliced into short ribbons 2 shallots, cut in half and sliced lengthwise, thin 4 tbsp chili powder 2 tbsp cumin powder 2 tbsp paprika powder 4 garlic cloves, crushed or pressed ¼ cup of water Garlic olive oil (All of Oils) Mango Balsamic Vinegar (All of Oils) 1 small bag of coleslaw mix 1 ripe mango 1 ripe avocado Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro, chopped 1 lime, cut into wedges

Lemon Garlic Aioli Ingredients • Juice of ½ to a whole lemon, your choice • 1 cup of mayonnaise • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

For this recipe, I use cougar back strap. Slice the cougar nice and thin into ribbons and cut in half so the pieces are easy to eat. Heat a skillet with a good drizzle of the garlic olive oil. Add the cougar and stir, coating well with the oil. As the meat begins to brown, add the sliced shallots and stir well. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic, paprika, chili powder, and cumin powder. Stir very well, coating all pieces of the meat. You will notice that the spices will create a thicker paste around the cougar meat. Slowly add the water, stirring well. Allow the water to slowly evaporate over medium heat. This method will ensure your cougar is well cooked and create a bit of a gravy. Give the meat a taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Cover and set aside. In a metal bowl, add your coleslaw mix. Peel and cut the mango on both sides of the pit. I also drag my paring knife around the edges of the pit, making sure I get as much mango as possible. Slice thin and cube into small pieces. Add to the coleslaw mix. Drizzle some garlic olive oil and mango balsamic vinegar on the mixture and toss lightly. Set aside.

To create the aioli, puree in blender until smooth: mayonnaise, crushed garlic and lemon juice. Add to a squeeze bottle and set aside. Peel and pit your avocado and slice into thin strips. Place in a bowl and set aside. Soak a large dish cloth with warm water and twist all the excess water out. Lay the corn tortillas in the middle and wrap the cloth around it. Heat in microwave for about a minute and a half. This will produce a more pliable tortilla, which will be useful especially if you have taco holders. You can also serve these open face on a plate, if you do not have holders. You are now ready to assemble these amazing cougar tacos! Place your tortillas in the taco holders or dinner plate. Mix your cougar meat once more, and then place 3-4 pieces per tortilla. Top with slaw mixture. Place two slices of avocado on each side of tortilla. Drizzle aioli sauce from side to side down your tortilla, creating a zig zag effect. Finish off your tortilla with a good helping of chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top of this amazing tortilla. Not only is this dish full of flavour, it’s bright, colourful and eye catching! Enjoy! MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Let your adventure begin!

BIGHORN SHEEP • MOUNTAIN GOAT • ELK • SHIRAS MOOSE MULE DEER • WHITETAIL DEER • BLACK BEAR COUGAR • BOBCAT • LYNX • WOLF ALEX AND LORI SMUTNY 250.426.8099 1960 Wilson Road, Cranbrook, BC V1C 7H4 CANADA www.buglebasin.ca • Email: info@buglebasin.ca

COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE Hunts Offered River raft and heli-assisted back pack hunts for:

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service, with personal, high quality hunts in over 6,000 sq. mi. of

PRISTINE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES WILDERNESS.

GREG ‘GRIZ’ & GINGER TURNER PO Box 58, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 5X9 867-332-RAVN(7286) | hunts@ravensthroat.com

www.ravensthroat.com MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE Michael Sabbeth is a lawyer, author & consultant in Denver, Colorado. See his book The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk with Children About Values. Available at Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/c5flmmu Now available as a Kindle EBook.

If You Brush Your Teeth, You Should Support Hunting My writing in this elegant magazine demonstrates my unceasing search for ways to illuminate the virtues of hunting and to defend it. One way is to ask good questions. Here’s one: Why do you brush your teeth? Instructors in Uvalde, Texas, at the Texas Hunter Education Instructors Association Conference last May, asked me how to respond to anti-hunters when confronted with aggressive questions such as: “How can you kill those innocent beautiful animals?” and “You trophy hunters are about vanity and don’t respect the animal.” My response included offering skills on asking questions. Here are three valuable skills to employ when faced with similar questions. SKILL ONE - Challenge the logical fallacies in the attack An accusation is made: “You are a hunter, so you favor killing innocent animals!” This contains a logical fallacy – injecting the moral concept of “innocence” into wildlife’s existence. Animals die for many reasons and many animals kill other animals to live. Innocence is a perverse injection into reality. Ask, “Is a lion that kills a hundred impala innocent?” or “Is the elk that dies from starvation more innocent or less innocent than the elk killed by a hunter?” Unable to give a coherent answer that applies generally, the concept of innocence will be negated. SKILL TWO - Ask questions to get clarity about the beliefs of the other person Ask questions like these: “Do you prefer more healthy grizzly bears or fewer?” “Would you support hunting grizzly bears if hunting resulted in more healthy grizzly bears?” Demand yes or no answers: do they or don’t they? Don’t lapse into unfocused discussions or be deterred by vague or attenuated answers. For example, someone saying, “I favor hunting, just not trophy hunting” is like saying, “I believe in physics, just not gravity.” Please note that no matter the answer — yes or no — you get clarity regarding the person’s beliefs. If the person answers ‘no’ to the second question – would they

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support grizzly hunting if it resulted in more healthy grizzly bears – the plea of concern for bears is fraudulent. SKILL THREE - Ask questions that frame the discussion on your terms Rather than being on the defense from accusations of killing innocent animals, ask questions such as: “Why are you opposed to scientific game management?” “How can you accept more disease and starvation for bears?” “On what moral basis is mounting an animal for display showing disrespect for the animal when the outcome of the hunting included healthier bear populations, less poaching and fewer wildlife-human injuries?” Get clarity: what does the other person believe? If the belief is immoral, it can be easily refuted. The above examples demonstrate that asking good questions is a powerful skill for advancing hunting. Why do you brush your teeth? The answer is, you want to keep them because they are valuable! Why does this fundamental economic principle not apply to animal conservation? Animals without value will be discarded. Dennis Prager wrote, “When you don’t ask intelligent questions, you cannot come up with intelligent answers.” His advice applies to hunting. Until we stop allowing the antihunters to dominate the questions, we will have no intelligent answers for defending hunting. Let us ask good questions, such as, “Why do you brush your teeth?” For a full discussion on trophy hunting, please see my article: http://www.thehonorablehunter.com/index.php/articles/224trophy-hunting-the-use-and-abuse-of-terminology.


Northwest Big Game Outfitters

Black Bear • Moose • Sheep • Mountain Goat FREDDY DODGE

World Record

Muzzleloader Bull Moose

Jack Goodwin Box 344, Mile 5 Atlin Highway, Atlin, BC Canada V0W 1A0 Tel: (250) 651-7766 Email: nbgohunt@gmail.com

bcbiggamehunting.com

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - FALL 2019 |

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Guided Big Game Hunts Family owned and operated for over 20 yrs

100% on spot and stalk bear hunts

Winter wolf hunts and trapline adventures

Black BlackBear, Bear,Moose, Moose,Wolf WolfHunts Hunts&&Winter Winter Trapline TraplineAdventures Adventureswith withPaul PaulTrepus Trepus Hunting Huntingfrom fromPrince PrinceGeorge, George,BC, BC,Canada Canada Call: Call:250-964-2257 250-964-2257 Email: Email:inzana@telus.net inzana@telus.net

WWW.INZANAOUTFITTERS.COM WWW.INZANAOUTFITTERS.COM

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Mountain Hunter Magazine Fall 2019  

In This Issue: Goat Hunt with Terminus Mountain Outfitters, Deer Hunt with bonus Turkey with Kettle River Guides, Fathers, Sons & Mentors Wi...

Mountain Hunter Magazine Fall 2019  

In This Issue: Goat Hunt with Terminus Mountain Outfitters, Deer Hunt with bonus Turkey with Kettle River Guides, Fathers, Sons & Mentors Wi...

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