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Third Time Lucky Bucket list Yukon moose hunt Mackenzie Mountain Combo

Vol. 29 | Issue 1

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APRIL 30, 2018



Safari Club International’s 46th Annual Hunters’ Convention January January 31 31 –– February February 3, 3, 2018 2018 -- Las Las Vegas Vegas Convention Convention Center Center

Join & register today to attend #SCIConvention The Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market™ | ShowSCI.org | 888 746 9724


this issue

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


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

Divine Intervention Bob McCormick

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


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




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


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

Canada - $85 CDN USA - $85 USA International - $125 CDN

All prices include tax.

Michael Schneider Brian Glaicar Mark Werner Sean Olmstead Darwin Cary Colin Niemeyer Michael Young Doug McMann

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

LOCAL PRESIDENTS: AL MADLEY Ken Watson Quintin Thompson Sonny Perkinson Bruce Ambler Marc Hubbard Ken Robins Mike Lewis

Cariboo/Chilcotin North Central (Omineca) Northern (Peace) Northwest (Skeena) Thompson Okanagan Southern (Kootenay) Vancouver Island/South Coast


Executive Director Executive Assistant and Member Services Consumer Marketing Director Senior Editor and Content Quality Oversight

Feature Stories


26 Bucket List Yukon Moose HUnt Craig Merhoff

President Past-President Secretary

(867) 668-4118 Chris McKinnon Dean Sandulak Shawn Wasel

President Past-President Executive Director

Adobe Stock: mikecleggphoto, maestrovideo Depositphotos.com: Irochka, belchonock, taratata, kanuman iStockphoto: Natalia Pushchina 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 PG Web Designs Printed in the United States of America by Forum Communication Printing - Fargo, North Dakota

Mackenzie Mountain Combo Greg Kurdy

52 Third Time Lucky Ken McGregor


GOABC President’s Corner


Conservation MattersTM


News & Views


Artist Feature


Preferred Conservation Partners


Camp Cook’s Corner


From a Legal Perspective


That Some May Follow


Guides Gallery

ADVERTISERS A Bar Z Outfitters..................21

Gana River Outfitters...........39

Okanagan Outfitters.............59

Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding................................57


Opatcho Lake Guide Outfitters..25

Atna Outfiters........................38

Grand Slam Club/Ovis..........19

Packhorse Creek Outfitters...5

Gundahoo River Outfitters...38

Pelly Lake Wilderness Outfitters..............................5

BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters.............................16 HAROLD GRINDE KELLY HOUGEN WERNER ASCHBACHER



Bar WK Ranch & Outfitters...57

(403) 357-8414

Bob McCormick and his Ram

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.....................59

Raven’s Throat Outfitters....45

Hub Insurance......................21

Safari Club International...IFC

K9’s Cougar Canyon Outfitters Inc........................24

Scoop Lake Outfitters............25

Boone & Crockett Club..........45

Kettle River Guides & Outfitters............................20

Sikanni River Outfitters........5

Bugle Basin Outfitters..........17

Krieghoff International.......51

Cariboo Mountain Outfitters..44

Leupold & Stevens...............17

Copper River Outfitters.......44

Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters............................44

Beaverfoot Outfitting.............5 Besa River Outfitters.............25 Bonnet Plume Outfitters......17

Covert Outfitting..................20 Dallas Safari Club.................37 Double Eagle Guides & Outfitters...........................51

McCowans Sporting Properties............................21 McGregor River Outfitters....17

Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters............................39

Mervyn’s Yukon Outfitting...20

Eureka Peak Lodge & Outfitters.............................57

North Curl Outfitters...........58

Fehr Game Outfitters...........38

Nisga’a Guide Outfitting.......24 NWT Outfitters/ Nahanni Butte......................16

Shadow Mountain Outfitters..24 Silent Mountain Outfitters.....21 Sitka Gear.................................50 Sonny’s Guiding Service.........16 South Nahanni Outfitters........51 Sports Afield.............................33 Tuchodi River Outfitters........38 Vancouver Island Guide Outfitters.......................OBC Wild Coast Outfitters............IBC Wild Sheep Foundation..........9 Yukon Big Game Outfitters...39

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |



PRESIDENT’S CORNER This will be my last message under this section, as I will not run for re-election at the upcoming annual general meeting. So I thought I would take this opportunity to review a few accomplishments. When I became president of GOABC I felt very honored and set out to do what was best for membership and the association. I wanted to focus on governance, strategic planning and advocate for unity within our hunting community. With the hard work from our fantastic staff, a very bright facilitator and full participation from the board we were able to develop and implement a new governance system and strategic plan. This was a comprehensive process that took several meetings to complete. In the end, very important documents to provide direction for the association and help future boards were developed. Our new vision is “A province with a strong and stable guide outfitting industry and abundant big game  populations for all to enjoy, both today and in the future.” And our mission is “As passionate advocates for wildlife, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia is the recognized voice of the guide outfitting family. With integrity and professionalism, GOABC promotes the conservation, stewardship and sustainable use of wildlife.” Another goal I had was to reach out, build, rebuild and maintain relationships with other stakeholder groups. The harvest allocation policy was a long painful fight that caused a rift with the resident hunting community and caused many outfitters to leave GOABC. Now that this file is closed, hunters need to start to work together again. I believe that the sum is stronger than its parts. I was pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the BC Wildlife Federation’s AGM in April. The BC Wildlife Federation, BC Trappers Association, Wild Sheep Society and the Wildlife Stewardship Council all agreed to work together to grow more wildlife. We also have a GOABC liaison with the Tahltan Guide and Outfitters Association. Having united positions for the outfitting community and the larger hunting community are critical to our future success.


Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

photo courtesy of Sabrina D Bloch

Michael Schneider, President, GOABC

When we are fighting amongst ourselves decisions get made that hurt our businesses. The clear example of this was with the closure of the grizzly bear hunt. Government made this decision based on biased polling and a fractured hunting community. This is a move from conservation to preservation and a significant blow to the conservation model that has been used in North America for the last 100 years. There are many places around the world where there are examples of how such decisions hurt a species. Let’s hope government and those that lobbied for this will value the great bear. We need to learn from this and be more united as a hunting community. Lets make sure we put “Wildlife First.” Michael

Wildlife First




Scott Ellis, Executive Director, GOABC, with daughters Sydney and Samantha

Do you remember The Lion King movie? It was released more are very detrimental to hunting and all hunters. Often it takes than two decades ago. My daughters watched it hundreds of a crisis to start a reaction…well we have a crisis. times and I can still remember the song - hakuna matata (it We also have a future “King of Conservation” – a modern day means no worries). Well, we have much to worry about! Simba. Johnny Morris invited the leaders in conservation from On August 14 the New Democratic Party (NDP) announced across North America for the opening and special evening they would “end the grizzly bear trophy hunt” in British for conservation. September 21, 2017 was the opening of the Columbia. What this means is a complete closure in the Great Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Bear Rainforest (GBR) that was previously 50% closed to Springfield, Missouri. Johnny Morris truly created a conservation hunting. The GBR is approximately 64,000 km2 (roughly the destination with his museum and aquarium. Located beside size of West Virginia) where 9 bears per year were harvested. the Bass Pro Shop headquarters, this tribute to fish and wildlife For the balance of the province, the proposed regulation is is truly amazing. “Wonders of Wildlife celebrates people who meat retrieval and the requirement to leave the head and hide hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.” I urge in the mountains. This is very concerning. you to visit http://www.wondersofwildlife.org/ The NDP agree that this decision is not about science. There are After a tour, we were treated to a concert with some of more than 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia and at the country music’s superstars. This included Tracy Byrd, Chris current harvest rate; hunting is not a threat to the grizzly bear. Janson, Easton Corbin, Craig Morgan, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan. It also included messages from President Jimmy This departure from science-based decisions and the North Carter, President George Bush, and Kevin Costner. Pulling all American Model of Wildlife Conservation…potentially could these people together for conservation was truly remarkable. mean dark times ahead. If difficult wildlife decisions in the Johnny Morris is our “light at the end of the tunnel.” He talked future are going to be based on skewed polls, whims of the about what we have in common – our passion for wildlife – loud minority, or politics we are headed for a time similar to and as a conservation family we must work together to put Scar’s reign. Sadly, wildlife will pay the price. Wildlife First. Conservation is the greatest story never told. Hunters need to understand this is an attack on hunting. Johnny Morris will help us tell the story of conservation to those who do not hunt but care about wildlife. Hunting is The anti-everything groups are united, organized, focused and part of conservation and conservation helps keep wildlife well-funded. How does the hunting world compare? Not very with us. To watch the grand opening and concert visit well, in my opinion. The hunting world fights over allocation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3P9DX2JTY why we hunt, where we hunt, or the weapons we use. Too many hunters rationalize their positions with comments like, I do not hunt in Africa, I hunt for sustenance not for trophy, I do not use dogs, or I do not hunt bears. These passive positions

Straight shooting and safe travels. Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


NEWS & VIEWS It is mid September in the Mackenzie Mountains and for those of us who operate in the far north the 2017 season is in it’s final stages. We had a very early and warm spring followed by an unusually hot and dry summer in this part of the Mackenzie Mountains. The warm weather made for a great crop of big healthy lambs and some great horn growth on sheep, moose and caribou. Hot dry weather makes for tough hunting, but it sounds like most everyone had good success and many hunters returned home with wonderful trophies and many great memories. As is known to happen from time to time in a hunting camp, the conversations this summer quite often turned to “the good old days” and the differences between then and now. As we looked through some of the old photographs that I have from the history book files many of the “younger generation” were especially amazed by some of the equipment in use. Wool clothing was the standard of the day—there were no super lightweight fast drying synthetics. Rain gear, if anyone had any, was certainly not breathable. Leather boots were the norm for clients but they sure did not have a Gortex liner—and no Thinsulate either. Guides seemed to prefer good old rubber boots or possibly moccasins and moccasin rubbers—yes for sheep hunting! I don’t recall seeing any lightweight Thermarest sleeping pads—spruce boughs were in fashion back in the good old days. Oh, and that waterproof down-filled mummy bag was likely just a well-worn wool blanket. Backpacks with no internal frame, no aluminum and no nylon were made of wood and the harness was heavy canvas without any padding. For those of you who can’t remember we called them Trapper Nelsons and they worked remarkably well. Rangefinders, Sat

Harold Grinde, President, Association of Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters

phones, GPS’s, and all the other gadgets we can’t possibly get by without now had not even been imagined back in the good old days. I hope that all of you will get a chance to read “Voices from the Mackenzies” and reminisce about those times past. Harold Grinde - President, AMMO

The essence of the fair chase hunt has remained as it as it has always been...unchanged. Developments in clothing that is warm and weather resistant, lighter tents, sleeping bags, guns, and backpack food have enabled today’s hunter to hunt a little harder, eat better, and stay comfortable. The once timely tasks of getting to and from the hunting grounds are certainly more efficient than 100 years ago. So perhaps many aspects of the hunt have changed? Have hunters changed?

Chris McKinnon, President, Yukon Outfitters Association

One certainty is that with social media, and the global reach of the internet, hunting and all human activities are much more public. Imagery is a very powerful tool in shaping the hearts and minds of people on topics such as hunting. In this there is great risk and opportunity: opportunities for marketing and also, there is great danger of conveying negative messaging of the hunting experience. Collectively as hunters we need to be aware that from a North American perspective hunters are a minority.

We as hunters must understand change. We must be conscious of changing attitudes towards hunting and adapt in a thoughtful way. Standing united with other people who share our deep respect for wild places and wild beasts can help form the discussion of respectful hunting. Future hunting opportunities to share with our kids depend on respectful dialogue about maintaining wild beasts, wild places, and hunting adventures. We must stand together and advance the conversation about why we hunt with people who have not yet had (and may never have) the adventure. Within the YOA our membership remains committed to conservation and a sustainable outfitting heritage. We continue to engage in opportunities that advance this Mission. Good Hunting, on behalf of the Yukon Outfitters Association we look forward to hosting you!

Chris McKinnon - President, YOA


Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


unaffected by the consequences to the

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as province’s wildlife and eco system, it its new Executive Director. In 1624 the English poet John Donne was, and is, simply a political maneuver. wrote, “no man is an island, entire of A Certified Wildlife Biologist®, Mason As a result of this unsubstantiated policy itself…” to describe how human actions was Regional Director of Texas Parks there is no doubt that, if maintained affect everyone. Nowhere is this truer and Wildlife in Region 3 since 2012, for any period of time, there will be a than in the fraternity of hunters. When where he had oversight of 59 staff definite negative effect on rural human the current government of British and 21 wildlife management areas. populations, the province’s eco system Columbia announced closure of grizzly He began his career with Texas Parks and the bears themselves. bear hunting in the province, the effect and Wildlife in 2001, and has served in was felt throughout the hunting world. For these reasons, and for sound various parts of Texas in different roles. Safari Club International

SCI President Paul Babaz immediately stated our position in a letter to the province’s Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development: “We at Safari Club International are deeply troubled by the recent announcement of the closure of the grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia. We feel that this decision has been based on emotion and not science. Decisions of this magnitude must be made using sound science-based conservation. Emotions must be left out of the equation…” Anyone familiar with the recent elections should not have been surprised. The coalition now in power stated during the campaign their intent to enact the closure. Because it was an emotional appeal to gain votes from urban areas,


sustainable use conservation, Safari

His duties have required him to interact


with the public and outdoor media





contacted the Minister directly, but also

professionals, legislators, universities, has requested that our membership private landowners, as well as federal, of over 50,000 hunters who travel state and regional agencies. do the same. During this ill-advised emotionally




closure, SCI and SCI Canada will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the men and women who make up the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia. - John Boretsky, SCI

With a Master’s in Science and Wildlife Management, he has published peerreviewed





ranging from wetlands management to dove population studies. Mason is the current president of the Texas chapter of the Wildlife Society, and has been a member since 1996, and of the national Wildlife Society since 1998.

Dallas Safari Club DSC Hires New Executive Director

For a time, Corey guided hunts in Texas and New Mexico for elk, mule deer,

As part of its mission to advance aoudad, turkey and quail. His hunting conservation through hunting, outdoor has taken him to the western U.S., education and hunter advocacy, DSC Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Africa, New has hired Corey Mason, formerly of the Zealand, and Australia.

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

DSC President Craig Nyhus said, “We’re

from domestic sheep to wild sheep. For excited to welcome Corey to the DSC decades wild sheep conservationists family. Many in the outdoor industry have been battling the threat of already know him, and we are looking Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (Movi). forward to introducing him and his Working with domestic breeders we are family to our members and exhibitors.” launching a pilot program called “Say NO to Movi.” Jim Tolson, chair of the search committee, said, “We feel that Corey is the right What is “Say NO to Movi”? choice because of his expertise as well The Wild Sheep Society of BC Project as his familiarity with many of the issues committee is working with domestic in conservation, hunter advocacy and breeders and 4-H organizations to policy, and outdoor education. Plus, he is help protect wild sheep from disease. well-known by many of the conservation Education, and separation of domestic partners that DSC already works with.” from wild sheep are two critical paths Mason said, “As a hunter and wildlife that have greatly assisted in progress in this challenge. The ultimate goal biologist, I am very honored and excited is to eradicate movi (Mycoplasma to have been selected. The passion ovipneumoniae) from all sheep both and commitment that DSC shows to domestic and wild. the hunting world is one of the main reasons I accepted. I am eager to get

A number of breeders are willing to

work with wild sheep advocates and have agreed to undertake movi-testing - Karl Evans, DSC programs. Some breeders are making efforts to eradicate movi from their Wild Sheep Foundation domestic flocks – seeking movi free status. The issue is that this comes at a “Say NO to Movi” – Eating Movi off great cost to them financially. the Landscape right to work on the pressing issues.”

The Wild Sheep Society of BC (WSSBC) is Through the “Say NO to Movi” pilot excited to present an exciting program program a breeder selected to participate to help prevent the spread of disease in the program submits to flock movi

disease testing. Movi-infected specimens will be culled with the meat donated to a suitable cause. If chosen to participate under the “Say NO to Movi” program the breeder will qualify for monetary assistance to offset the hardship of losing part of his flock. - Kyle Stelter, WSF Grand Slam Club/OVIS Awards? Do awards benefit outfitters in British Columbia? Do awards benefit GOABC? Do awards benefit the wildlife of BC? Do awards benefit local communities in BC? Do awards benefit conservation? Beginning with our Conservation Partners message in Summer 2016, GSCO has been presenting a message that answers these questions. Our Director, Bruce Tatarchuk, wrote the message for that issue of Mountain Hunter™ at my request. At that point, Bruce had come up with a formula to quantify the financial impacts our milestones (Grand Slam, Ovis and Capra World Slam, Super Ten, Super 25 and Super Slam) have in relation to wildlife conservation. Continued ON page 8

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |



Continued From page 7 What prompted this was our 2016 convention, where Bruce recognized there were a lot of people on stage to receive awards for the abovementioned Slam Quest accomplishments. With his analytical background, he put together a conservative formula of exactly what each hunt would have cost to accomplish those particular milestones. He came up with a figure of nearly $80 million per year (and it is repeated each year).

document only about 20 individuals for

Also, dollars that go into an industry have a multiplication factor. Bruce pointed out in his formula that the economic impact multipliers range from two to six, with three or four being generally accepted as an average. Here is a quote from Bruce’s Summer 2016 column: “Since these funds do

Hunter™, and decide whether you agree

known things are less interesting. There that list. Today, that list is well over 200 are exceptions of course, like the stock … and realize that many have moved market, or what the winning Powerball from the “Super Ten” list to the “Super numbers will be. 25” or “Super Slam” lists. (We do not count an individual twice.) Do you see how this goal is now contributing greatly to conservation? Guess what? A person can take nine of those ten in British Columbia alone! Please see our full-page ad in this issue of Mountain with our message. If you do, JOIN US in the promotion of the fact that “Hunting IS the #1 Conservation Tool.” - Dennis Campbell, Executive Director Boone & Crockett

not go directly to the government, they have an especially high recirculation rate, and impact multipliers on local economies. The reality is that hunting contributions dwarf other funds going to conservation.”

No Guarantees

Is this real? We contend that beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is real. When you apply this to just GOABC Conservation Partners and their awards structures, the number gets much greater. I would like to quote Bruce again to reinforce this fact: “It would be unrealistic, and entirely arrogant, to claim that GSCO is the sole entity stimulating all this conservation funding.” In other words, GSCO recognizes that we are all in this conservation arena together.


In 2017, Super Bowl 51 was the most watched television program in U.S. history (111.5 million). The Las Vegas book makers had every bet angle covered you could imagine. The experts, and



everything dissected down to which players had a hangnail. Yet with all the hype and build-up, no one could predict who would win. When the final whistle blew and the New England Patriots had




There is uncertainty to hunting. For those of us who hunt, it is the “no guarantees” nature of hunting that is one of its most appealing attributes. Another nature of hunting is that we spend more time thinking about going hunting and preparing to go hunting than actually hunting. We’ve all done it. Run scenarios over in our minds; “Will I see a buck? Will I see a big buck? Will I get a good shot? Will I be successful? What will the scene be like back at camp or at home when I return with my prize—or my story?” Whether we think about it much or even admit it, not knowing the outcome is an important part of the hunting tradition; that which keeps us engaged and coming back also fosters a respect for the capabilities of the game we purse, which forces us to develop skills. “No guarantees” is yet another thing that is at the core of a hunting ethic. Taking the easy route or shortcuts might be considered by some to be just stacking the odds in your favor, but success at any price does come with a cost.

We covet what we’ve earned honestly, fair and square. If we lose the nofrom the experts was, “that’s why you guarantees nature of hunting, something play the game.” very special will be lost. At a minimum, Those things where the outcome is if hunting were a sure thing, it would be uncertain are the things that stand hard to still call it hunting. We want to end by giving one small the test of time because they hold our - Keith Balfourd, Director of Marketing example. GSCO introduced the “Super interest. It’s human nature to be drawn to Ten of North American Big Game” such things and keep coming back. Why? in early 2010. At that time, we could Because when the outcome is already


comeback, the resounding response

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018








Divine Intervention My Nahanni Butte, NWT, Sheep Hunt by Bob McCormick


y sheep fever began in 2004 when I drew a once-in-alifetime California Bighorn tag in the Umtanum Area near Selah, Washington. I was able to harvest a sheep and wanted more. I started buying chances in all kinds of draws and raffles and applying for some special tags from other states, but no luck. While on a moose hunt at Copper River with Brett Hall and Jim Lancaster I sat beside Gary Hilcher and we started talking about sheep hunting. He had just returned from the Nahanni Butte area to help in moose camp. He told me that a lot of hunters were able to harvest a sheep in just a few days in that area. My interest picked up and I started thinking that I could do it, so I booked a hunt with Jim Lancaster and Nahanni Butte Outfitters. Continued ON page 12

10 | Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018


Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 | 11

Continued From page 10 There was a potential obstacle to overcome right off the bat. The only opening Jim had was the first hunt starting July 20th. My problem was that even at age 78 I actively farm with hay being my main crop. Sometimes we are still trying to finish haying near the end of July. But this year the weather cooperated and we finished the hay on

12 |

July 11th. Another obstacle was my age,

fires around Williams Lake and Cache but Jim told me his oldest hunter was 84 Creek. I had a colorful trip staying the first night at Blue River and the next so I knew I could do it, too. night at Pink Mountain. After arriving I was able to give myself three days to at camp, moving into a very nice bunk drive to Nahanni Butte, which is about house, and eating a delicious meal we 1,500 miles from my home in Chehalis, flew by helicopter to our spike camp. We WA. Three days was a good thing as saw a few sheep on the flight to camp there was a major detour because of the and a lot of beautiful country.

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

“Before we went to bed a 1½ year old lamb came by to check us out.”

At base camp, there were some mosquitoes – Jim had told me that in the high country there shouldn’t be any mosquitoes. He should have seen them! But that’s hunting. Before we went to bed a 1½ year old lamb came by to check us out. Opening day, we awoke to rain, so we stayed put for a while waiting for it to let up. We left camp around 9:00AM and made it to the top of a mountain by 1:00PM in time for it to rain on us some more. The clouds and fog were covering us, also. The rain finally quit for a while so we moved to another peak. My guide, Don Burt, found us a 3½ year old ram to watch. It was pouring rain again and we had gotten our tarps out to make shelters. After the ram left and the rain stopped, we packed up and moved to another peak. The sky was clearing, the sun was coming out, and the sheep were appearing. There were 5 rams about a mile away in an area we could not get to. Don found another ram right below us that was about 8½ years old. This sheep was easy to identify as it had a black spot on its nose. Just as we were getting into position, a smaller ram got between the bigger ram and us. The sun was just about down and there was no way to finish the stalk, so we backed out and headed back to camp. Camp was a welcome sight about 1:00AM. Dinner consisted of a candy bar, a granola bar, and some water. Continued ON page 14

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 | 13

Continued From page 13 Morning arrived and after a good Mountain House breakfast we packed up for another climb up the mountain. My knees were sore from our first day and we had nine more days to go. I told myself to get tough. Just as Don was finishing his packing we had some divine intervention. The sheep we were stalking the day before came around the corner about 200 yards from camp. We knew it was the same ram by the black spot on its nose. Don still felt he was around 8½ years old, so I asked if he was a shooter. The answer was a quick “yes” so I got ready to shoot. It was a less than perfect rest, but the first shot was a hit. I was a little excited and the second shot was a click – I had not pulled the bolt back far enough and had shoved the old shell back in the chamber. The 3rd shot was a hit. It put him on the ground. The sheep turned out to be 9½ years old. I can never thank Jim Lancaster, Don Burt, and the rest of the crew enough for a great hunt. The meals by Nadine were wonderful and the helicopter flight was wonderful, too.

Editor’s Note: You can reach Nahanni Butte Outfitters at 250-846-5309, or at www.lancasterfamilyhunting.com

14 | Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Helicopter and riverboat backpack hunts in the

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018



Contact: CHRIS & SHARRON McKINNON PO BOX 89 Calling Lake, AB T0G 0K0 (P) 780-331-2440 www.huntbpo.com chris@huntbpo.com


Contact: CHRIS & SHARRON McKINNON PO BOX 89 Calling Lake, AB T0G 0K0 (P) 780-331-2440 www.huntmco.com chris@huntmco.com

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


from a legal


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

The Deceit of Linking Hunting With Poaching Readers of my articles know that words and phrases are used to confuse, deceive and distort thinking. I’ve written about the verbal abuse in the phrase ‘trophy hunting.’ Another example of abuse is the phrase that links semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons, as in “We should have gun control over all semi-automatic and automatic weapons.” Of course, anyone with a brain more developed than a Pet Rock knows that automatic weapons are severely controlled and knows, also, that the two weapons systems are distinctly different. The deceit enables the justifiable concern over unregulated fully automatic weapons to taint the possession of semi-automatic weapons. Another example of verbal or rhetorical deceit that has recently been inflicted on the hunting community is the linking of ‘hunting’ with ‘poaching.’

reputation of law-abiding and conservation-minded hunters, most of whom feel a very personal responsibility toward the protection of wildlife and wilderness.”

Here are the take-away points: the media also makes this nefarious linkage, which, it may be logically deduced, is the consequence of an anti-hunting bias fueled by laziness and or stupidity. The well-funded anti-hunting organizations are, however, neither lazy nor stupid. They are astute. They advance this perverse rhetorical deceit knowing that many people are ignorant about fundamental hunting facts and that few people will be inclined to search out the truth. They With this rhetorical deceit, the anti-hunter not only objects to will believe what they read and they will believe what they the actions of the hunter but also to the hunter’s state of mind, read because it is easier to do so. a state of mind, please understand, that is carefully defined To the extent that the lines between hunting and poaching by the anti-hunter. Please be aware of the dynamics of this are blurred, the hunting community is at fault almost as abuse of words: the intent is to create a poisonous mindset in much as is the anti-hunting attackers. Hunters have the reader or listener that makes it logical to link hunters with killers of animals that act illegally, have no code of honor or ethics, subvert game management and funding and dishonors the animals. Additionally, as stated astutely in the article The Anti-Hunter: Now It’s Personal, http://www.huntfairchase. com/antis/, This “anti-hunter approach is also tailor-made for social media trolls and keyboard terrorists.” Most damaging, as explained in the article, Hunters and Poachers are Not Brothers, http://www.huntfairchase.com/ hunters-and-poachers-are-not-brothers/, this insidious attempt to link hunters and poachers destroys public trust in the hunter and those institutions that support hunting, such as wildlife and conservation, private and government organizations. More destructive, “they tarnish the

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not persuasively made their case that they are morally and legally separate from and superior to the poachers. Hunters must advance ethical hunting at every opportunity, including assailing those that vilely link hunting with poaching.

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Nahanni Butte Outfitters client, Roy Collins from Mississippi with outfitter Jim Lancaster and guide and Roy’s grizzly

Mike Rex of Washington with his archery bull harvested with Bugle Basin Outfitters

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Scott Newland from Texas and his archery Mountain Goat harvested with Covert Outfitting

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Hunter, Ron Poffenberger (MA) with Garrett Patton and Brandon Ponath (guide) and Ron’s big billy harvested with Love Bros & Lee

Guide Mike Muir with Gary Colbath’s archery caribou harvested with Little Dease Ventures

Cody Johnson (Utah), Jeff Terveen (SD), Josh Harris (Utah), and Beau Brown (CA). Happy hunters on the last caribou hunt of the season with Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters.

Ray Pastway from Ontario with his dark stone sheep harvested with Besa River Outfitters

Line Jacobsen from Denmark and her big boar harvested with Chilako Valley Outfitters

Gary Tennison and his Canadian lynx harvested with Opatcho Lake Outfitters

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Bucket List Bucket List YUKON MOOSE HUNT by Craig Merhoff

The hunt would be a spot and stalk hunt...There’d be snow and it would be cold.

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’m a retired general surgeon and a lifelong outdoorsman, born in 1941, with two sons born in the 70s, whom my wife and I raised to engage the outdoors lifestyle.

In February of 2015 I attended the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a great venue and I talked to a lot of outfitters from both the Yukon and from the NW Territories and nearly all were booked two to three years out, but I wanted a hunt that fall. At the Yukon Stone booth I spoke with Aaron Florian who told me that they had a horseback hunt spot available for the last week of moose season if that appealed to me. He explained that at that time the bulls would have their cows gathered and they’d be away from water. The hunt would be a spot and stalk hunt with time spent glassing to locate moose, usually seeing cows first, and then finding the bull followed by a stalk, if he was a good one. There’d be snow and it would be cold. I’d be flown into a camp from which we’d ride out on horses to hunt daily. I began a conditioning program for my hunt, the first day of which would be September 26, 2015, starting in Whitehorse, YT. I hiked with my hunting pack loaded and I lifted weights per my usual routine for the past thirty-five plus years emphasizing lower extremity and back strength and always using as much weight as I could do. On September 5, while starting the second set of parallel squats in my rack at home, I picked up the bar, but it wasn’t perfectly centered, so I gave it a little bounce to move it over, and while that maneuver isn’t recommended, in fact it’s stupid, it’s usually successful. Indeed, the weight was perfectly centered but I had pain in my back which persisted while I did my reps and into and after the final set with more weight. I finished the session with pain radiating into my left hip and buttock and it got worse over the next five days to the point of severely limiting my activity and my sleep. I’d ruptured my L2-3 disc and I thought that I’d have to cancel my hunt, but after ten days I’d adapted my activity to it. I decided that I could make the trip and the hunt, although my lifting ability was limited as was my range of motion including not being able to lift my left leg very well or being able to turn over at night without waking up to move very carefully. I left our house in Klamath Falls, Oregon September 19, 2015 and pulled into Whitehorse, YT on September 22, having enjoyed a beautiful drive. Wednesday morning Aaron took me to breakfast and then he showed me around Whitehorse. We stopped at the visitor center where there’s a large relief map of the Yukon on which he showed me their five million plus acre concession in the Pelly Mountains and specifically the area where I’d be with one other hunter. I learned that I was scheduled to fly out Saturday with Mike from Atlanta who was to be the other hunter in camp. The High Country Inn is Yukon Stone’s Whitehorse headquarters and most hunters stay there. At breakfast on Thursday morning I was joined by Craig Kiselbach, Aaron Florian and Melissa Bachman of Winchester’s Deadly Passion outdoor TV show. She and Martin Teeter, her cameraman, were going to do a seven day river trip for moose with Yukon Stone. Melissa is a charming very energetic young lady and a dedicated hunter so breakfast conversation was a lot of fun. After breakfast, I drove west to look at the mountains in Kluane National Park where Mt. Logan at 5,959 meters is Canada’s highest peak. It also has North America’s most genetically diverse grizzly population. The tops of the peaks were all obscured Continued ON page 28 Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Continued From page 27 by clouds and my thoughts about taking a hike were quelled by the Canadian firearm laws which don’t permit me to carry my rifle unless I’m with my guide, and I don’t go into grizz country unarmed. On Friday Teena Dickson, who in addition to operating Dickson Outfitting with her husband, Dave, also works as a facilitator for Yukon Stone, took six of us to the Whitehorse rifle range on Gray Mountain adjacent to the town to check the sighting of our rifles. She put up targets at 100 yards and from benches under a shed roof we each fired our rifles. Mine was dead on, but a few others needed scope adjustments and those were accomplished. That afternoon I rearranged my gear to be close, if not under, the weight limit and I was ready to go. Saturday morning I was at breakfast at 7:00AM on an initially clear day in Whitehorse which promptly turned to heavy overcast and rain, then snow and there was no flying until much later. Yukon Stone had four groups of two hunters per area and our gear was spread out around the lobby. Occasionally two would leave only to return because their plane couldn’t fly because of poor visibility, but as the morning headed through noon and beyond some got out. Around 3:30PM, Craig took Mike and I to the airport and we flew out at 4:00PM on Tintina Air in good visibility. I sat in the back seat of the de Havilland Beaver where I had more room for my legs to make the trip easier on my back. The flight was smooth and scenic with great views of the rugged snow covered mountains as well as of the rivers and flats in the valleys north of Whitehorse. In the roughly one hour fifteen minute flight, once we got away from Whitehorse there were no signs of other people or any evidence of civilization until we landed on the strip at our camp. We were greeted by Connor Onions, my guide; Wesley Seeley, Mike’s guide; Byron Aitken, the Kiwi camp wrangler and general do it all. Also present was a hunter from Texas and his videographer who had recorded his taking of a 67” bull moose as well as a very nice mountain caribou. They were flown back to Whitehorse. Our camp was one of seven “cabin camps” that Yukon Stone has in their Pelly Mountain concession. It was located near a wide cold creek and had a cook shack/common area with windows. There were two smaller windowless shacks with wood stoves, a lantern and wooden bunks for sleeping, one for the hunters and the other for the guides. The simple wooden bunks were well insulated and I slept comfortably. There was a corral, a lean-to and a well-ventilated outhouse. Wes and Connor did the cooking and the food was good, plentiful, and just right for a hunting trip.

Sunday morning after a good breakfast we mounted our horses and I found that between my age and the limited range of motion imposed by my recent back injury that even at 6’4”, I couldn’t get my left foot high enough to put it into a stirrup without standing on at least a 12” high log. That was a nuisance for the remainder of the trip. We stopped on a high snow-covered knoll, tied the horses and spent the rest of the day glassing all around, but concentrating on a distant area where Wes and Connor had recently seen moose. They saw a few, but not as many as they expected and I saw none. At around 4:30PM Connor and I headed back to camp. I walked to start out as it felt good to move after sitting in the snow while glassing. I eventually got to a place where I could get up onto a bank from which I could mount my horse, but I soon had to dismount to walk my horse down the steep section of the trail to the creek. As we approached the creek I mounted from the bank along the trail going down to it. Monday after breakfast we rode beyond where we’d gone on Sunday with the objective that Connor and I would hunt moose while Mike and Wes would go beyond us to hunt a group of mountain caribou that they’d seen Sunday. We roughly paralleled the creek in the bottom of the valley. Eventually we crossed it and rode up a finger ridge where Wes and Connor had seen a bull the week before. Connor was leading and I was behind him. I spotted a cow moose but I didn’t see a bull. There was no indication that anyone else had seen her, although they must have, and we kept riding for another 75100 yards when we stopped. Wes, who was behind me, had seen a bull. I’m very hard of hearing so I didn’t hear whatever Wes said or did to get Connor’s attention, but he stopped; dismounted and told me to dismount; get my rifle and to walk back to Wes. I walked the 30-40’ back down the trail to Wes who had a small tripod with a rifle rest on it set up. He told me to kneel down and to rest my rifle on the tripod rest which I did. Wes was watching the bull and he tried to point it out to me but I couldn’t see it. “He’s right behind that tree” Wes said. We were looking 150 yards across a gulley to a steep hillside in poor light and there were many trees, from none of which could I distinguish “that tree.” I was Continued ON page 31

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“He’s right behind that tree” Wes said. We were looking 150 yards across a gulley to a steep hillside in poor light and there were many trees...

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As I got back on him, I was hearing that I’d hit him and that it was a great shot.

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Continued From page 28 a little embarrassed but I just couldn’t find the bull. Wes tried to align my rifle toward the static bull and he told me to look through the scope which was on its lowest power, and all I could see was brush. I lifted my head to look over the scope and finally saw the movement of a maybe 10” patch of one antler through a small opening in the branches above and well to the right of where my scope had been directed. I moved my rifle over and all I could see was a small portion of one antler. Connor replaced Wes and asked if I was on the bull, to which I replied that I knew where the bull was but I couldn’t see any of his body for a shot. Connor said that he was going to cow call and, that when the bull stepped out, to take the shot. The cow call was good and the bull woofed and moved from behind “the tree” down behind another one so quickly that there was no shot to be had. Connor called again and again the bull woofed and moved so smoothly and quickly that he was behind another tree leaving me no shot. Finally he moved to a spot where I could see only his right shoulder and I squeezed one off just behind it. The shot felt good but when the 300 Win Mag with my range tested best accuracy hand loaded 185gr Berger Classic bucked I couldn’t see the result. As I got back on him, I was hearing that I’d hit him and that it was a great shot. I could see some body and some legs rolling down the hill to become hung up against a small tree about fifteen feet above the gully and its meandering creek. I watched and his rack was against the tree with his body downhill from it and he was dead. We walked back down the trail a short distance to get beyond the 30-40’ cliff from where I’d shot so we could walk down into the gully and then back to where the moose was hung up. The boggy gully bottom was 50-60’ wide with a very cold 2-3’ wide creek winding through it. I climbed the short distance up to the bull and a poke into one hind quarter confirmed his passing. I handed my rifle to Connor and we all wrestled the bull loose from the tree and he rolled downhill into the bog. With some further wrestling we got the bull positioned for photos. The massive size of the animal limited the positioning options, but we succeeded in getting him moved just enough to obtain satisfactory images of me and of Connor with my bull and to provide good access to his back. He was not a Yukon monster, but for me a very satisfactory moose. My hunt objective was to have a fair and good hunt; kill a moose that would make a nice mount; make some new hunting friends; take home excellent meat. All four of my objectives were met. It was close to noon so we ate a quick lunch and got to work dressing him out. For me the field care of my animal and the subsequent care of the meat has always been an important part of my hunts, most of which are done solo. I’ve dressed out a number of mule deer and a few Rocky Mountain elk by myself and they were child’s play next to the work required to do this bull moose. I’d read about and seen videos of the gutless approach to field dressing moose and elk, but I’d never used that approach. I asked Connor about using the gutless approach and he said that’s what he always did. We went to work on the left side first with Connor doing the front half which he had to cape in addition to removing the front quarter while I did the back half. The front end was on top of the boggy ground, but the back end was over and partly in the 18” wide by 16” deep creek at that spot which is what I stood in a good part of the time that we worked as there was no crane available to lift it to Continued ON page 32 Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Continued From page 28 higher round. I’d spread a 9’X12’ thin plastic painter’s tarp on the boggy ground adjacent to the animal and we laid the meat out on it as we got flank, back straps, neck, quarters, rib meat and tenderloins freed from the skeleton. When we finished the left side we moved on to the right side and in about three hours we had all of the meat on the tarp plus the partially caped head, leaving the clean skeleton and innards for the birds and the bears. We had discarded some badly bruised meat reflective of this bull’s fights with others, but we didn’t lose much.

The following day, Friday, would be my sixth day of my ten-day trip in camp, but with an intense storm that would preclude flying predicted for the weekend, they wanted me back in Whitehorse. Friday morning the Beaver picked up me, my gear, my meat, my moose rack and cape and I returned to Whitehorse. Once there the pilot took me to Off the Hook Metalworks where I left my four bags of frozen moose meat for them to cut and wrap. Because the meat was frozen they couldn’t do anything with it until it thawed and they told me to check with them on Monday.

As we were about a three-hour ride from camp with only our saddle horses, we left the meat and returned to camp. Connor Shortly after I returned to the High Country Inn, Teena assured me that he’d never had any loss of meat when he’d Dickson called to ask where my moose cape and rack were. I left it for one overnight. replied that they were locked in the back of my truck under the canopy. I met her in the parking lot and she took both. In When we got back to camp, Mike and Wes hadn’t returned. addition to doing the paperwork, she added more salt to the They rode in well after dark with the rack, cape and quarters cape as the subfreezing temperatures in camp had limited the from a beautiful mountain caribou that Mike had killed after drying effect of the salting done there. they’d left us. After listening to their story of the sighting and of the stalk, we ate dinner and hit the bunks. I drove up to Dawson City for the weekend and on Monday afternoon when I checked with Off the Hook, my meat was The following day with Byron and four pack horses, Connor nearly done and I picked up the frozen packages Tuesday. I’d and I returned to my moose. Connor finished what he needed made the decision to get the meat done in Whitehorse, instead to do to complete the field part of caping and I, with Byron’s of doing the cut and wrap myself, as I thought that it would help, boned out the quarters so the meat could be put into travel better packaged than in large uncut pieces. That was a pack boxes for the ride back to camp. I spent the next day and good decision as I had two Yeti Tundra 160 chests plus three one-half cleaning and trimming meat on the dining table in smaller coolers full and having had the meat cut and wrapped camp while a full-blown snow storm raged outside most of minimized the space needed for transport. the day. Mike and Wes were able to hunt a few hours in the afternoon but other than tracks, they saw no game. They did Tuesday morning Teena delivered my moose cape, rack and better the following day in improving weather. paperwork to my motel and I was clear to head for home. Three days after I got my bull, while they were hunting moose, which they didn’t find, they rode by where I harvested my moose and Mike killed a big grizzly boar. They returned in the dark and we ate moose stew made from some of the meat from my moose. It was excellent. The rest of the over 400 pounds of meat was in bags hanging from the meat pole in -1F temperature. That night was clear and very cold but we all stood outside and watched the best northern light show I’ve ever seen. It was spectacular.

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We’re still enjoying the meat, the packages of which I put in vacuum sealed bags when I got home and it’s just as good now as when I first arrived. It was a great trip and Yukon Stone Outfitters took good care of me. I’d love to do it again if finances allow and I might go for a sheep as Wes told me that they had sheep terrain that he thought I could handle. Editor’s Note: You can reach Yukon Stone Outfitters at 867-334-9616, or visit their website at www.yukonstone.com



with Shane Mahoney A Leap of Faith for Hunting: Public Discourse or Public Death - Part THREE Thank you to Sports Afield for permission to reprint this article.

Shane Ma honey is co nsidered to of the lead be one ing intern a tional auth on wildlife o rities conservati on. A rare combinati on of histo rian, scien and philoso tist, pher, he br ings a uniq perspective ue to wildlife issues tha motivated t has and inspir ed audience around th s e world. N amed one the 10 Mo of st Influenti al Canadia Conservati n onists by O utdoor Ca Magazine nada and nomin ated for P of the Year er son by Outdoo r Life Maga he has rece zine, ived numer ous award including s the Public Service Aw of Excellen ard ce from th e governm of Newfou ent ndland an d Labrador and Intern ational Co nservation of the Year ist from Safa ri Club Internatio nal. Born and raised Newfound in land, he br ings to his writings a nd lecture s a profou commitmen nd t to rural so cieties and the su stainable u se of natural re sources, in cl uding fish and wildli fe.

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In this the third and final essay in his series on the importance of public dialogue, Shane Mahoney suggests that a powerful wind of change is sweeping across the conservation landscape. He argues that for the 21st century, building a formidable inclusive coalition is the only way to conserve wildlife and to maintain hunting as a vital force in our society. Building such a coalition will require bold new leadership that engages with the general public and reaches across the conservation aisle. In 1887 William F. Cody brought his great and already spectacularly successful Wild West Show to Europe, landing his entourage of buffalo, mules, mustangs, cowboys and Native Americans at Albert Dock and making his way to the great and grimy city of London. Here he would begin an impressive tour of the continent with a command performance for Queen Victoria in a great arena built specifically for the show. It would be during this performance that a little remembered but spectacular gesture would occur, one that might remind us all of how change may be painful but must eventually be embraced and honored. Our hunting community ought to pay heed. After the many performers of the Wild West Show were introduced, it was customary that a lone horseman would circle the arena holding aloft the American flag. It was during this command performance in London that as the standard bearer passed in front of the Queen, her Majesty arose and bowed to the emblem of American independence, a bold and remarkable gesture that had her entire assembly of ladies, gentlemen and military personnel scrambling to their feet and bowing and saluting with fervor. It was a signal moment. Perhaps for the first time since the defeat of the great British war machine by the ragged ass militias of America, the British Empire’s sovereign office stood to honor the Stars and Stripes. Somewhere in the thrall of this a new relationship was born, one that honored what the two countries shared and left aside the differences and misunderstandings that had eventually led them to tension and ultimately to war. The new bonds have proven strong, have they not?

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Like the relationships between nations, those within the conservation movement are sometimes conflicted and always complex. Composed of an extraordinary range of institutions and actors it is inevitable that the movement possesses a wide and enduring chemistry of tension, competition, argument and even mistrust. While it is common enough in this context to hear of the divide between hunters and those who are opposed, the reality is that competition and antagonism exist to some degree across the entire conservation spectrum. Indeed, viewed from the perspective of the wildlife that we are all, ostensibly, trying to save, it most certainly appears that the conservation community is deeply fissured, a reality that wildlife and the conservation movement itself simply cannot afford.

movement is incredibly wasteful of resources, suffocating to idea sharing and progress, serves as an impediment to rapid strategic improvements in conservation policy and comes at a time where financial resources are and will be constrained for the foreseeable future. It is necessary because we live in a time when ever greater pressures are being placed on wildlife and when fewer people are taking up hunting and angling and where increasingly citizens are becoming more distant from nature and less knowledgeable of just what it takes to maintain wildlife in our midst. It is necessary because the conflicts within the conservation movement are confusing to the general public and because the relevance of hunting is becoming less and less clear to the broad majority of citizens. It is necessary, above all else, because we simply cannot, we must not, lose wildlife!

While we might simply accept this reality as an inevitable part of the human condition, we cannot and must not let the issue stand there. Far too much is at stake for both the wildlife we cherish and the hunting and angling traditions we wish to see endure. Regardless of its manifest imperfections, we cannot forget that the conservation movement harbors deep within its core one of the great, hopeful and beautiful ideas of mankind; namely that as humans we can live and prosper in a world where wildlife and wild places also thrive. There is inspiration in this; and in the very fact that it still remains possible to maintain those wild others whose lives and beauty have inspired us for so long. To do so, however, will require not only reaching out to the general public, the underlying theme of these past three essays; I am convinced it will also require the formation of a bold new Coalition for Conservation. It will not be enough to make the public aware, as large a task as that is. Along with this the diverse conservation community must join hands in common purpose.

For one moment just imagine that such conflict in our ranks did not exist. Imagine if all of us, hunter and non-hunter alike, could set aside the differences we feel and focus on those things we hold in common; things like abundant wildlife, clean water, healthy ecosystems, beautiful landscapes, humane treatment of all animals, opportunities for children to enjoy the outdoors. Imagine if we decided that the human and financial resources we collectively hold would be united in common cause and that our political strength could be centered on the truly critical issues about which we could all or in majority agree. Think of the power of this alliance! Think of the sheer voting force, the politically transformative power of our conservation community to accomplish truly great things in the names of our children and in the names of our nations! Ponder for just a moment the achievements we could attain for wildlife and ask yourself if any of the petty excuses we offer up every day as to why this cannot occur are so real,

And why is this necessary? It is necessary because the current state of conflict and dissociation within the conservation

Continued ON page 36 Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Continued From page 35 so compelling, that we cannot rise above them. Think about it! In the first two parts of this trilogy I argued that hunters must begin a dialogue with the general public explaining the modern relevance and societal value of hunting and angling. I made suggestions for some of the means by which we could do this and how such means should be focused on engaging with society at large rather than just within our own chosen groups. But in this essay I am obviously suggesting something much larger, something bolder and hopefully more inspiring. I am suggesting that the hunting community step up to lead a broad new conservation coalition, one that will include former antagonists, competitors and old friends alike, and above all one that can and will communicate effectively with the broad public. By doing so, not only will we be explaining the core challenges to conserving wildlife but we will also be explaining the relevance and value of hunting from its biological, economic and social perspectives. Remember too that the citizenry our new coalition would address is the same “general public” who will determine the future of hunting and angling, and indeed all conservation efforts, either by their support, their opposition……or their indifference.

will step up to lead this coalition of the center? Who will eventually emerge as the leaders of what is now inevitable, namely a New Conservation Order, one where the old rules will not apply and where new strategies will be won or the battle will be lost? Will the hunting community slowly decline in relevance and importance or will it shake itself free of its retreat to fortress mentality and seize the opportunity to, yet again, carry the banner of conservation before the inspired citizens of our nations? It will require both courage of conviction and boldness of action to make such transformations, and not all institutions or individuals are possessed of the grit it takes. I am convinced, however, that such leaders will arise; indeed I believe they are already rising. Of course there will be many who will say this is impossible; just a pipe dream that can never become a reality. But I would remind such naysayers of a British Queen standing to honor the flag of upstart America and the handful of citizen hunters who launched a crusade over one hundred years ago to save the wildlife of this continent. There were many who said these too were fantasies of fools and idealists. How wonderfully,

The question for the hunting and angling community is who how gloriously wrong they were!

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

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018




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Mackenzie Mountain

Combo by Greg Kurdys

The large set of antlers seemed to float above the stunted willows as they moved toward me. My guide, Nathan, continued calling and scraping the brush as he knelt about ten yards away. After a few steps, the front half of the moose’s body emerged from the brush. He was about 125 yards away. My rifle was resting on my pack which was supported by some willow branches. It was not the ideal rest, but it was the best I could find. The bull took a couple more steps and came into a small clearing. He stopped for a moment and then turned up the mountain, clearly seeking to work around us to get our scent. Nathan whispered that I needed to shoot, as the wind was carrying our scent in the direction the moose was headed. I rested the crosshairs on the moose’s shoulder thinking, “Aim small. Miss small.” I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger.


his was my second trip with Stan

plane charter to Stan’s Mountain Lake Mountain camp. One of the reasons I had chosen Outfitters. In 2012, I had taken to hunt with Stan was that he has a a 60” moose and a nice caribou. I had helicopter in camp and can get you out decided to return to try for a larger to those remote spike camps in minutes moose, and booked the hunt during vs. the days it would take on horseback.

to the excitement! We met our guides


and sorted our gear for what would be

the 2015 SCI International show in There were seven hunters on the Las Vegas. The area Stan hunts is both charter flight into camp. When we expansive and very remote. Following arrived at the dock, the previous hunt the three commercial flights to arrive in party was staged to leave. It gave us a Norman Wells, NWT, and an overnight quick chance to check out the trophies stay, there was still a one-hour float and talk about the hunting. It just added

and guides out to spike camps. As it

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

needed at the spike camp. I had hunted with Nathan Aasen in 2012, so we were already well acquainted. Over the next 24 hours, Stan began ferrying hunters turned out, I was the last one to leave the main camp. As we flew the 25 miles out to the spike camp, we flew over a couple of moose that were not quite trophy size.

We landed on a small gravel bar and unloaded. As the helicopter departed, the remoteness became more apparent. We quickly set up a couple small tents and then climbed the mountain to do some glassing. We quickly spotted a grizzly bear ambling along a game trail and a small moose above us in a willow thicket. A bit later, we noted another grizzly. As darkness approached we made our way back to camp. After a quick dinner, I hit the sleeping bag with thoughts of large moose and the proximity of the bears!

watched the moose for some time, and he eventually bedded down. Nathan suggested we close some of the distance and try calling him out of his bed. We used the terrain to our advantage and then crawled a bit to get into position about 200 yards from the moose. Nathan took a location with a slightly better view just above me on the mountain. He started calling and scraping the brush with an old moose shoulder blade. After a couple calls the moose stood and his antlers were waving above the yellow willows.

down, then made our way across to its location. Even with the moose wedged up against the willows, I could see this one was larger than my previous moose. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hunt these big moose, that first view is a bit of a shock. It literally looks the size of a large horse! Nathan and I wrestled the moose free of the willows and after pictures proceeded to quarter it out. We debated packing it back the mile to camp, but agreed that a small flat just above us would be a suitable helicopter landing site. It was getting near dark, After coffee and some oatmeal, we As I squeezed the trigger, the Kimber .325 so we headed back to camp with the headed up the mountain for more WSM barked. The moose took a couple antlers, cape, and some meat for dinner. glassing. After about an hour, Nathan steps and crashed down the mountain a spotted a large moose a few hundred few yards. Then all was quiet. We waited yards away moving in our direction. We a few moments to confirm the moose was Continued ON page 42

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 | 41

Continued From page 41 In the morning, we made our way back

and squeezed the trigger. The .325 WSM

up the mountain. We carefully scouted for

once again performed well, and the bull

any sign that a bear had found the carcass, dropped in his tracks. After a high five, as it is quite common. The gunshot seems we walked over to the bull and situated to be a dinner bell for bears that are not

him for a couple pictures in the fading

hunted. We spent a few hours clearing light. Nathan quartered him out and an area for the helicopter. I asked Nathan we packed the cape, antlers, and a back how many feet we needed to clear and he strap back to camp. was not sure, but we agreed to err on the larger side, despite knowing that Stan is an excellent pilot. We marked the site with a bit of tape and headed back to camp. As we neared camp Nathan spotted six

In the morning, we went back to the caribou and finished processing it. The area was clear for a landing so once again we were fortunate that we did not have

to pack the meat back to camp. When we caribou bulls across the stream and up arrived in camp, Nathan used his InReach the other side. They were about three miles to text Stan for a pickup. The reply was away. The caribou were late in starting

their migration, and there were not that many around, so Nathan recommended we try to stalk them. I reminded him I was 61 years old, not 30 like him, so we would need to pace ourselves. We climbed to a point parallel to the six

that he had a couple moose to pull out, so it would be the next day. I spent the afternoon cleaning the antlers and getting my gear ready to pack. We had a dinner of caribou ribs. They were edible, but not near as good as the ones Jodie, the main camp cook, made a couple days later!

bulls, and about 800 yards away. They

The next morning, we made our way were all bedded down, and a light rain was back up towards the moose site, but beginning to fall. Nathan believed they as we checked from a couple hundred would stay there so we needed to close yards, it became obvious Mr. Grizzly

on them. Unfortunately, there was a deep had claimed it. Some of it was buried ravine between us. We climbed down and and a couple pieces were dragged away. back up the other side. Once back to the top we crawled about 80 yards, using the short brush as cover. As I stopped and rested my gun on my pack the bulls were

While it was unfortunate, the law of the bush prevailed, and he kept his meal. Stan picked us up about an hour later.

He flew me back to camp, then returned about 200 yards away and still bedded. to get Nathan and the caribou. We agreed on which was the best and I I spent the next three days in the main kept my scope on them. Suddenly an camp. I still held a wolf tag, but decided to Arctic fox appeared and approached the not hunt rather than risk messing up the bulls. His activity spooked them, and they caribou hunting for the other hunters in jumped up and ran about 100 yards farther camp. I had taken a pack rod and several away. Nathan saw me looking though the small spinners and spent the afternoons scope and whispered, “Wait until they catching grayling. After about 40, I quit come closer.” I told him facetiously I was counting! When the hunt was over, lining up the fox, not the caribou! seven hunters had claimed seven 60”+ The caribou eventually fed back towards moose and three nice caribou, including us, and when they were about 150 yards, one that went over 400”. It was quite an I put the cross hairs on the biggest bull experience! Editor’s Note: You can reach Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters Ltd. at 250-786-5118, or visit their website at www.mmo-stanstevens.com

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 | 43

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46 | Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Simply, my goal is to create exceptional wildlife art, and to  strive  every day to learn more about the animals I paint and  their habitat. I want to present them  at their best  in a  natural setting  and a wellbalanced  composition. Ultimately, my hope is that the finished painting translates  the same powerful emotions to the viewer that provided the initial inspiration to create the work.


esmond McCaffrey has always relied on his personal interactions with the natural world as the main source of influence and inspiration for his paintings. Essentially a self-taught artist, he works with oil paints to express his passion for wildlife and nature. Desmond was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1962 the family lived in Saskatoon for a few years before moving to Edmonton, Alberta when he was about four years old. Looking back on those early years of grade school in Edmonton, the fishing and hunting trips with his father were of profound influence. When they returned home

from those outings, Desmond would immediately grab a pencil and paper to recount the experience and to draw the wildlife and scenery he had observed. His mother was a stay at home mom and provided a constant encouragement for the budding artist, along with his grandmother, who dabbled in oil paints herself. In 1973 his father found work as a heavy-duty mechanic in the oil patch and the McCaffrey family packed up and moved to Grande Prairie. At first the move proved to be a culture shock for the eleven-year-old boy, Continued ON page 49

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 | 47

48 | Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

Continued From page 49 fitting in was difficult to say the least. The school he attended was plagued with oil town thugs’ eager to prove themselves by picking on the “new kid” and finding pleasure in verbally and physically abusing him at every turn. Being somewhat of a loner and the youngest and smallest in his class didn’t help Des much either. It certainly was a tumultuous time for the young artist, but he was determined not to allow it to crush his spirit or erode his dreams. The family home was situated near the banks of “Bear Creek”, there he could escape to the woods in solitude and find a wealth of inspiration for his art. When his homework was done, Desmond would grab his .22 rifle and head out to the creek banks to check his rabbit snares and hike or snowshoe for hours while studying the wild birds and animals along the way. It was a place of

peace and solace for the young artist and Finally, in 1989 Desmond began his in those woods, he found his calling in career as a professional artist and has life and abounding love for nature. not looked back. His paintings have appeared in the pages and on the covers The years passed, and after graduating of many publications across the country high school in 1980 he attended college and he has earned numerous awards briefly to study architecture. He soon and special commissions along the dropped out, as the yearning for way, including work with the “Royal creative expression wouldn’t wait. In Canadian Mint.” His works have been his twenties, he held numerous jobs, published into limited edition prints, including working in the oil industry which has enabled the reach to a broader and even as a big game hunting guide. and constantly growing list of collectors, He also ran a taxidermy business for 5 while his original oil paintings are years, which enabled him to study and often sold before leaving the easel. He understand the anatomy of animals currently resides with his wife Marlene such as moose, elk, deer, wolves and and family on a piece of land in their bear. It also provided valuable business handcrafted log home. experience which served him later when deciding to become a full-time artist.

To learn more about Des, visit his website:

www.desmccaffrey.com Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


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Time cky


by Ken McGregor

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018


uring 2015 my wife and I planned to visit relatives in British Columbia followed by a touring holiday; so, when the opportunity to include a hunt at the same time presented itself I took it. We were looking at summer time, so that cut down the options to a late season black bear hunt of some description. I chose a spot and stalk hunt in British Columbia, as over the years I have had to cancel two similar hunts so maybe it would be third time lucky. Due to the other commitments, I had a somewhat complicated schedule but fortunately Kim and Warren of Bar WK Ranch & Outfitters were able to accommodate my needs so a booking was made for the last few days of the season. They have an 800-square mile concession on the Fraser River and offer quite an array of species.

After a 14-hour flight from Sydney, Australia the first week in June found me at the Prince George airport with other hunters both arriving and returning from their hunts. Soon Kim arrived and after introductions we drove the 2 hours to her hunting concession on the Fraser River. While it was now the first week in summer, the snow had only just melted in the previous week and I was to be the first hunter to visit the main hunting camp this season. The previous clients had hunted around the home ranch, about 2 hours away, and had been successful taking some good size bears. I met Kim’s husband, Warren, who was busy setting up camp after the winter snow; the cookhouse was stocked, the weeds slashed and the boat made ready on the lake. The camp had cabin accommodations with a hot shower. It even had a

grave site of a trapper who lost his life in the early 1900’s, so a lot of interesting history here. As I had not brought my own rifle I was given the choice of the camp rifles. I selected a 7mm Rem Mag and after testing and scope adjustment, both Warren and I were satisfied that I could shoot and the rifle functioned properly. Kim prepared a fully cooked evening meal and right on cue one of the guides, Caleb, arrived looking for his supper. He was preparing for a grizzly hunt that was occurring in the next couple of days, so I was to be guided by him for my first day and he could scout the area for grizzly sign while we were out and about and see what damage had occurred to the trails after the snow. Continued ON page 54 Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Continued From page 53 Normally bear hunting is an afternoon activity with the mornings taken up checking for sign, so no need to get up early. The first day started at 7:00AM with a cooked breakfast and packing our supplies onto the Polaris for what turned out to be a 140 km, 14-hour drive, to look over the area. It was light from 3:30AM to 10:45PM and every daylight hour was used if needed. Day one was to be an exciting day travelling up to the alpine region. Soon after hitting the logging trail we put up two cinnamon bears; they looked good to me but Caleb said that they were too small so we moved on, seeing plenty of scat on the way. We continued down the track and discovered that it had been rendered impassable to normal traffic by the local logging company. Once logging is finished in an area, the roads and tracks are cut up by bulldozer to allow the natural watercourse to return. These deactivation channels can be a kilometre apart or there may be 10 of them in one kilometre; it all depends on the natural stream locations. They are three to four metres deep with very steep approach and departure

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

angles and are only crossable with ATVs. They are designed to keep casual traffic away and do a very good job at that. It was getting colder as we climbed to the snow line so it was time to don the cold weather gear and even though it was freezing, I was starting to burn in the sun. We spent quite some time glassing the alpine meadows and snow slides for grizzly and the lower slopes for blacks but nothing was seen. Continuing along the track we saw a few bears but they were too small to stalk. The deactivation channels were starting to become a pain and soon there was one that was too steep for me, so I crossed it on foot while Caleb slipped and slid over it in the Polaris. Any mistake in crossing could end with a few hundred metres of free fall as most of the water courses are on the steepest part of the mountain, so I found myself walking several times! As soon as I got back in and he started to drive off we saw a good bear 400 metres further up the track. Caleb glassed it over and said it was worth a stalk for a closer look.

Warren said that it was a good bear and I asked, “yes or no?” to which Warren replied “yes”... boar but no shot was offered. We continued until 10:00PM and head; a sign of a good bear so I am told. The wind was in our later returned to camp for a hot drink and meal. It had been faces so a stalk straight up the track was in order. The bear was a good first day with three good bears seen among plenty of just over the crest and all I could see was its back line and that it others that looked promising for the coming years. All I could tell was that it had small ears in comparison to its

was slowly walking our way. Thinking it would be best to be in cover when it crested, I took up a position over the largest rock I could find and waited. I was sweating in the sun and the bear decided to lie down in the cool grass. I lost sight of it but Caleb slowly stood to get a better view and said that we would wait it out and see if it moved closer to us. Of course, and isn’t there always an ‘of course’, there was a change of wind direction and the bear bolted for the bush and disappeared down the slope.

Day two saw me being guided by Warren and instead of heading back to the tops we concentrated on the sub alpine areas of the concession, working our way around the lake areas. By the way, BC has a lot of lakes! Not something I am used to where I come from. We started to see quite a few smaller bears early in the morning so Warren was confident of finding a good one without too much trouble. We looked

over numerous tracks and lakes and came across a stranded fisherman who had been stuck for two days with car trouble. would have been a keeper if the opportunity for a shot had Warren got him going again and the fellow said that he had presented itself. Not to worry, it was only 11:00AM on the first seen a big black bear as well as a grizzly the previous evening. day so things were looking good. Anyway, after our good deed we drove on and shortly after We found some fresh grizzly scat as well as plenty of black bear I saw some ears protruding over the scrub and got Warren sign. An hour later, and again after crossing another channel, to stop. The wind was against us and the bear ran onto the we saw another good bear that was walking along the edge track, looked at us and bolted around the corner and was of the track. The wind was again in our favour so out of the lost from sight. Warren said that he was a good bear and I Polaris and up the track about 100 metres, this time trying to told him that as I was half deaf, all he had to say was “yes or get into a higher shooting position but we were surrounded by no” when he decided on the bear. We waited for about five a high cutting that could not be climbed without being noticed. minutes and then luckily the wind changed direction, so we Again, I took up a position on a boulder and waited for the bear sneaked further up the track and when we got to the bend we to crest the top and so offer an easy 100 metre shot. All I could could see him only 40 metres away about to cross the track see was the top half of its head over the grass and Caleb said and go into the bush. Warren said that it was a good bear and to shoot through the grass if he gave the ok, as the grass was I asked, “yes or no?” to which Warren replied “yes.” By this very sparse. Well, he didn’t get to give me any shot advice as time the bear had started to quarter away and I shot. I heard the wind changed direction again and the bear went straight the 175-grain bullet connect and Warren yelled “great shot,” through the trees and down the mountain. We quickly went to but the bear was gone. My ears were ringing and Warren said its last location and heard him crashing down the slope. Gone; that he heard its death throes; growling and thrashing just but it was good to see another shooter so early in the hunt. inside the scrub line. This only lasted a few seconds but we The drive continued, spending time glassing and checking out waited a further 15 minutes after things settled down. Caleb said that it was a boar that would square about 6’6” and

the scat and we came to a river crossing where the logging

Time up, I ensured I was loaded with the scope turned right bridge had been pulled down. With a very steep descent and down and followed Warren into the scrub. Disappointingly some rock rolling to create a track, Caleb made it over but there was no sign of blood from the hit and it was so dense there was absolutely no room for error as it was a long drop we could not see any escape trail; in fact, it reminded me of if things got crossed up! The deactivation channels beat us in my jungle training days. Maybe it was only wounded; not a the end and it was easier to walk than drive. Soon the day was good scenario. The scrub was so thick you could not see more half over so we turned around and made our way to a spot than two to three metres, so we cast around and continued for lunch and some glassing before returning to camp. Lunch for about 10 minutes going back and forth to the last known eaten and glassing done, it was time for a snooze. Luckily, I spot a couple of times. Warren was confident the bear was had a mosquito face net; I cannot describe the number and down and would not be far. Surprisingly it was only 15 metres determination of the mosquitoes in the mountains. I had read from where it was shot, but it sure was a jungle in there and about them but nothing prepares you for the sheer number of them. We drove on looking for bears and sighted another good

Continued ON page 56 Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Continued From page 55 I was very happy it was recovered. A suitable calibre with the heaviest bullet can make the difference between a trophy or a lost animal; nothing new here! Dragging the bear back through the scrub to the track for photos was quite a job and a long drink was in order when we finally got it loaded onto the ATV. We returned to camp for more photographs, skinning and measuring. When completed my bear squared 6’7”. A good bear. It was only the second day of my hunt and I had a tag for a second bear but I was happy with my first, so elected to do some sightseeing and fishing with the possibility of filling my wolf tag as we travelled around. Over the next few days we got within 100 metres of a grizzly and amazingly within two metres of a lynx that was stalking a bird. Unfortunately, I only managed a very poor photo of the lynx but it was great to get that close. The week was now over and I was returned to the airport and joined the many other hunters in the lounge swapping stories of our hunts before boarding our flight. It was a great experience and it did turn out to be third time lucky! Editor’s Note: You can reach Bar WK Ranch & Outfitters at 250-553-2355, or visit their website at www.barwkoutfitters.com

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

We live where we hunt— year round! We offer elk, moose, black bear, deer, and mountain goat!

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

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More recipes are available in our 50th Anniversary Cookbook. Email info@goabc.org or call (604) 541-6332 to purchase your own copy for $25 +shipping & handling.

Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018 |


Every year there are more young people searching for the opportunity to work in the backcountry and get away from the urban centres. They arrive in our industry without the benefit of being raised in an outfitter family, however they work hard to fit in and become part of the outfit. When you meet the kids of outfitters, there is an energy about them, a professionalism somehow engrained in them. These kids understand how camp works and that everyone has a job to do – no exceptions and no complaints. My youngest boys spent their early years in my camps, no electricity, WIFI or running water and they remember it as some of the best times of their young lives. When I joined GOABC 10 years ago I was one of those urban “kids”. I looked up to outfitters like Ron Fleming, Ross Peck, Stan Lancaster, Bernie McKay, Larry Erickson and many more as icons of BC outfitting and now having been on the board of GOABC I am excited to see young outfitters joining our organization and bringing their families into our industry, growing their family business as we all have done before. A glimmer of hope glows within our families to keep at bay the forces opposing our industry and livelihoods. As long as “kids” still want to guide and wrangle, outfitter kids want to take over the family business and clients keep bringing their kids to our province to experience an guided hunt we know the industry will live on. This new generation will continue to grow up understanding the value of wildlife, environmental management and the value of our industry not only here in BC but worldwide. If you have any historical stories you would like to share, please email programs@goabc.org

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Mountain Hunter Magazine - WINTER 2018

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Mountain Hunter Magazine Winter 2018  

Mountain Hunter Magazine Winter 2018  

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