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BRITISH COLUMBIA, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, NUNAVUT, YUKON TERRITORY CONVENTION ISSUE 2013

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FEATURE STORIES

Hat Trick? A Lucky Day in October

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Northwest Big Game Outfitters Ltd. Grizzly Bear • Black Bear Moose Sheep • Mountain Goat FREDDY DODGE

World Record

Muzzleloader Bull Moose

Official Leica dealer. See our website for details. Jack Goodwin Box 344, Mile 5 Atlin Highway, Atlin, BC Canada V0W 1A0 Tel: (250) 651-7766 Email: nbgohunt@gmail.com • www.bcbiggamehunting.com


Contents

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Convention Issue 2013

Articles, photos, editorial submissions, comments and letters to the editor should be sent to: MOUNTAIN HUNTER: c/o GOABC, #103 – 19140 28th Avenue Surrey, British Columbia Canada V3S 6M3 Tel: (604) 541-6332 Fax: (604) 541-6339 E-mail: info@goabc.org www.MountainHunter.com www.facebook.com/GOABC1966 @GOABC MOUNTAIN HUNTER is published three times a year by the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia SUSTAINING MEMBERSHIP $52.50 tax included

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MARK WERNER President BRIAN GLAICAR First Vice-President MICHAEL SCHNEIDER Second Vice-President DIXIE HAMMETT Past-President REG COLLINGWOOD Director DAVID BERANEK Director AARON FREDLUND Director SHANE BLACK Director

LOCAL PRESIDENTS: LEIF OLSEN Northern (Peace) STUART MAITLAND Cariboo/Chilcotin SONNY PERKINSON Northwest (Skeena) DARREN DELUCA South Coast KEN WATSON North Central (Omineca) BRUCE AMBLER Thompson MARC HUBBARD Okanagan STEVEN LEUENBERGER Southern (Kootenay)

STAFF: SCOTT ELLIS JEANA SCHUURMAN JENNIFER JOHNSON

Executive Director Policy & Communications Assistant Office Manager

HAROLD GRINDE President KELLY HOUGEN Past-President WERNER ASCHBACHER Secretary

DAN REYNOLDS President TIM MERVYN Past-President Mountain Hunter is the official publication of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC), Association of Mackenzie Mountains Outfitters, & Yukon Outfitters Association. All rights reserved. Articles and advertising in Mountain Hunter do not necessarily reflect the view or directions of the GOABC. The GOABC reserves to the right to refuse any advertisements. Designed in Canada by Red Apple Creative www.redapplecreative.com Printed in the United States of America by Forum Communication Printing - Fargo, North Dakota

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Babine Guide & Outfitters..............................23 Baldy Mountain Outfitters ad #1..................31 Baldy Mountain Outfitters ad #2..................70 BC Safaris..............................................................61 42 BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters....................23 Bearcat Outfitters..............................................45 Bear Paw Guide & Outfitters..........................61 Beaverfoot Outfitting.......................................25 Besa River Outfitters.........................................67 Big 9 Outfitters...................................................59 Hat Trick? You Decide 26 Big Country Outfitters ....................................47 Bonnet Plume Outfitters.................................39 Aaron LaBumbard Boone & Crockett Club....................................32 Bugle Basin Outfitters......................................39 A Lucky Day in October 42 Cariboo Mountain Outfitters.........................25 Ridr Knowlton Christina Falls Outfitters..................................67 Claw Mountain Outfitters...............................46 Dallas Safari Club...............................................24 An Epic Adventure 48 Double Eagle Guides........................................24 Claude Corbeille Elk Valley Bighorn..............................................59 Erickson’s Outfitting.........................................68 From 59% to 82% 54 Eureka Peak Lodge...........................................32 Pat Garrett Findlay Creek Outfitters..................................68 Gana River Outfitters........................................68 Double Success! 62 Grand Slam Club/Ovis.....................................30 Grouse River Outfitters....................................53 Kathy Christensen Gundahoo River Outfitters.............................22 InReach Communications..............................46 On the Cover Iowa FNAWS........................................................67 Michael Larson on a hunt with Niemeyer Outfitting. Lehigh Valley SCI...............................................67 Liard River Adventures....................................68 Lifestyle Financial Services.............................61 Little Dease Ventures.......................................31 Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters...................59 McCowan’s Sporting Properties..................24 McGregor River Outfitters..............................22 Mervyn’s Yukon Outfitting.............................32 FROM THE EDITOR 2 Nahanni Butte Outfitters................................45 Northwest Big Game Outfitters.................. IFC GOABC PRESIDENT’S CORNER 3 Omenica Guides & Outfitters......................IBC Pelly Lake Wilderness Outfitters..................22 NEWS & VIEWS 4 Ram Creek Outfitters........................................31 Ram Head Outfitters.........................................47 CONVENTION 2013 8 Redstone Trophy Hunts..................................70 Rocky Mountain High Outfitter & Guides..... 71 ARTIST OF THE YEAR 18 Safari Club International (SCI).......................39 LELAND AWARD 20 Scoop Lake Outfitters......................................25 Shadow Mountain Outfitters........................46 GUIDES GALLERY 34, 35, 40, 41 Sikanni River Outfitters....................................22 SITKA......................................................................60 CONSERVATION MATTERS™ 36 Sonny’s Guiding Service.................................47 South Nahanni Outfitters...............................47 PHOTO TIPS & TRICKS 58 Sports Afield/Safari Press................................72 Trijicon Accupoint Riflescopes.....................33 CAMP COOK’S CORNER 71 Tuchodi River Outfitters..................................45 Vancouver Island Guide Outfitters..........OBC Wild Sheep Foundation..................................69 Yukon Big Game Outfitters............................31

Features...

Departments...

Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013 > 1


FROM THE EDITOR I recall a hunt years ago when I downed a bull elk that was nice, but far from the trophy quality of elk found in the area. Another hunter was critical of my decision to shoot that bull, commenting that I could have done far better had I held out. On another occasion I tied my tag to a mule deer buck in a place known for big deer. Again, my buck would’ve hardly raised an eyebrow and, again, some folks wondered why I lowered the boom on that deer. The same holds true with moose, bears and other species that I’ve taken. Fact of the matter is: I’m not a trophy hunter. Admittedly, I’ve taken some decent animals, but only because I’ve had the good fortune to hunt in places that produced trophies. I’ve never regretted shooting an animal because it didn’t measure up to perceived expectations. In other words, ground shrinkage—the term given to approaching your downed quarry and realizing it was far smaller than you thought—has never been an issue for me. While taking a trophy isn’t that important to me, many hunters indeed set their sights high, passing on animals that don’t measure up to their standards. That is, of course, a matter of personal preference, and is certainly a facet of hunting. Taking a trophy is something to

necessary recruitment to the herds. In many cases, wildlife agencies place a minimum antler or horn restriction on males of the species, ensuring that only the larger animals are taken. For example, sheep may have to be a ¾ curl or full curl, or be of a certain age, depending on the province or state. Some animals must have a minimum antler spread. The idea is to let the younger males survive another year or two, therefore providing a higher quality experience for hunters.

Jim Zumbo be proud of. Any of us would be delighted to take a superior animal. Animal rights activists are quick to focus on trophy hunters, claiming that larger, more mature animals are necessary for breeding and continuation of the gene pool. In reality, in the majority of cases, older animals have passed their genes to the herd and have already bred many females during their prime years. Furthermore, many older animals have lost their vigor and are incapable of adequately contributing to

As I see it, hunting is a combination of many values. Taking a trophy animal is certainly one of them, but I’m not very good at passing on a reasonably representative buck or bull in hopes of getting a shot at the big boy. Hunting, to me, is all of the outdoor experience as well as making new friends in hunting camp. It’s watching geese fly south in V-formation early in the fall, hearing an elk bugle and wondering how big he is and if he’ll come to my call, or listening to a bull moose grunt, working his way through the willows. And, of course, there is the reward at the dinner table; it’s organic meat at its finest, and it comes with the bonus of many memories in the forests and fields.

21 Annual Convention st

and Auction Fundraiser March 28-29, 2014, Kelowna, BC

• • • • •

HIGHLIGHTS

Over 20 hunts available Silent Auction Draws Fish & Game Banquet Gala Dinner

1.877.818.2688 info@goabc.org 2 < Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013


GOABC

Mark Werner

PRESIDENT’S CORNER One of the great things about a really challenging hunt is that at some point you have to summon all your strength to keep going. Triumph from overcoming these challenges is the most rewarding. Everyone knows that moment I’m talking about. It’s when you have to push your body to continue even though your legs feel numb, your feet are blistered, and your back is aching like never before. These accomplishments are the ones that build character. This hunting analogy also applies to the workplace. In recent years, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) has faced some challenging and divisive issues. There have been many intense meetings and phone calls. It has been very difficult to maintain unity within our industry, but we have had some success. As a Board of Directors, we’ve worked hard to establish a long-term vision amongst ourselves and retain the support of our membership. And “the proof is in the pudding”; there is strength in one message with many voices. Over the past few years, we have received unprecedented support from government on our “Certainty Needs”, which is a list of policy and legislative changes to help increase business certainty and investor confidence for our industry. There are still some issues outstanding, but we are pleased with the support that government

has provided for our “Certainty Needs.” Over 10 significant changes have been made to law and policy over the past 5 years. The “Certainty Needs” list was compiled by the Board in collaboration with our membership, bankers, lawyers and other experts. Government laws and policies can help build strong foundations and healthy business climates for small businesses. With a strong, unified voice, the guide outfitting industry can help determine what the foundation for our sector looks like. It is important that we continue to hear from our membership on the issues and concerns that are foremost on their minds. This is vital to association unity and long-term success. Back in 1966, a group of guides met in north central BC with the vision that they needed a voice in Victoria—BC’s political hub and capital city. They had no idea how their group would grow and transform to become one of the leading guide outfitting associations in the world—guiding the industry through some of the most tumultuous times in the industry’s history. This spring we held our 47th Annual General Meeting and 20th Annual Convention. Some big anniversaries are approaching, both for the association and our Convention. This year, the theme of the Convention was United We Stand! The challenges our industry has faced and

the ability to pull through have created a new and more powerful organization that, as it approaches its 50th anniversary, is as strong and effective as ever. What we have accomplished has built organizational character. A few years ago the Board was faced with some serious questions about the future of the Convention. There was a lot of general uncertainty over the event. We weren’t sure if the funding approach was viable in the long term. After strategizing and surveying the membership, the Board had the vision to make some big changes and the courage to take risks. We wanted to make sure we retained the fun, social feel our event is known for. The overall results have been very positive. Our Convention has received a fresh breath of life. This year we had a fantastic turnout this year— highest attendance in over 5 years—and we made money to help support the work of the association. The question is no longer whether or not we should continue to Convention, but how to make it bigger and better in the future. Keep your eyes out for information on our 2014 Convention!

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Mark Werner President, GOABC

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NEWS & VIEWS Scott Ellis

Executive Director

This year the theme for our Convention was “United We Stand”, reflecting the GOABC’s drive to increase collaboration and unity within our industry and the greater hunting community. During our Convention, we held our first BC Resident Hunter Night to recognize the many common goals stakeholders have in wildlife management. Fighting within the hunting community detracts from the larger goal of preserving hunting opportunity in BC and beyond our borders. When the GOABC was first established in 1966, the social-political climate was very different. The demographics of our province were more rural and a larger number of people were either hunters or exposed to hunters within their family and friends. These days hunters are the exception rather than the norm, especially in more urban areas. We need to be working together to defend the role of hunting in wildlife management and promote our passion to the younger generations. Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to present to students in fish and wildlife programs at three universities. I always start my lecture with the question “How many hunters do we have in the room?” The results are

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shocking: there are usually only 1 or 2 students that raise their hands sheepishly. On the plus side, usually the same number of students raise their hands when I ask how many anti-hunters we have in the room. The majority of the classrooms are undecided about hunting. Uninformed and undecided—at least that’s better than uninformed and decided. I tell classrooms about keeping each species population within a range based on habitat capacity. We only hunt the surplus. If the population can justify a hunt, there should be one. If the population drops too low, hunters respect closures to help rebuild populations. The classrooms ask good questions about the North American Wildlife Conservation Model and I am happy to answer any questions that they have. Our future fish and wildlife managers need to understand the concept of sustainable use. Right after Convention, we also had a unique opportunity to give a short presentation to a local Scouts group. On a Tuesday night, our office was filled with 15 energetic boys aged 8 to 14 years old. We showed the kids a short movie about the history of guide outfitting, talked about sustainable use, and did a contest

naming the different big and small game mounts we have in our trophy room. They got samples of bison sausage and went home with GOABC t-shirts and copies of our recently stewardship publication, Conservation Matters™. It was neat because some of them came to our office acting “too cool for school” and, by the end of the night, they were so interested and excited that we actually had to encourage them to leave. These are important efforts to help inform the general public and help ensure support for hunting continues. Hunters—we need to be more united. We can’t be divided by where we hunt or what we hunt with. You are a licensed hunter and by that simple fact, you’re part of a much larger community of licensed hunters. Wildlife is a public resource and it is important that the public understands that licensed hunters are part of the solution. “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” – Albert Einstein

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Straight shooting and safe travels. Scott Ellis Executive Director, GOABC


NEWS & VIEWS The winter show season is now over and we, the outfitters, are busy planning our upcoming seasons. Winter predator hunts have pretty much wrapped up for this year—I just returned from doing a spring wolf hunt a few days ago. Spring bear hunts will be starting any day in Alberta, and it will not be long until we are shoeing horses and heading up the road for another summer in the paradise we call the Mackenzie Mountains. After a long winter of travelling to shows, attending meetings and living in the normal “rat race,” we are all looking forward to another year in the peace and quiet of the mountains. Although we are always busy and the days can be long and the work very tiring, there is somehow a certain peace that comes with the simpler life of a hunting camp. It is refreshing and rewarding to be the master of your own destiny— if you don’t cut some wood you cannot cook supper, if you are not successful on your hunt there will be no fresh meat in the pan, if you don’t get that shoe back on your saddle horse you will be afoot tomorrow, if you don’t get the tent pitched you may have a pretty cold and soggy sleep tonight. I have trouble putting into words how fulfilling a few basic needs is uplifting to my spirit and maybe someone who has never “been there and done that” will have no idea of what I am talking about. For those who have never set foot outside of a city and to whom life is about climbing the corporate ladder and keeping up with their friends on Facebook, food and shelter are pretty much taken for granted. The idea of taking the life of one of God’s creatures so that they will have supper must be completely foreign to them…and understanding how the taking of that life can give the hunter a greater love and appreciation for the creature and for life itself must be unimaginable. Understanding why we love to hunt is difficult, if not impossible, for those who have never ventured into the wilderness on a hunt. I sometimes wish that all could come and experience what we do—it will never happen, and yet somehow we, as hunters, must share our experiences with those who don’t have the opportunities we do. We must communicate how fulfilling it is to satisfy your basic needs and speak about our love of hunting with those who do not hunt or we will lose our opportunities to hunt. Have a great season, take a young person out and introduce them to our world, and take the time to relish every moment of your hunt.

News from the Yukon Outfitters Association starts with our Annual General Meeting held April 4th and 5th. Attendance was good and it was nice to see everyone after a busy winter of shows, trapping and vacationing. Regretfully, GOABC representation could not make it out, but the invite is on again for our December Round Up. Our President, Dan Reynolds, and Vice President, Tim Mervyn, were re-elected and some new directors were appointed. We would also like to welcome our new Administrative Assistant, Brooke Bouqot. One highlight from the AGM was the ongoing project of placing a large bronze statue in the Town of Watson Lake commemorating the role of guides in the history of the Yukon. We also learned from one of our members about the power of social media and its unique role in promoting professional hunting. Our guest list is expansive for this year’s Round Up Awards Banquet & Dance taking place on the 7th of December. The last two years have been sold out ahead of time so mark your calendars and plan a trip north to enjoy the camaraderie of Yukoners as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the YOA. Another celebration is coming much sooner, as longtime Ceaser Lake Outfitter, Terry Wilkinson, is being recognized for Leadership in Sustainable Tourism by the Yukon Tourism Industry Association Excellence Awards at their spring conference being held in Haines, Alaska. Although it is Terry specifically being recognized for this award, it reflects on guide outfitting as a whole for being a truly sustainable economic input to the Yukon. The coming season looks to be a busy one. Many members are readying equipment and aircraft for the immense preseason hunt preparation work. We hope you all have a great hunting season and look forward to sharing the stories of our great Yukon hunts with you. Doug Burgis Executive Director, Yukon Outfitters Association

Harold Grinde President, Association of Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters (AMMO)

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Preferred Conservation Partners

We are pleased to report that of the six new records set the BC Special Sheep Permit sold for $275,000, beating last year’s record sale price by $25,000 and a new World Record bid was set at $480,000 for a Montana bighorn permit beating the prior Alberta bighorn record of $405,000 set by FNAWS in 2009. In total, more than $3.19 million was raised through special sheep hunting permits. Equaling the enormity of the prices paid is the fact that 100% of the dollars raised for these permits are directed to state, provincial, tribal and WSF conservation initiatives to help “Put and Keep Sheep on the Mountain™.” The Sheep Show will return to Reno, January 22-25, 2014. We hope to see you there! ~ Gray Thornton, President/CEO www.wildsheepfoundation.org • info@wildsheepfoudnation.org Facebook.com/WildSheepFoundation 2013 marks the 125th Anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt founding the Boone and Crockett Club. While such anniversaries are typically times for organizations to pat themselves on the backs or host celebrations, throughout its history the Boone and Crockett Club has done little of either. Dating back to Roosevelt’s time, the Club’s philosophy has always been: just get it done and don’t worry about who gets credit. Regardless, the Club has accomplished some impressive things for wildlife, hunting and conservation. From championing the first National Parks to initiating protection legislation, the Boone and Crockett Club has been an important part of the wildlife heritage of the United States. Although best known for its scoring system and big game trophy books, the Club has also been a pioneer in encouraging sustainable use and ethical, fair chase hunting. ~ Keith Balfourd, Director of Marketing

For the second straight year, Dallas Safari Club (DSC) will grant more than a million dollars for conservation, education and hunter advocacy efforts worldwide in 2013. DSC’s total funding commitment for 2013 is $1,010,000—a record for the organization. The allocation follows major growth in the DSC annual convention and expo. Held early each January at the Dallas Convention Center, the event has been steadily growing in size, attendance and total fundraising. Projects to receive DSC funding this year include anti-poaching efforts in Africa, forest restoration in New Mexico, genetic and lion research in Africa, pronghorn and desert bighorn sheep restoration initiatives in Texas, mule deer and elk research in Nevada, habitat improvements in Africa, several youth and veteran hunts, numerous conservation education events and other worthy initiatives. This funding also will support DSC’s own mission delivery programs, such as the Dallas Ecological Foundation’s Outdoor Adventures Program, which is expanding conservation curriculum in Texas schools. ~ Ben Carter, Executive Director Grand Slam Club/Ovis was one of the earliest conventions of the season in our industry. Even though we had a very successful convention, we learned a valuable lesson: many of our regular attendees could not make the trip two weeks after Christmas. The good news for 2014 is that our convention is January 29-February 1, 2014, sandwiched between the conventions from Wild Sheep Foundation and Safari Club International (SCI). Future dates through 2017 are generally in late January, either the week before or after SCI. Even in these difficult recessionary times, we have been able to continue with significant contributions to conservation. Our 2012 conservation funding was $620,301, which placed us near $6 million total cumulative conservation funding to date. We only began having a convention in 2005, so we are very pleased with this cumulative number. Our 2012 funding included $66,000 to Canadian organizations such as the GOABC. We are very pleased to be one of GOABC’s Preferred Conservation Partners. ~ Dennis Campbell, Executive Director

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PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO © ROBERT A. SANCHEZ

With records broken for the highest amounts bid on auction for special permits, overall attendance, and funds raised for wildlife and other mission programs, the Wild Sheep Foundation’s 2013 Convention and Sporting Expo lived up to their reputation as the “Premier Mountain Hunting and Conservation Expo in the World!” More than $5 million total was raised for wildlife conservation efforts through North America and the world.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR MOUNTAIN HUNTER™

Stories • Recognize your guide, hunting destination and sought species in the first few paragraphs of your story. • A great hunting story not only describes the animals and itinerary, but expresses the significance of the hunt to you. How long had you been dreaming of this hunt? How did you first connect with your outfitter? What was the scenery like? What challenges did you encounter? These details will add to richness and familiarity of your story for your readers. • Proofread your story for clarity, but do not worry too much about the proper grammar or sentence structure—we will take care of that for you. • Try to keep the story in past tense and title it creatively. Titles and photos provide the first impression for your readers, and you want to draw them in immediately. Be sure to include several high-quality photos (1 MB or larger at 300dpi) with your submission. • Stories should be 2500-3000 words in length and written in Microsoft Word. We prefer to receive them by email, but they can also be sent hard-copy or on CD. • Please include your full contact information with your submission (mailing address, phone number, and email).

Photos • We are always looking for high-quality vertical photos for the magazine cover. • Guides Gallery submissions should be high-quality and 1 MB or larger. Trophies should always be presented in a respectful manner. We are able to “clean up” some of the blood in trophy photos, but try to hide tongues and wipe away excess blood. • Keep lighting and shadows in mind and make sure that faces and the animal are clearly visible. • Include the following details for the caption: hunter name and hometown, outfitter, animal species, and date.

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Send submissions by email to admin@goabc.org or mail to: Guide Outfitters Association of BC (GOABC) Suite 103–19140 28th Avenue, Surrey, BC V3S 6M3 GOABC reserves the right to reject any materials that are objectionable or promote unethical or illegal hunting practices. Furthermore, GOABC reserves the right to edit stories as necessary and publish materials at its discretion and timeline. Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013

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MARCH 2013

CONVENT Fun Night A GOABC Classic: Manjeet. The judges loved the inclusion of woolen outdoors socks in the outfit. All of The Gong Show acts ready to go.

Backup dancers in tow, Prince woos the crowd with Raspberry Beret.

Barb and Sonny Perkinson enjoy the Gong Show acts.

Every rock band needs an attractive back up dancer.

Madonna prepares to go on stage.

The crowd cheers on the performers.

One of the evening’s highlights was a memorable performance from KISS.

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KELOWNA, BC

TIONUnited2013 We Stand The Jackson Five... all grown up.

One of The Supremes

PHOTO BY BRIAN SPROUT / PICTUREBC.CA

Sonny and Cher still have that special spark.

Tina Turner enjoys a quick beverage before performing Rollin’.

ZZ Top performs Legs.

The Unknown Comic. Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013 > 9


MARCH 2013

CONVENT BC Resident Hunter Night Comedian Damien James had the crowd roaring with laughter.

Irene and Paul Michel

President Mark Werner (L) and Executive Director, Scott Ellis (R) present Minister Thomson with an Okanagan wine basket.

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Damien had a little fun with GOABC President Mark Werner.

Scott Stirling, Wild TV


KELOWNA, BC

TIONUnited2013 We Stand Checking out the Silent Auction.

We are always pleased to have Keith Dinwoodie as our auctioneer. He is one of the best in the business.

PHOTO BY PETER VAN DER HEYDEN / STOCKPHOTO.COM

A full house!

Morris and Chuck Showdra

Gary & Linda Trepanier

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MARCH 2013

CONVENT Gala Dinner

Dixie Hammett presents Crystal Thompson of Gundahoo River Outfitters with the Lady of the Year Award.

The Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training speaks about his connection to our industry after accepting the President’s Award.

A short speech from Reg Collingwood, Collingwood Bros., after receiving the Guide Outfitter of the Year Award.

Shane Black (R) shares some remarks on his years partnering with Keith Connors (C) on their outfitting business, BC Safaris. At the front of the stage, Keith’s legendary camo suit, worn to weddings and hunting shows around the world, is also retiring.

Keith Connors (L) with son Brian Connors (R). After over three decades in the guide outfitting industry, Keith is retiring this year. His commitment to the industry and service to the GOABC was recognized by the Fair Chase Award.

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Mike Young, Lonesome Mountain Outfitters, accepts the Frank Stewart Award.


KELOWNA, BC

TIONUnited2013 We Stand

Pancake Breakfast & MHRB Awards We had our first Life Members Pancake Breakfast in 2012 & it was so much fun that we decided to do it again this year. Guide outfitter Stu Maitland pictured above.

Keith Balfourd with Doug McMann of Skinner Creek Hunts, who accepted a MHRB Award on behalf of his client Sergeant Major Pat Corcoran.

PHOTO BY BRIAN SPROUT / PICTUREBC.CA

What a great couple! Our guests greatly enjoyed the down-to-earth passion and good humor of Vicki and Ralph Cianciarulo.

Dixie Hammett extends GOABCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s congratulations to John Jackson III of Conservation Force on winning the Capstick Award from Dallas Safari Club. This prestigious award recognizes significant contributions to wildlife and habitat conservation, as well as sustained commitment to the heritage of hunting.

Jokes made by Ralph Cianciarulo during the Life Members Breakfast got a big laugh from James Reed of Sports Afield.

Past President Dixie Hammett welcomes guests to the Life Members Pancake Breakfast.

Keith Balfourd of Boone & Crockett and Stu Maitland from GOABC announce the 2012 Mountain Hunter Record Book Awards.

Shane Mahoney

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MARCH 2013

CONVENT

Saturday Auction

Welcoming remarks from Gray Thornton, President and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation.

A very cool donation from Ducks Unlimited makes a tour of the room: an anniversary edition whiskey keg.

Blockman Keith Connors provides descriptions of the auction items.

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Scott Ellis with Bob McCormick and Dixie Hammett. Bob won the Life Members raffle draw for a Remington gun and donated it back to the association.

Art and Crystal Thompson, Gundahoo River Outfitters.

Donated by the BC Trappers’ Association, this wolf pelt was deemed “Biggest and Prettiest” at their 2012 Wolf Contest. The pelt was purchased and redonated several times, raising over $5,000 for GOABC.

Auction spotter Bruce Ambler of Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding.


KELOWNA, BC

TIONUnited2013 We Stand Guide Kent Michie gives the auction a thumbs up.

Bruce Eavenson and Gary Tennison from Safari Club International.

Vimel Iver (L) and friends after purchasing the Ducks Unlimited whiskey keg.

Rene Schneider displays an art donation to interested bidders.

President Mark Werner, accompanied by his son, Matthew, welcomes guests to the 2013 Auction.

Spotter Stu Maitland shares a quick laugh with auction guest Sharon Rhodes.

Stefanie Leuenberger with son Tyler of Ram Creek Outfitters.

Long time GOABC supporters (L-R) Jim Kirkpatrick, Harve Dethlefs, and Lory Puntenney. Mountain Hunter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Convention Issue 2013 > 15


MARCH 2013

CONVENT

Saturday Auction

Dixie Hammett of Sikanni River Outfitters with Anna Fontana of Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters.

Guide outfitter Tim Cushman of BC Big Game Adventures.

Verne Crookshanks

Eric Moland (R) of Hub International Insurance will be going on a 4-day fishing trip with Jordy McAuley (L) of Finlay River Outfitters.

Harry McCowan of McCowan’s Sporting Adventures discusses the Sports Afield ad he purchased on the auction with donor James Reed of Sports Afield.

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Auction spotter Steven Leuenberger.


KELOWNA, BC

TIONUnited2013 We Stand

Rene Schneider displays original artwork by Brogan Dider entitled “Blueberry Sunday.”

Guide outfitter Reg Collingwood will be heading to the Okanagan to enjoy a black bear hunt with fellow guide outfitter Darrel Schneider.

Joanne Kirkland of Hagberg Guiding with friend Patti Gerhardi.

Leif Olsen and Aaron Fredlund ready to get the auction rolling.

Rod Jackman and his wife Ladonna after purchasing a High Country Mule Deer Hunt with Steven Hoessl.

The lovely Amy Thacker of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association purchased a Grizzly Bear Viewing Package with Bella Coola Grizzly Tours.

Lori and Larry Warren of Tuchodi River Outfitters donated a elk hunt to this year’s auction and it sold online through Live Auction World.

Our raffle girls, Julie McMann of Skinner Creek Hunts and Erika Bowing of Finlay River Outfitters. Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013 > 17


ARTIST OF Wolf Portrait by Wendy Moore wendysue@shaw.ca • (250) 376-0878 Wendy lives and practices out of Kamloops, BC. Her work can be found in public and private collections around the world. Awards and honours given to Wendy include: • GOABC, Artist of the Year—2001, 2003, and 2007 • Ducks Unlimited, Artist of the Year – 1996 • People’s Choice Award, BC Festival of the Arts

Blueberry Sunday

Head Study Mountain Goat by John de Jong

www.jdejongstudio.com • (250) 429-3917 John Alexander de Jong lives in southeastern BC with his wife Heather and their family. His art started as a hobby and in 1984 he enrolled in painting classes to fine tune his interest. He first received an invitation to display his work at a Cowboy Poetry Gathering and now he attends various shows throughout the year. The focus of his subject matter is on western themes, but also includes wildlife and landscape, drawing inspiration from his own experience and the diverse, natural beauty of the mountains in southern BC.

HONORABLE MENTION by Brogan Didier Tel: (250) 401-1188

Starting at a young age, Brogan Didier could operate a pencil before he could talk. Through his eyes, even then, objects, dimensions, nature and wildlife could be broken down into pencil lines, brush strokes and colors. Growing up in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains, Brogan was inspired and amazed with the beauty of Mother Nature. Spending as much time hunting, fishing and guiding as possible, he’s seen more drawing and painting ideas than he’ll ever have time to put to paper.

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THE YEAR 2013 Vantage Point by Caroline Kelly Log Cabin Studio, Bull River, BC http://logcabinstudio.blogspot.com (250) 429-3768 Caroline Kelly grew up in a guide outfitting family in the East Kootenays and she continues to live in that area. She enjoys painting on rocks because each one is different and always creates a unique background for a painting. Her husband Larry handcrafts all of her stands from red willow to fit each rock.

In the Stillness HONORABLE MENTION by Ramona Swift www.swiftfox.ca • ramona@swiftfox.ca Tel: (306) 361-7963 Ramona was born and raised on a farm in northern Alberta and lived her early years between there and the Northwest Territories. She lived in BC’s Okanagan region for 15 years and, in recent years, has made herself at home in Saskatchewan. All these places have found their way into her paintings in some measure. Her art education has included seeking out workshops and opportunities to paint alongside artists whose work and skill she admires.

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LELAND AWARD Quintin Thompson

A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD JUST FOR GUIDES

2013 Leland Award Winner Guide for Gundahoo River Outfitters

POSITIVE ATTITUDE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSONABLE

The recipient of the award will receive a special bronze sculpture from Rick Taylor and a cheque for $1,000 from GOABC. Second and third place winners each receive a cheque for $750 from GOABC.

“The Leland Award… you’ve been nominated for the Leland Award,” I was told that a couple months ago. Truthfully, the fact that I have been chosen as the 2013 recipient—let alone nominated—still has yet to sink in. I would like to say with most humble thanks that it is a profound honour to be the 2013 recipient of the Leland Award. I had met Leland Bradford years ago when we were young, as a result of our families both being in the outfitting industry. Leland was one of those truly outstanding guides and I am deeply humbled to be sharing company with the past recipients of this award. Also, I would like to stress that I couldn’t be standing here accepting this award without the involvement and guidance of others. Most of all I want to thank the Lord God, as He created the wilderness we “play” in and all the wildlife we enjoy. I thank Him for the gifts and the abilities He gave me in order to experience His creation and do this job I love.

I would like to thank my family. My parents, Arthur and Crystal Thompson of Gundahoo River Outfitters, who helped shape my character in dealing with people and my work ethic, and who supplied an environment where I could, from a young age, cultivate my love for the mountains, wildlife and, of course, my horse. Carrying that forward, I would like to thank my three children, Jacob, Isaac and Anna-James for always positively insisting that I keep guiding and “going north” each year and sharing it with them, as they truly know how much I love the mountains. I need to thank the hunters that I have had the opportunity to guide over the years. Not only for the hunting experiences and memories, but the friendships gained in short two week hunts. I am thankful for each of those experiences, ranging from climbing two and a half mountains on the last day of a hunt in order to get an opportunity on a Stone ram, to packing a moose out on a

cold, crisp, clear night with wolves howling and northern lights soaring overhead. Thanks to the hunters who nominated me for this award­—you know who you are. I want to also thank the members of the team that I am and have been a part of; all of those other guides and wranglers (true friends) that I have worked with over the years. I look forward to continue making mountainside memories with these people. A special thank you I would like to extend to the late George MacDonald, my original mentor, you could say, when I started following him around the Gundahoo wilderness at age 13. Finally, thank you to GOABC and the Bradford family for establishing this memorial award for guides. Being recognized by your peers for something you truly love to do is so meaningful, and most definitely will be a highlight of my life. Quintin Thompson

The Leland Award recognizes professionalism in the ranks of guides in British Columbia, Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories. It was first established in 2000 in memory of Leland Bradford, a talented and skilful assistant guide who died in November 1998 at the young age of 22 years.

NOMINATION DEADLINE : December 31, 2013 WHO CAN BE NOMINATED?

HOW TO SUMMIT NOMINATIONS

The committee will be looking for those qualities and traits in a guide that help make your trip a special and memorable experience. In the Spring 2012 issue of Mountain Hunter™, the photo credit for the Leland Award page was missed. The photo of Derrick Stevens was taken by Nick Diamond www.nickdiamondphotography.ca.

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Any assistant guide employed by a member of GOABC in 2013 is eligible for the Leland Award. The Leland Award recognizes a guide’s professional attitude and treatment of clients, ethics and standards, and knowledge of the area and its wildlife.

WHO CAN SUBMIT NOMINATIONS? Any client of a GOABC member in 2013 can submit nominations for the Leland Award. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2013.

Nominations can be submitted to GOABC by mail, email or fax, and must be received by December 31, 2013.

For more information, ask your guide outfitter or contact: Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia Suite 103 – 19140 28th Avenue Surrey, British Columbia V3S 6M3 Ph: (604) 541-6332 Fax: (604) 541-6339 info@goabc.org • www.goabc.org


TM

HUNTING Preservation Fund

For centuries hunting defined a way of life. Long before Europeans settled in the Canadian northwest, wildlife harvest provided sustenance for First Nations, and maintained a social and ceremonial significance within their culture. Hunting is part of our heritage. By the late 1800s the world’s hunting fraternity had learned that British Columbia harboured one of North America’s most magnificent big game populations, and local hunters started guiding services to meet the demand for quality big game hunts. In 1913 the first guiding licences were first issued and a half century later legislation provided guide outfitters with the exclusive rights to guide non-resident big game hunters in a specific area. By cultivating a sense of ownership and responsibility, the exclusivity of the certificate created the foundation for the guide outfitting industry in BC. This model was later adopted by Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Legal hunting is ethical, sustainable and plays an important role in wildlife management. However, guided trophy hunting is coming under increasing pressure from “anti-everything” organizations that are strong, organized and well-funded. Unfortunately, much of the public is under informed. Recent surveys have revealed that 15% of the population support legal hunting and 15% oppose all hunting. As hunters, we must be vigilant and diligent about relaying the benefits of hunting to the 70% of people who sit “in the middle.” The GOABC will continue to take the lead in being a respected voice for our industry. If we want hunting to be around for future generations we must have our story told: hunters are the true conservationists. In response to depleting wildlife populations in the early 20th century, the North American Wildlife Model was developed by hunters and anglers in conjunction with government. The model, which outlines seven principles for sustainable use, was responsible for bringing many wildlife populations back from the brink of extinction. It also began the policy of allocating part of the funds generated through the sale of licences, tags and royalties into wildlife conservation. Hunters and anglers pay for conservation. The hunting community is relatively small and must work together. Our opportunity will be lost if we are fragmented by where we are from, the equipment we use, the species we pursue or the reasons we hunt. The Hunting Preservation Fund (HPF) was established by the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) to help ensure continued opportunities to hunt in the Canadian northwest. Clients of GOABC members contribute a fee with their hunt, which is held in-trust and remitted to GOABC at year end. A 1-year subscription to Mountain Hunter™ is provided by GOABC for all clients paying the HPF. By contributing to the HPF, you become part of a larger community of hunters and help the association forward various initiatives. Your support is deeply appreciated.

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest again all hunting and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds, the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extinction.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“Each year there are media reports that portray hunters as the enemies of wildlife, rather than stewards of the land. Anti-hunting organizations raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations each year. They are strong, united and strategic. If our sector is silent, future generations will not have the opportunity to hunt in the Canadian northwest.”

For more information about the Hunting Preservation Fund

CONTACT GOABC Suite 103, 19140 - 28th Avenue Surrey, B.C. V3S 6M3

Tel: (604)541-6332 Fax: (604) 541-6339 Email: info@goabc.org Mark Werner, GOABCMountain Hunter –www.mountainhunter.com Convention Issue 2013 > 21


Grizzly • Black Bear • Moose • Mountain Goat • Wolf Family Owned & Operated

Eric and Kelly

Box 1885, Station A Prince George, B.C. V2L 5E3 E-mail: info@mcgregorriveroutfitters.com Phone (250) 963-0262 Fax (250) 963-0233 www.mcgregorriveroutfitters.com

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Over $2,012,400 granted in 2012, 2013 to support CONSERVATION. EDUCATION. HUNTERS’ ADVOCACY.

Join DSC today or visit us at www.biggame.org ©2013 Dallas Safari Club

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HAT TRICK? YOU DECIDE

F

inishing the last leg of the 10 hour plus drive to the Purcell Wilderness Area in southeastern British Columbia, I occupied my mind by remembering the four previous hunts I had shared with Brent Dubois of A/Z Outfitters. With a nice mule deer, a nanny and billy goat, and also a missed opportunity at a 180 class mule deer under my belt, I had much to be thankful for. But, even with such quality hunting to look forward to, I reminded myself that the real escape I hoped for was an adventure to top the last one. I wanted an adventure to rival our 2009 hunt, in which Brent and I had taken a nanny and then spent three blizzardfilled days chasing an 180 class buck through knee-deep snow to no avail, or an adventure greater than last year’s trip, in which we had taken a nice billy and, in order to collect it, spent the night shivering in our rain gear deep in the mountains with only a bright fire to beat away the frost. Yes, it is the adventure that keeps me coming back to A/Z Outfitters and, as I pulled into Canal Flats, I couldn’t help but wonder what Brent had in store for me this year. Brent and I spent a few minutes catching up before getting down to business. Soon enough, I realized that, just as I hoped, Brent had come up with new adventure. Knowing that he had seen two large Shiras moose on his previous trip, I listened as Brent gave the details and then offered up his last moose tag for this season. I already had a goat and deer tag in pocket,

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by Aaron LaBumbard

so I debated the offer for all of five seconds before negotiating a deal. Once it was settled, we headed out to do the shopping and pick up the tags. The following morning I awoke and began preparing my gear for the 9 mile pack trip to Ben Able Cabin. Shortly, Brent and I had saddled two horses, tailed up a string of three pack horses, and headed out. It was a beautiful day for travel���light snow on the ground, cold and crisp, but not a cloud in the sky. Staring up the trail at the rising Purcell Mountains that loomed before me, I felt as if I had finally returned home. Plodding, splashing, and crunching through a thin layer of ice, we crossed a creek and then followed it west. In the early afternoon, we arrived at Ben Able Cabin. Located on a small bluff situated above a creek, the cabin, with its aged and weathered log sides, looked like a remnant from the long-forgotten past. Knowing our only contact with the outside world was a satellite phone, which would probably never be used, I smiled as that now familiar feeling swept through me: the feeling that the outside world had been left behind. I knew that we were truly alone and reliant upon ourselves; the next week would consist of taking care of the horses, doing chores, working towards our own comfort, and hunting. And with that, there would be no time to dwell upon the world we had left behind. With the packhorses unsaddled, the cabin

opened up, and a fire in the woodstove, Brent and I climbed back into our saddles and headed west through the lowland timber following a creek. Ducking and weaving to avoid the overhanging branches, I followed Brent down through the thicklygrown, snow-covered river bottom. Riding along, I occupied myself with thoughts with what lay ahead. As always, I knew I had some cold, hard days to look forward to, but I also knew that toughing them out would make all the difference in the world. Searching the woods left and right for any sign of deer, I almost missed Brent’s raised hand indicating a stop. Unsure about the delay, I watched as he turned and pointed down below to a flat. Looking down, my heart jumped and that wonderful sickening feeling filled my stomach. Standing broadside below was a moose and, from the looks of things, he was big. I questioned Brent with a hand gesture; he responded by placing his hands above his head to mimic a large set of horns. Slowly, I slipped from the saddle, tied up the horse, and removed my rifle. Sneaking up to Brent, he answered my unasked question by confirming that it was the big one he had seen during his last trip. When asked if we should take him, Brent’s only response was, “location, location, location.” With a knowing nod, I handed him my video camera and began sneaking down toward the flat in search of a clear shot. Looking over my shoulder, I saw that Brent was ready with the camera. Positioning


my crosshairs on the broadside moose, I carefully squeezed off the shot. Crack! My reward: confusion. No sound of the bullet striking, no puff of hair behind the shoulder… the moose’s only reaction was to turn and show me his other side. Quickly, I jacked another round into the chamber, aimed, and fired. This time, no reaction at all. The moose just stood there looking off into the trees. Turning to Brent, I saw that his face mirrored my confusion. Jacking in another shell as he crept down to my location, I once again took aim. At Brent’s calm suggestion, I decided to wait and we watched as the moose began to sway back and forth ever so slightly. As the seconds ticked by, my excitement grew. I believed both shots had struck true. Finally, with a stagger to the side, the moose crumpled to the ground. With a deep sigh relieving the built up tension, I turned to Brent as he congratulated me on my first moose. After a grumble about having to resaddle the packhorses, Brent hoofed it back up the trail to the cabin, and returned with our baggage carriers. As we approached, I caught my first real look at the antlers. It was by far the biggest moose I had seen within the area. I lifted its head, struggling under the weight. Amazed at the size, I held the rack as Brent took out his tape measure. Congratulating me again, he informed me that I had just taken a 48 inch Shiras moose. After a healthy amount of pulling and rolling, we positioned the moose as best we could, took our photos, and soon after had the animal butchered and packed onto the horses. Later, after finishing a good meal and sitting back with a glass of rye, we both recounted the day’s events and were amazed that it was not yet bedtime. Wondering how we would ever manage to top the first day, I reminded myself that, up here, anything was possible. That is the reason I have returned so often. Smiling to myself, I told Brent that, from my prospective, moose hunting was a piece of cake. His only response was, “location, location, location.” Several days later, with already-sore feet and snow blowing in my face, I stood gazing at the 200 yard snow-covered boulder field we had to climb and asked myself for the hundredth time how I had let Brent talk me into this. Yesterday, having spotted a nice goat up around 6,500 feet, we decided to climb up to the snow-packed ridge, which we could follow along the skyline for about a mile to reach a good location to glass for the goats and, with any luck, get a shot. The day started out nice enough, but up there READ MORE ON PAGE 28

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and finally agreed he was a legal four point. Though small for this area, he was a decent buck by Washington standards. After much consideration, I decided to take him and set up for the 250 yard shot. Watching in the scope, I waited for him to turn broadside and, as he came to a stop, I pulled the trigger. The immediate reaction was the tell-tale humping of his back that indicated a solid shot. Watching as the deer continued forward and uphill, we were all a bit amazed that he hadn’t fallen yet. At about 270 yards, I decided it was time to put him down before he got too far away. The second shot, right on target, dropped him in his tracks.

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the wind was bitter, the snow deep, and the skies were beginning to cloud. Struggling through the thigh-deep snow just below the north side of the ridge, I felt thankful for the good pair of crampons Brent had me buy a few years earlier. We worked our way forward until we were finally within sight of where we had last seen the goats. Through stinging snow and stiff winds, we glassed the rocky crags and cliffs in search of the elusive mountain dwellers. Closer to dark, we finally decided it was time to head down. Knowing that we had to descend some 2,000 feet and then hike a mile or two back to the horses, we began to make our way through the timber to the horse trail below. Slipping and sliding, I scuttled through the old growth with thoughts of a warm fire, hot food, and another glass of rye foremost in my head. Hours later, after dark, we rode into camp and began the nightly ritual of feeding the horses, stoking up the fire, and settling down for a relaxing dinner. The next day Fred and Colin rode into camp to join us, bringing our total to three guides and one hunter—lucky me!

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With their aid, camp life became much easier, though the extra eyes didn’t seem to help as we still couldn’t find any deer. For several days, our only entertainment was good companionship, watching the moose wandering the open slopes, and glassing for goats scampering along the upper cliffs. Enticing as they were, the goats just weren’t low enough to motivate me for another climb. And, truth be told, I was still a bit sore from the last one. On the final day, with the pressure to find a deer mounting, we once again set out west along a creek. This day, however, Brent decided to go a bit further so we could take a peek into another craggy basin. Having left the horses a quarter mile back, we finally strode into the field below the basin and Brent, Fred, Colin, and I immediately set to glassing for goats. Soon enough, we spotted several and noted that one was a very nice billy. Watching them bed beneath the trees on an outcropping, we began to discuss the route to a possible shooting location. At this time, Brent refocused our attention to the mule deer that had just stepped from the timber into the slide. Setting up our scopes, we watched the deer for several long minutes

As Fred and Colin went to retrieve the horses, Brent and I climbed up to the deer. Though it was not a typical trophy, being a small 4X3 with one broken tine, I was extremely happy to harvest another mountain mule deer. As we dragged him back to the trail where we would meet Fred and Colin with the horses, we discussed the goats above. Noting that the big billy had moved lower, we decided to press our luck and began making plans for the climb. As we reached the horses, Brent and the others quickly set to butchering and packing the deer as I began collecting the gear necessary for the climb. With about four hours of daylight left, Brent and I strapped on our crampons and headed up. Taking a route through the timber behind a ridge to the east of the goats, we trudged up the slopes. Clearing the timber, we entered a bare steep section just below the rocks. Scrambling and climbing up this snow-covered, frozen ground, I was once again thankful for my crampons—without them, the climb would have been impossible. Reaching the rocks, we began to work our way through the clefts, always seeking an upward route, never loosing elevation. Inching along ledges and crawling up the broken shale, we stopped only long enough to assess our progress and check the location of the goats. Finally, after an hour and a half climb, we set up our spotting scopes just 200 yards from the goats. With an excellent view from a ledge beneath a rocky overhang, we spotted eight of them clustered on the sparselytreed slope just above a sheer cliff. After a


few minutes of searching, the big goat we had watched from below finally wandered out from behind a tree. Brent confirmed my suspicions: it was the biggest goat we had ever spotted together. He added that there was a good chance he would make the record books. Watching the trophy through my scope, I agonized over the decision. Time was running out and it looked like we definitely wouldn’t make it off the mountain until after dark. I noted that once the goat was taken, we would still have to circle around through the cliffs and come down the slope to access it, and that was if he fell where he stood. Several long minutes later, I turned to Brent, and we began to discuss the options. As always, Brent assured me that coming out after dark was not an issue. Having done it several times before with him, I was comfortable with that, however, I just didn’t like the billy’s location and neither did Brent. Standing just a few short yards above a vertical cliff, it seemed to both of us that

even if I dropped the goat with the first shot, it would almost assuredly tumble downhill and off the cliff. More likely, as we both knew, if the goat didn’t drop, he would head for the cliff on his own and pitch himself over the edge as my nanny had done two years earlier. At this point there was nothing more to discuss, and the decision was all mine. Returning to Brent’s scope, I watched the big billy wandering between the trees. Having a smaller 6 inch billy just below him didn’t help because it clarified just how big our target really was. Looking back and forth between the billy and the cliffs below, I recalled my past goat hunts in which I had taken a nice billy and nanny, both of which had fallen from extreme heights, but, with remarkable luck, they had come through the ordeal surprisingly well. Knowing I had these two trophies, I began to wonder if it was worth the risk of ruining such a fine animal should he fall. Finally, making my decision, I turned to Brent, and told him I would pass. Though he was a bit surprised,

I know he understood. And with that, we packed up our gear, said goodbye to the goats, and headed back down to the horses. The following morning, with packhorses straining under the load of our success, we rode east along the creek, plodding our way back to the cabins at Whitetail Lake and the lives we had left behind. With the successes, excitement and, most importantly, the steadfast friendships foremost in my mind, I marveled at how blessed I truly was. Recalling the unrestrained excitement of my first hunt with A/Z Outfitters, I began to realize that this fifth hunt had held even more excitement and, unlike many things in life, it became clear that hunting the Purcell Wilderness with Brent would never lose its luster. Content with this realization, I followed Brent as he led us back home. EDITOR’S NOTE You can reach A Bar Z Outfitters at (250) 342-3935 or www.abarzoutfitters.com

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Baldy Mountain Outfitters PO BOX 42, WARDNER BC

GUIDED HUNTS FOR:

ELK • GRIZZLY • BLACK BEAR • DEER • MOOSE BIGHORN SHEEP • MOUNTAIN GOAT • COUGAR • WOLF HARRY LEUENBERGER Licensed Outfitter

Phone/Fax: 250-429-3985 email: info@baldymountain.com

www.baldymountain.com

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Want to see yourself in Guides Gallery?

Submit your photos to admin@goabc.org with the outfitterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name and the species, score, and harvested date of your animal. 34 < Mountain Hunter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Convention Issue 2013


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A LUCKY DAY IN OCTOBER by Ridr Knowlton

T

he rams were at the bottom of the canyon and a half mile away. I fine-tuned the scope and counted again: seven rams, and four were legal. It was early October in 2012, and I was hunting the Fraser Canyon in southern British Columbia with Bruce Ambler of Amblerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bighorn Country Guiding. In addition to sheep, Bruce guides mule deer, moose, bear and mountain lion hunts. His hunting lodge is a work of art, complete with hand-felled timbers. Bruce is an honest, talented and hardworking guide outfitter. I had seen the canyon before. In October of 2011 I arrived early for a hunt and spent a few days helping Bruce and his hunter, a great guy from Florida named Tom Taylor, get a nice ram from the canyon. A sheep hunt is a sheep hunt, even if you are just tagging along. Once Tom got his ram, Bruce and I covered the snowy Shulaps Range, finding plenty of young sheep, but the older rams had not shown up yet. Now, a year later, I was back in the canyon, and this time I was the hunter with the tag. Bruce and I found several younger rams, along with ewes and lambs along the upper ridge. There was nothing mature. Glassing further down the canyon, we spotted three rams, but they were also young and not what we were looking for. We moved further down, glassing the full length of the canyon, and caught the giveaway reflective light rumps. Seven rams. Four were legal, and two were the real deal. We watched the sheep until we could be sure of their course, then backed out. We spent the next several hours working around the rim, closer to the band of rams. The canyon walls were steep and loose, making each step count. It was impossible to not start minor rock slides, which conjured images of spooked

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sheep. We finally got above where we had spotted the rams. There were no sheep. We backed off again, working further around the rim and eventually climbed to an awkward ledge that offered a better glassing angle. The afternoon shadows were crossing the canyon when we finally spotted two rams working up the canyon wall. More rams appeared and it was evident that Bruce’s plan had worked. All seven rams eventually made their way into view.

glassing, it became apparent that the sheep had already moved. Once again, we backed away and decided to move closer to where we had left the sheep the night before. With the morning sun behind us, we worked carefully along the wall, finally spotting the sheep. As we had thought, they had moved early. For the moment, we were in a safe place to glass, so we made new mental notes to identify each ram and watched them as they climbed higher, up and over the rim.

The light was poor, my rest even worse, so I stuck the edge of my boots into the loose rock and settled in. With all the rams in view and the loose rock making any form of retreat impossible, we knew we would be putting them to bed. We spent the remaining daylight judging and comparing rams. Two of the seven clearly stood out; one had good mass and length, with both tips flaring. The other was broomed, appeared older and had the heavier mass to show for it. We would target the older ram. The seven split into smaller groups, all working up the canyon walls independently. We marked each sheep as the light disappeared, and only after darkness did we begin our retreat, feeling around for each step in the dark.

With the sheep out of sight and the wind as friendly as it gets out west, we made our aggressive move, climbing below the inside edge of the canyon wall and made our way across. Suddenly, Bruce stopped: a ram was standing on the rim and had us pinned down at 90 yards. We did not budge. We had good wind and the rising sun behind us placed us on the dark side of the canyon, so the sheep was not spooked. We were trying to settle in ourselves, sending as few stones down the canyon wall as possible, when the entire band of seven rams worked their way back up to the rim. We were stuck.

Our plan the next day was set, and at first light we began climbing steep rock south of where the sheep had bedded. As we cleared the top and began

Bruce was in front of me, leaning into the wall, and I was balancing on my heels, hanging onto a small bush. All we could do was wait them out and let the entire group settle down. The favorable sun and wind did their trick, and eventually all seven rams focused

on other things. At 90 yards, the big ram clearly stood out. Finally, he took a few steps to one side, facing us directly. Our only shot was off Bruce’s shoulder. He covered his ears as I took the shot. One of two things could have happened then. The ram could have leapt forward, over the canyon edge, falling several hundred feet. That would’ve required retrieval by rope. Instead, the stars aligned and the ram fell over backwards, rolling down the more gradual upper canyon slope. Boy, were we lucky! The other six stayed on the rim for several minutes, not sure of where the sound had come from and unable to see us in the shadows. The band finally went down over the steep edge and easily managed the rock fall as they descended, offering us a dramatic view as we watched from above. It was time to go look at our ram, or at least I thought it was time. I humbly had to tell Bruce that my leg had gone numb hanging onto that rock wall, and I literally could not move. When that happens turkey hunting back home in Georgia, the fall is a few feet—not a few hundred feet—so we waited for my leg to regain feeling before moving on. He was a good ram. He had character in both body and horn, with an arched Roman nose and mass that carried further than we CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

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EDITOR’S NOTE You can reach Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding at (250) 459-2367 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43

thought. He was broomed on both sides, with lengths of 33 1/8 and 32 3/8 respectively. Bases were equal at 15 inches, with only ½ inch of mass lost on the second quarter, gross green scoring 166 3/8. Bruce and I were lucky to get that shot without spooking the rams. But for all those days I’ve spent fogged in or caught in bad weather on other mountains, I will take luck whenever I can get it! After packing out the ram, we had a few hours of daylight left and Bruce thought we still had enough time to call for a bull moose in the nearby Marble Range. With a rolled up Pennysaver as our call, we packed a few horses and found a great looking valley up in the Marbles. The surrounding white mountains make it feel later in the season, until you remember you are looking at reflective white rock, not snow—hence the name of the range. We secured the horses and hiked a nearby hill, offering a good vantage for calling the entire valley. It took only ten minutes to see our first bull. He was a good bull, and he came running to the call from over 500 yards away. We thought he would eventually

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cross a large marshy area below us, so we quickly repositioned lower on the hill for a better shot. As we settled in against a small spruce, a second bull appeared below us. He was also a good bull, but did not provide a clean shot. The first bull continued to approach, but came in behind thick tree cover. We now had two good bulls within 50 yards, and knew one of them would eventually work out across the marsh, so we waited. Suddenly, two more bulls responded with grunts to our right. Both were young, and one began to climb our hill, looking for the source of the call. He finally stopped, staring at us only 15 yards away. It was quite a scene: two mature bulls hugging the hill below us, a young challenger wanting no part of the bigger bulls, and a fourth young and energetic moose trying to outsmart the other three, only to find an odd-shaped spruce tree, but no cow. Our new neighbor lost interest after ten minutes and, as the light faded, the two young moose retreated. The larger of the two mature bulls then began to slowly move across the open marshy plain. Light

was fading fast when he finally provided a 250 yard shot. After a second closing shot, we had our 43” bull moose down, only hours after taking that great ram. It was quite a day, and then the real work began. By the time we finished cleaning the moose it was pitch dark, and we rode silently back to camp, trusting the night vision and instincts of our horses. We left the moose to cool that night, and the following morning found us loading three additional horses to help haul the meat out. Not surprisingly, the gut pile had been dragged a hundred yards away, and, as we began processing the bull, we kept a steady look out for others that may have been interested in a meal. Bruce was careful to keep every piece of the moose possible. Late that afternoon, we finally finished packing all the meat, hide and antlers, so we loaded the horse train and headed back to the road. Bruce and I spent the next few days enjoying a scouting trip back up to the Shulaps, where we had hunted the year before. No real hunting this time, just enjoying the beautiful ranges of central BC. We talked about the other hunts we’d like to do someday, but mostly we just talked and relived the lucky day we just had.


LTD.

BEARCAT OUTFITTERS Let the adventure begin!

High-Quality Hunts For: Shiras moose mule deer whitetail deer black bear cougar lynx bobcat

Neil Findlay Tel: 250.377.4272 info@bearcatoutfitters.com www.bearcatoutfitters.com

I authorize you to proceed with printing with changes indicated as shown

Please send an email approval or any changes to Jennifer Johnson (info@goabc.org) and Sherri King (sherri@redapplecreative.com)

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AN EPIC ADVENTURE

O

ur moose hunt of 2012 was an epic adventure that could well be described as the hunt of a lifetime. I say “our” because I was accompanied by my friend Mark, son of a late boyhood schoolmate, who is far more than a proxy son to me. He is a man of like mind and spirit with whom I can spend minutes, hours, days or weeks, and always perceive our time together as beneficial in a myriad of ways. Our 30 years age difference matters not. After an overnight stay at the Hudson Bay Lodge, in Smithers, BC, we were spirited off to Tyee Lake, where we boarded a float plane. It was a De Havilland Turbo Otter, with an up-to-date instrument and radio package, complete with a GPS, and seemed to be especially well maintained. I rode in the right hand front seat when we took off. Weather conditions were OK, with more

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by Capt. R. Claude (Frenchy) Corbeille, USN (Ret.)

clouds around than I like, but we were doing well enough.

was truly a magnificent setting; pristine only begins to describe it.

As we got within 27 miles of our destination (I was monitoring the GPS), the cloud layers became more extensive and forward progress, under visual flight rules, could no longer be accomplished. We had no choice but to turn around and go back to Tyee Lake.

The camp consisted of a main cabin where we would take all of our meals and where the outfitter and his wife would reside, a smaller cabin for Mark and me, and another similar one for the other two hunters in our group, both from Michigan. A third cabin housed the guides and then there was a laundry/shower house. There was no electricity. The staff were not there when we arrived and the Otter departed to haul them in from a lake about 20 miles away.

We spent two more nights back at our hotel, and on October 2, once again boarded the Otter and took off. This time cloud cover was minimal and at 10:28 a.m. we splashed down on Tatlatui Lake, in the heart of the provincial park of that name. The aircraft altimeter read 4,120 feet when we watered (can’t say we landed) and the upper reaches of the tree line on the surrounding mountains were only 1,000 feet higher. It

We rigged the pipes for our wood-burning stove and unpacked most of our gear while awaiting arrival of the outfitter and his wife. I had spoken with both of them by phone and exchanged e-mail missives, but


PHOTOs BY BRENDA NELSON

The author, Claude Corbeille, with his tasty trophy.

we had never met. I was mentally groomed to like both of them and that is exactly how it all turned out. When they arrived an hour later, we already had a fire going and the cabin was warming nicely. There is a rule in British Columbia that says no one may hunt within six hours of flying, so we had a forced grounding, time spent getting acquainted and stowing gear. The outfitters brought their 4-yearold granddaughter, Taylor, with them and she proved to be a source of much comic relief and genuine entertainment. Consider, if you will, a 4-year-old who has been housed in hunting camps since mid-July, with no outside source of artificial entertainment such as Nintendo games or TV, and who was never heard to whimper or whine about anything. I have one really good tale to relate about Taylor, but that is

further along. The clock could not be stopped and eventually six hours did pass and we hunters embarked in two different power boats to go patrol portions of the lake, which is more than 12 miles long, and probably has 35 miles of shoreline if one could lay it out in a line. The Michigan hunters were Keith, age 65, and Fred, age 71. Their guide was the outfitter, Ron, a man just past 60. Our guide was Kelly, age 54, and vertically impaired like me. My legs are barely long enough to reach the ground and I dislike trying to keep up with some young squirt who stands about 6 feet four inches and covers most of that dimension with every stride. Ron had a young packer, Austin, who doubled as assistant guide and camp handyman.

Our first outing, which lasted until darkness shut us down at 7:30 p.m., resulted in no moose sightings, but the other hunters did see a moose cow and a calf. Supper was served upon our return and that mealtime constituted a great platform for becoming acquainted. Plans were laid for the next day hunt and we were advised that we should not appear at the cook house until 6:30 a.m., when coffee would be served. Wednesday morning, October 3, as soon as it was light enough to see, we were embarked in a boat and patrolling the lakeshore, looking for moose both at the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge and in the clear areas well above the lake. Kelly inspired me with confidence early on when he spotted a young bull in a small clearing above the CONTINUED ON PAGE 50 Mountain Hunter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Convention Issue 2013

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51” antlers. rtner, Mark, with his Claude’s hunting pa

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lake. On my own, I believe I would have missed seeing that one. It was a diminutive creature, probably 1 ½ years old, and no one was inclined to shoot him. Then Mark spotted a cow, calf, bull trio and we ventured closer for a better look. That bull was kind of handsome critter, but only a 2 ½ year old, and marginally desirable. We elected to leave him be. There were no more sightings and at 10:00 a.m. we mustered around the breakfast table as previously agreed. The middle of the day was a largely unproductive time and was spent loafing about, except by Brenda, Ron’s wife and gourmet cook who prepared a lunch for us. Kelly and Mark and I hunted again from about 2:30 p.m. until dark, with no sightings. The other crew did better and Ron was able to convince a large bull that he, Ron, was indeed an amorous cow, and the bull trundled down off the mountainside to a rendezvous with some bullets from Keith’s rifle. It took more than an hour of moose calling to get the big fellow down near the lake and it was getting on to dark by

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the time he was eviscerated, so a decision was made to leave him until morning and then quarter and transport him back to the camp. The morning of October 4, when Ron and his hunters set off to retrieve the moose, they took Taylor along, because she wanted to watch the show. I told Kelly that we should go back to where the family trio was spotted yesterday for another look at that young bull. With only Barbara and me to gnaw on it, even a small moose can last a good long time, and I was having second thoughts about passing up a nice young critter. We spotted the cow and calf quickly enough, but there was no bull with them. Then Kelly spotted an antlered moose in among some trees not far away and we motored quietly closer. We believed that it was the same little guy we had seen the day before and I was happy with the prospect of bringing home a nice young moose. My first shot, from a slightly rocking boat, did not go exactly where I intended. That turned out to be a blessing, because the moose had swapped ends on us and I was

shooting at the stern section instead of the boiler room. The rocking boat sent the shot high, into the spine, which put the beast down. A coup de gras into the neck was required to finish the job. And then we discovered that sometime during the previous 24 hours, the young bull had been run off by a bigger bull, and my tender little 2½ year old turned out to be less than tender 4½, maybe 5 ½ years old. I have no way of knowing for sure just how old he was, but I do know with absolute certainty that the steaks need to be tenderized prior to cooking. The taste is superb, however, and we look forward with alacrity to many great moose burgers. Our freezer is filled to its scuppers! Back to the hunt—with the moose down and dead, I advised Kelly that if we could lash a hind leg to a nearby balsam fir, I could go about the field dressing and he and Mark could continue to hunt, since it was still very early and we were in prime time for moose hunting. With some apparent reluctance, Kelly relinquished this task to me and he and Mark left while I set to work, with my loaded rifle close at


hand. We were in grizzly bear country and I was not inclined to come out second best in a face off with a bear. I was well into the task after an hour had passed and then I saw my partners returning. They had seen a grizzly bear less than a half mile away and decided that it would be best if we quartered the moose and hauled it back to camp. That is what we did, arriving back just about in time for breakfast. While we were engrossed in the recovery and stowage of my moose, the most comical and entertaining scenario imaginable was unfolding across the lake, where Austin, Ron, Keith and Fred, under the watchful eye of Taylor, were recovering Keith’s moose. Once all the moose quarters and loins were loaded in the boat, there was insufficient room for all the people, so Ron and Austin went back to camp with the meat, leaving Keith, Fred, and Taylor to amuse themselves while they awaited the return of the boat. Fred told Taylor that her grandpa was coming, and when that elicited no response he looked over at her.

She was lying on her side with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, and her feet were twitching. Fred scooped her up, thrust her into Keith’s arms and said, “Do something!” Keith pinched her nose and blew into her mouth, expanding her lungs. Then Fred compressed her lungs, and Keith repeated the procedure. When Fred went to push on her again, Keith noted that Taylor had a big grin on her face! It was then they realized that they had been had by a 4-year-old doing her ‘dead cat routine.’ I gleaned from conversations that Grandma admonished Taylor to some degree for pulling such a cruel prank on those two old guys. As near as I could tell, everybody else thought it was funny as all get out. When we asked how in the world Taylor ever came up with the idea to do a joke like that, Brenda indicated that the apple doesn’t fall far from the Grandfather tree. We were two for four on the moose count with 6 days left on the hunt. Fred preferred to harvest a smaller bull, but Mark wanted a big one. In fact, Mark said he would go

home empty rather than shoot a younger animal. It would be the morning of October 8 before Fred would connect and the afternoon of that day when Mark would hit pay dirt. Canada’s Thanksgiving Day was October 8 and it seemed a fitting day to round out our moose harvest. There was a good deal of steam fog, or sea smoke, rising from the lake as we made our way home toward breakfast, but one column of vapor looked more like smoke than fog. It turned out that it was smoke, from a fire kindled to alert us. When Fred shot his moose, everybody abandoned ship and no one put a mooring line ashore. While all the celebratory handshaking and backslapping was going on, the boat set off on its own toward the middle of the lake. With the smoke column as a homing beacon, we spotted the empty boat adrift in the lake, and when the binocular disclosed a quartet of hunters on the beach, we readily deduced what action was required. That little episode was not allowed to pass without a good deal of ribbing. We all gathered for breakfast and later for

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lunch, and then Mark, Kelly, and I set off once more on a quest to find a moose that satisfied Mark’s specifications. With about two hours of daylight left, Kelly spotted a really large bull in a small clearing high above the lake. A cow was in the same locale. The spotting scope disclosed that this bull was everything Mark was hoping for in a trophy and Kelly tried to induce the big guy to come down from his lofty perch to our level. I watched through my 10X32 binocular for some reaction from the bull when Kelly talked to him, but the only reaction noted was that he sidled up closer to the cow. It became apparent that if Mark wanted this one, he was going to have to climb a portion of a mountain to get to him. Kelly and Mark grounded the boat on the beach nearest the point of ascent and I climbed a high knoll that afforded a view of the moose. A second bull of lesser stature was ambling around about 100 yards above the behemoth and his intended bride, making it ever more certain that the big guy was not about to respond to any calling. As soon as Mark and Kelly began their ascent I lost sight of them, but I continued to focus my attention on the three moose. The second bull was no fledgling; he just was not quite as big as the other one. After some time, the cow started ambling slowly and diagonally up the hill, and the big bull followed in her wake. They moved about 60 yards up the mountainside and then turned into a copse of balsam fir where they disappeared from sight. I deduced that they must have heard the hunters coming up the hill and decided to secrete themselves in some good cover. I experienced a demoralizing moment, believing that we had lost that round and maybe the whole ball game. Then a remarkable turn of fortune occurred when the smaller bull decided to venture into the same copse of fir trees, where he too quickly disappeared. For a brief moment, I could see no moose and no hunters, so had no way to signal my partners as to what had happened.

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Suddenly the smaller bull came out of the trees and into the clear area, walking rather briskly. The larger bull soon followed, keeping pace with the smaller one. He contoured his way across the clear area, then stopped to dig his huge antlers into some brush, which he then thrust skyward, with the younger bull looking on. This went on for perhaps a minute when the smaller bull vacated the area and was not seen again. Then the big guy started back toward the fir trees. Thoughts raced through my mind, like “This is your best chance, Mark. Shoot him now!” I was viewing through my binoculars the entire time, and I saw the bull suddenly lurch, and then heard the loud report of a high-power rifle. The bull kept walking, slowly and slightly downhill, and then he lurched again, in a more obvious way, prior to a second loud “boom.” I continued to watch as he went nose-first into a large clump of brush where he remained out of sight. My partners hove into view and I signaled that the bull was down and I tried to indicate his location. He was soon located by the hunters, down but not out, and two more shots were administered to finish the job. The sound of the shots had been heard back at camp and Ron, Keith, and Fred soon appeared coming across the lake in their boat. They saw me up in my catbird seat and came by to pick me up on the way to where Mark and Kelly were. By the time the field-dressing chores were completed, darkness was setting in, so we all went back to a Thanksgiving dinner. It was a jubilant time, with everyone in a celebratory mood, both from the large measure of hunting success and from the prospects of getting into the bountiful feast that was set before us. It truly was a day for thanksgiving and we all acknowledged our gratitude for our many blessings prior to digging into the sumptuous meal. On October 9, Mark, Kelly, Ron, and Austin set about to retrieve Mark’s trophy and moose meat while Fred, Keith and I wiled away our time idling about camp. Then a radio call came in advising us that the air service wanted to take us out today if we were ready to go, because tomorrow

the weather was going to turn bad and then stay that way for several days. Our idling time turned to quickly packing, and when the boats returned with the men and the moose, they too were advised of the early departure. The plane arrived in the early afternoon and was loaded with all of the moose meat and antlers and Mark and me. The others would await the return flight, tentatively scheduled for right after offloading the first flight. Our flight out was made in virtually clear conditions. The snow-covered peaks of the Cassiars may not be the highest on the continent, but they are impressive nevertheless, and very beautiful. It was with a twinge of sadness that I watched them trail away in our wake, realizing that one of my life’s better adventures was coming to a close. I had banked up many memories that I will treasure always. I am not an advertising agent, but I am compelled to tell you about our host outfitters, Ron Fleming and his wife Brenda, owners of Love Brothers & Lee Outfitters. I am sure there are others out there who would have done as well; I am equally certain that there are none who could do better. It started with equipment that was in tip-top condition, engines that run well, personable and capable staffers, a neat orderly camp and very livable cabins. The food was bounteous in scope and unsurpassed in quality. The only way one could have been disappointed with anything about the hunt would be if he intended to lose some weight while in camp. A tone of camaraderie and good humor was established at the outset and prevailed through to now. I am already laying plans for my next hunt with Ron and Brenda. Taylor will be six by then and I will be alert to what her next antics will be. EDITOR’S NOTE You can reach Love Brothers & Lee at (250) 842-6350 or www.lovebroslee.com


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FROM 59% TO 82% by Pat Garrett

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F

ifty-nine percent. That is what my son Darien’s school average was when I decided to book a mountain caribou and Dall sheep hunt for my dad and myself. Darien spends 5 weeks a year with my dad, his ‘Papa’, running our own outfitting area up in northern Alberta. I called Jim Fink of Blackstone Outfitters and asked if Darien, who was 14 at the time, could come along on the Dall sheep hunt with my dad. Of course he said yes, so I told Darien that if he brought his average up to 80%, he could come to the Yukon with me and his Papa. Well, wouldn’t you know that it he did it: he brought his school average up to 82%! After what seemed like an eternity, the day finally came when we flew to Whitehorse and then into camp for what would be my first mountain caribou and my dad’s first Dall ram ever. We were greeted by the whole Blackstone crew at the airstrip and that night they treated us to a great steak supper. Later in the evening Jim informed me that the guides had found a great mountain caribou a couple days earlier and suggested that I should go find him before going with my dad on his sheep hunt. The next morning Dad and Darien and their guide, Lucas, flew out to go after Dad’s ram and I stayed in camp with my guide, Clint Collins, to

prepare the horses and head up into a valley. Clint had guided for Blackstone for a few years and knew exactly where he liked to go and glass from, so it wasn’t long before we found the big old bull I was after. We had to hike about 2 miles around the mountain and then come over the top of it to get to the big bull. Much to our surprise, when we crested the ridge there were five sets of velvet antlers bedded just a short 50 yards in front of me. I belly crawled as close as I could and the small bull saw me and you know what happened next; yep, there was caribou running everywhere, so I jumped up with my 30–06 and found the biggest bull. Once they ran 100 yards out, I waited for them to stop and dropped the bull in his tracks with one of my 165 grain Hornady bullets. “I got ’em, Clint, I got ’em buddy!” I was ecstatic. Clint came running up and said, “Oh buddy, he’s a good bull! Let’s go see him!” After taking some amazing pictures over top the Blackstone River, we packed the bull up and made it back to camp around 11:00 p.m. and, boy, was I ever sore from that ride! I couldn’t wait to see my son and Dad to tell them about my caribou. That next day was spent caping and taking care of my caribou, and anticipating catching up to Dad and Darien. Jim told me that that Clint and I would be joining them and we would be floating down the Ogilvie River to a range that usually held rams. We loaded up two Zodiacs and 5 people and began our hunt of a lifetime. Sitting with an excited 14 year old boy in a Zodiac for 8 hours is definitely interesting. We made it to our camp that night just in time to set up before the rain came…and rain it did! For 2 days we were socked in and couldn’t hunt. Story after story was told in camp until I finally told my son to get up the mountain and check for rams, just to get him out of camp. An hour later he came back and said, “Dad, there is a white rock out of place or there is a ram across the valley over there.” I took his words with a grain of salt, in one ear and out the other. Day 6 finally brought sun and clear skies, so we quickly packed up and headed up the mountain to see what we could see. My son had CONTINUED ON PAGE 56

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been pondering his “white rock” for a whole day now, so as soon we were high enough to see across the valley, he said, “Dad, it is a ram!” I turned and Darien pointed way up high and across the valley. With the sun shining just so, he was able to identify that it was truly a ram. I quickly pulled out my spotting scope and put it on the ram. Clint and Lucas made the decision to cross the river, and go up to check out the ram while we stayed at camp. They decided that that we would pass on the ram, but what they didn’t know was shortly after they left to check out the ram, we had spotted eight more rams way down the river over on a different range. As a calm, longtime Yukon guide, Clint said, “OK, we’ll just go down, around the corner and catch a ram off the salt lick down there.” Well, wouldn’t you know it, that next morning the river slowly floated us around the corner and, sure enough, way up there in the rocks, there was a big old ram licking salt. It was the same ram we had looked at the day before, so again the scopes came out of our packs. This time we were a lot closer and we were able to identify the ram as being old enough. We decided to make a massive, long stalk through the river willows to get into position for a shot. This made us super excited as we were after the ram Darien had found for his Papa.

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After going in, out, around, down, over, and through a ton of trees with the roaring sound of the river beside us, we were finally in position for a 270 yard broadside shot. Dad set up on the side of a poplar tree and was perfectly steady with his rest. With one shot from his 300, the ram folded and began tumbling down the mountain. “You got ’em, Papa! You got ’em!” I will never forget the excitement in my son’s voice and the look on his Papa’s face when that ram stopped tumbling. Clint and Lucas were the first to get to the ram and we were all able to finally put our hands on it shortly after that. It was a 10½ year old ram, 35x35 with x14 inch bases. We took the next two days to float around and enjoy the beautiful Yukon scenery before heading back to the main road for pickup. It was the best hunt I have ever been on. To have all three generations there to witness my dad’s first ram was unbelievable, especially when it was his grandson who spotted the ram in the first place. I really want to thank Clint, Lucas, the whole Fink family, and all the staff at Blackstone for a once in a lifetime hunt for mountain caribou and Dall sheep…and thank you for putting the “sheep bug” back into Dad.


EDITOR’S NOTE You can reach Blackstone Outfitters at (306) 236-2131 or www.blackstoneoutfitters.com

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PHOTO: LOVE BROS & LEE

Don’t let anyone take a shot or video that you wouldn’t want shown to the entire world.

TAKE PHOTOS TO IMPRESS! Tips and Tricks from Mountain Hunter™ Magazine Put a big smile on your face­—you just had a great experience and took a trophy to be proud of. Tip your hat up­—everyone wants to see your pretty face or at least know who gets the credit. Using a flash will help when there are a lot of high contrast shadows. Get low. Sitting or kneeling behind or beside your animal will put emphasis on your fine trophy. The more natural-looking the pose of your animal the better the pictures will be. Use a rock, rope or stick—even hands—behind the scene to prop up heavy heads or antlers. A spray of water on the eyes will counteract the glassy look. Please show respect for your animal—do not ever sit, lay or lean on it. Bare hands and arms stick out like ‘sore thumbs’ and will show up first in your pictures and detract from those big antlers or horns. Roll down your sleeves and put on your fancy camo gloves—you may get a gear modeling offer! Make sure you keep feet out of sight or least way in the background. Feet out in front will look bigger than anything else in the shot. Animal feet should be tucked under, if

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possible—although moose tend to resist this. Human feet should be sat upon. If you want to show off your new boots, take a separate photo with them. Do move the animal out of the blood pool or cover up any of that red stuff. Take some time to wash off blood—use your water bottles and handi-wipes. With enough time, a computer expert can clean up a lot of the blood, but it’s difficult to do a whole scene. If you leave branches, leaves or even one blade of grass in front of your animal, the viewer’s eyes are going to see that first in the photo, so take a bit of time to clean up the area. Then check through your lens or on the screen for those distractions. Make sure that the background is free of trucks, ATVs, packs and stray cats—remember that anything that doesn’t add to the picture only detracts from it. Don’t include liquor in any photo, ever. Tuck in a dangling tongue or remove it. Carry a little lite fish line or dental floss to tie a mouth shut to take away that dead, loose lip look. Take some really good photos without your rifle in the shot. If you’re sitting beside a wild animal, it’s a good bet that it is dead and that you shot it—a rifle laid on the animal only

detracts from the respect that you are showing. If you’re advertising for ‘Big Game Guns’ get a picture with your firearm in your hand behind the trophy. Be sure to have the photographer kneel, lay down, and move side to side for different angles and views. Be sure there are some vertical shots—you could be the next cover shot for Mountain Hunter™! Today’s digital cameras are wonderful tools, so get lots of pictures taken in every way you can imagine. Don’t erase until you’ve checked them out on your computer screen. There are lots of technical tips on the internet so be sure to check those out before the hunt. DON’T LET ANYONE TAKE A SHOT OR VIDEO THAT YOU WOULDN’T WANT SHOWN TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. These can go viral before the blood dries. Remember we want to show our wonderful way of life in the best possible light. Last, but not least, look at lots of hunting pictures and see the many ways to have super shots for your own album or Guides Gallery! By Brenda Nelson


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DOUBLE SUCC

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CESS! by Kathy Christensen

I

t had been Ed’s dream to go on a mountain goat hunt by the time he was 50 years old. Well, with that approaching, his search began. He spoke with a couple outfitters in British Columbia as he had read different articles on goat hunting in BC and didn’t have any luck drawing a goat tag in the States. The first outfitter Ed spoke with didn’t have any openings for three years. While talking with him, the outfitter had an incoming call and excused his conversation with Ed to take the call; it was a neighboring outfitter, Marty Lightburn. In their brief conversation, he informed Marty of his conversation with Ed. After that, Ed was in contact with Marty of Rocky Mountain High Outfitters. They spoke a couple times regarding a mountain goat hunt and Marty had an opening that same year. Ed contacted many references from Marty and all were positive. That made for an easy decision to book a hunt with Rocky Mountain High Outfitters. Marty was kind and generous in letting me come as a non-hunter to video Ed’s hunt. This all took place in January, which meant we needed to start training for the October hunt. We began walking 3 miles a day, did some weight training, and worked our way up to a half hour on the stair climber as well. We then began carrying a pack and adding weight to our packs. This was our winter training, all outdoors. Once the weather broke we started riding our bikes and got up to 50 to 60 miles a week. We went to our cabin in Montana in September to continue our training in the higher altitude. We began alternating a 2 mile walk with a 2 hour climb, again with packs, adding weight, and eventually we carried shotguns as we could hunt mountain grouse at the time. During this training period in Montana, Ed suffered a stress fracture in his foot. This was diagnosed after seeing a foot specialist in Montana who also had gone mountain goat hunting. He told us of his experience hunting goats and we were fired up. There wasn’t much that could be done for Ed’s foot, except to add padding to his hunting boots. We trained for two weeks in Montana before making the journey to Jaffray, BC. The mountain goat hunt started on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 in Jaffray when we met Carrie and Marty Lightburn at their home. While Ed sighted-in his rifle with another guide, Marty pulled me aside and said his bighorn sheep hunter had filled his tag, so that freed him up for the week to come to the Blackfoot Camp with us. He asked me if I wanted to hunt goat with him as my guide. Wow, what an offer! I told him to run it by Ed and we would discuss it. It wasn’t much of a decision for Ed—he surprised me with an early birthday present: I would be hunting goats as well. This would make Ed and I the only two hunters in camp. Marty, John (our cook) and Boone (Ed’s guide) loaded groceries and gear, and we headed to the trailhead, which was about a 2 hour drive to where the mules and horses were in the corral. We used a wagon drawn by a team of horses to haul our gear and groceries for the eight day hunt. The cook rode in with Ed on mules and I CONTINUED ON PAGE 64 Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013

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rode the wagon with Boone. As we were saddling mules and loading gear at the trailhead, Ed found a medallion in the gravel that read “Saint Christopher Be My Guide,” which he insisted would be carried the rest of his hunting trip. We all made a joke of it, but it was brought out many times during the hunt to prove its value. Boone and I left the trailhead about 2:00 p.m. and arrived at camp about 3:15 p.m. We unloaded the wagon, organized the gear, and got some fires started in our wood heaters as we waited for Ed and John’s 4:00 p.m. arrival. It was a cool, brisk evening, so a warm cabin felt good after dinner. After a great meal of steak, wings and caesar salad, we were off to bed anticipating an early morning for the first day of our hunt. On day two, we were up early for a hearty breakfast. Boone already had our mules saddled and ready to go. We left camp at daybreak and headed for a high vantage point where we could glass mountain ridges for goats. Boone knew of a basin where there were two billies, so we glassed that area throughout the day and moved up

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the mountain to change our view points. Ed spotted a billy on a high slide quite a distance from us, and we watched him as he climbed and bedded, and then disappeared out of sight. Mid-afternoon we spotted a black bear above us, but he stayed his distance. Early evening weather started moving in and we hadn’t spotted the basin billies yet, so we decided to head back to camp just before dark. On day three, we were up bright and early at 5:30 a.m. Marty and Boone had the mules saddled before breakfast. We had time before we left camp at daybreak, about 7:15 a.m., to discuss the day’s plans. The four of us left camp together and rode the mules along a logging road for a distance until it narrowed to a horse trail. This trail narrowed the higher and steeper we went. In the steepest area, we decided to dismount and walk up the steep grade. Once we were through the steep terrain, we mounted and rode on further to a point above two small lakes. Soon Boone spotted a billy high on a rock ledge that was impossible to get to. We tied off our mules in the timber and as we walked out of the trees, Marty and Boone spotted three billies on the skyline. They

were up and over the mountain ridge in no time. We continued to climb the ridge, looked into the basin, and there he was: a billy at the top of the shale slide at the bottom of the rock cliffs. We all dropped our packs in a heartbeat as the guides quickly sized the goat up. They ranged him at about 500 yards. It was an open shot, but very long. Marty, Boone and Ed tried to move closer by crossing a ridge with sparse tamarack. They ranged him again, but he was at 525 yards. Ed readied himself with a stable rest of his pack over a large rock. Shots fired, but there was no reaction from the goat— must’ve been shooting too low at that distance. Adjustments were made and the next shot connected. Ed followed this with another shot and the billy was his. After an emotional few minutes, Marty asked me if I wanted to go to Ed’s goat or to continue on the day with our hunt. Even though we wanted to see Ed’s billy, there was no hesitation to continue the hunt as it was only 9:15 a.m and winter weather was predicted to move in during the next couple of days. Boone and Ed took time for the successful harvest to set in before they retrieved


the goat. The terrain didn’t look too bad until they started to cross the rock slide. There were ravines that they couldn’t cross without going down and around the bottom to make for a safer crossing. After crossing two steep rock ravines, they were able to climb back up to the goat. The billy had fallen to a rock ledge that made for good picture taking, skinning and quartering before filling their packs. Both packs were filled with meat, hide, rifle and excess gear. They had to cross the large rock slide before reaching the mules where they waited for our return, knowing it would be a long day. Marty and I left Boone and Ed, and continued up the shale slide to the ridge top. What a hike! The use of walking sticks made the climb a little easier. Once we reached the ridge top, we glassed down into a spectacular valley and spotted a big billy bedded right below us. We ranged him at 500 yards; he was facing downhill and the wind was in our face. However, there were five elk bedded below us with two mule deer, two bighorn sheep and three more goats nearby. The other goats were out in the open and looking our direction: not offering a stalk, just a very long shot. Marty and I discussed the

situation and we decided we would make a stalk on the billy that was bedded 500 yards below us. The terrain was too steep with shale slides to descend, so we had to move a couple ridges over the skyline, hiking the goat trail on the ridge. Again, the walking sticks made for easier going. We decided to leave some gear there, as we didn’t need all the clothes or the spotting scope we were carrying. Now the goat was out of sight, so we made our descent. We entered the timber, which was a very thick, tangled mess. We went to the edge of the timber a couple of times trying to spot the goat, but couldn’t find him. We continued down and, finally, on our third time to the timber’s edge, there he was: a beautiful billy. Marty said, “There he is!” and handed me the rifle. Marty set up the shooting sticks, but they were too low for a rest. I moved closer to the edge, but two small pine trees were obstructing my view. Two steps to my right was a broken off pine tree that I used for a rest. I had to lock my right knee as it was shaking from our descent through the timber. Marty told me to fire—off went a shot and it was a good solid hit. “Shoot again,” Marty instructed, and off went another shot and the goat went

down. With the steep shale terrain he slid out of sight within seconds. What a joyous moment! It was now 12:05 p.m. We radioed John as we didn’t have contact with Boone and Ed, but knew John could reach them from camp and tell them the good news. Then the work began and we knew it would take us a while before we would get back to the mules. We reloaded the rifle so we were ready if a grizzly were to get near. Grizzlies associate a gunshot with food and since both Ed and I had shot during that day, our awareness was heightened. We had to go down the mountain and then back up to get to the goat, crossing two shale ravines. He had slid at least 200 yards from where I shot him. It took us an hour to get to the goat after I shot. Wow, what a big billy! He was huge! Marty said that it was one of the biggest goats he had ever taken. I said to Marty, “Are you and I are going to pack him out alone?” His response was, “We can do it but, if we have to, we can drop some of the meat and come back for it.” We set our minds to packing the goat out, as neither one of us wanted to have to come back to get the meat. CONTINUED ON PAGE 66 Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013

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Ed’s goat was 5½ years old and measured 9 inches. It was taken with a Remington A-bolt 7 mm mag, 180 grain bullet. My goat was 11½ years old and measured 9½ inches. It was taken with a 338 Remington with 225 trophy bonded bear claw bullets.

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Every move we made, the goat slid further down the shale. After a few pictures, we started the job of skinning and quartering him. By 2:30 p.m., we had our packs filled and now the decision of where we were going to start the uphill climb was in front of us. I knew it was going to be a hard climb, but I knew I could do it with the adrenaline rush, so off we went. Our goal was to get to the ridge were we’d left our gear by 5:00 p.m. We thought it best to go back the same way we had come down. Even though it was hard going down the mountain that way, we knew it was the safest way to climb back up. Marty’s pack held the two hind quarters and the whole hide with head intact, about 100 lbs. My pack was filled with some meat, the rifle, tripod, our binoculars, cameras, excess clothes and my lunch. We crossed several slides and eventually reached the ledge. Once we climbed to the timberline, we were able to get on to a game trail. This was steep, but made for an easier climb as we wouldn’t have to fight through tangled trees and brush. We took many breaks with our full, heavy packs, but kept a steady climb. We reached our gear on the ridge at 4:45 p.m. We took a 15 minute break, regained our composure, found room in and on my pack for the extra gear that we had left behind. Then we took the goat trail down the ridge spine

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of the mountain. Our packs were getting heavier as we went and our legs were getting weaker, but the accomplishment we had just completed made me push even harder. The last part of the hike was down the mountain, but still steep through loose rock and shale. When we crossed the skyline ridge, Boone and Ed could see we were getting closer and once we started our descent, Boone came to meet us and relieved me of my pack. Ed stayed near the mules with his gun to watch for grizzlies as his meat and hide were there. Again, a joyous reunion took place between Ed and I. Two billies harvested the same morning and within three hours of each other! Marty and I were beat. We got the meat and hides packed on two mules, and our packs went on another mule. We led our loaded mules and walked back to camp, taking about an hour as we were four tired hunters. We got back to camp just as the full moon was rising over the mountain range—what a beautiful sight! Once back in camp, we hung our meat and hides in the meat shack. John had dinner ready, so we had a few cocktails and exchanged hunting stories. On day four, Boone was up at 5:00 a.m. tending to the mules and horses, and the weather was still calm. By the time we got up at 6:00 a.m. the ground was white with

snow. It continued to snow throughout the day—actually for the next two days, just as the forecast had predicted. Early in the afternoon, we built a big bonfire as we had to tend to our hides with fleshing and caping. It was a beautiful afternoon with the snow falling and a big warm bonfire. We decided to weather out the snow and stay in camp until Sunday. Now we had a couple days to relax in camp and reflect on the previous four days. Ed’s dream had come true with harvesting a beautiful mountain goat, and for me, with an early birthday present like that, there’s not much else that can top harvesting an 11½ year old billy. We’ve been hunting partners for nearly 30 years and this was the most challenging, exhilarating, and memorable hunt that we have shared. We could not have done it without Marty and Boone’s dedication to us harvesting mountain goats. Thank you to both of you for all the hard work you did to make this happen. As well, thank you to the great camp chef who kept us fueled for each day’s new challenges. Camp could not have been more comfortable and enjoyable as we spent our time with truly wonderful people. EDITOR’S NOTE You can reach Rocky Mountain High Outfitters at (250) 429-3560 or www.rmho.ca


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PHOTO FROM STOCKPHOTO.COM

Camp Cook’s Corner Tomato Baked Trout Ingredients 1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings 1 1/2 lbs trout, about 1/2” thick 7 1/2 oz can tomatoes, cut up 1/8 tsp salt 1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms 2 tbsp olive oil 1/3 cup white wine 1/8 tsp pepper 1 medium tomato, thinkly sliced 2 tbsp fresh parsley

Directions In 9” skillet, stir onion in olive oil and cook over medium heat until tender crisp—about 5 minutes. Set aside. Place fish in a 9x13 baking pan. Layer fish with onion rings and mushrooms. Set aside. In small bowl combine canned tomatoes, wine, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spoon evenly over fish and vegetables. Top with tomato slices. Sprinkle oregano and parsley over tomato. Bake at 350° F oven until fish flakes ealsily at thickest part, approimately 25-30 minutes. More recipes available from our cookbook “Recipes from the Kitchens and Camps of the Guides and Outfitters of BC”. Call or email the GOABC office to purchase your copy. Mountain Hunter – Convention Issue 2013

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - Convention 2013