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A TRACK IN THE SNOW MOSSY ANTLER HUNT STICKS & STONE’S GOABC CONVENTION Vol. 30 | Issue 2

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AUGUST 31, 2019

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INSIDE

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.

FEATURE STORY

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

GIRL POWER Elyse Hagen

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

ON THE COVER

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

12

www.facebook.com/mountainhuntermagazine @MtnHunterMag

Assistant guide Lili Carter, guide Miguela Minto and hunter Elyse Hagen

@mountainhuntermagazine

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

4 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION

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

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

LOCAL PRESIDENTS: STUART MAITLAND SCOTT PICHETTE AARON FREDLUND MIKE DANIELSON KIFF COVERT MELVIN KILBACK RILEY LEUENBERGER MIKE LEWIS

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

STAFF: SCOTT ELLIS JENNIFER JOHNSON BRENDA GIBSON CRAIG SWEETMAN BRENDA NELSON

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

38

HAROLD GRINDE KELLY HOUGEN WERNER ASCHBACHER

President Past-President Secretary

STICKS & STONE’S

A TRACK IN THE SNOW

MOSSY ANTLER HUNT

Joe Gray Taylor, Jr

Marv Clyncke

Judy Black

Dave Ames

DEPARTMENTS 2

GOABC President’s Corner

35

Thank You to Our Supporters

3

News & Views

36

Story Contest Winners

6

Preferred Conservation Partners

50

Conservation MattersTM

24

Guides Gallery

67

Camp Cook’s Corner

26

Convention 2019

68

A Different Perspective

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

Gundahoo River Outfitters...22

Scoop Lake Outfitters...........48

Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding................................55

Horst Mindermann (Remax).................................53

Shadow Mountain Outfitters..36

Arcadia Outfitting.................17

Kettle River Guides & Outfitters...........................37

Silent Mountain Outfitters.....54

BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters............................22

Kispiox Valley Outfitters....IFC

Bonnet Plume Outfitters.......10

Leupold & Stevens...............67

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

Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters.........................17

Bugle Basin Outfitters............9 Cariboo Mountain Outfitters..10 CBI Solar................................47

(867) 668-4118 MAC WATSON CHRIS MCKINNON SHAWN WASEL

President Past-President Executive Director

Depositphotos.com: MennoSchaefer, LiliGraphie, Halfpoint, PixelsAway, Twildlife, Belyaev71, kwiktor, RodimovPavel, kaninstudio, Sandralise All rights reserved. Articles and advertising in Mountain Hunter do not necessarily reflect the view or directions of GOABC. GOABC reserves to the right to refuse any advertisements. Designed in Canada by PG Web Designs Printed in the United States of America by Forum Communication Printing - Fargo, North Dakota

64

THE BRIDGE RIVER BEAR ASSAULT

Atna Outfitters.......................37

(403) 357-8414

56

Copper River Outfitters.......10 Covert Outfitting................OBC Dallas Safari Club................62 Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters............................17

Krieghoff International.......11

McCowans Sporting Properties............................22

Sikanni River Outfitters.......48 SITKA Gear...............................63 Sonny’s Guiding Service........48 South Nahanni Outfitters.......5 Sports Afield.............................49 Stone Glacier............................54 Tuchodi River Outfitters........54

McGregor River Outfitters....5

Vancouver Island Guide Outfitters..................................55

Mervyn’s Yukon Outfitting...37

Wild Sheep Foundation..........23

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

Yukon Big Game Outfitters.....11

Okanagan Outfitters...............5

Eureka Peak Lodge & Outfitters.............................22

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

Gana River Outfitters...........37

Raven’s Throat Outfitters....67

Grand Slam Club/Ovis..........16

Safari Club International....55

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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GOABC PRESIDENT’S CORNER Fresh off a successful convention week, we took the opportunity to meet as a board for governance and strategic planning training. This facilitated session gave the board a jump start on the year. Together we renewed our focus on our vision of “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.” The recent efforts of the Wildlife Defense League proved that the anti-hunting organizations are not stopping with the closure of grizzly bear hunting. They have now focused their efforts on ending the harvest of cougars (mountain lions), lynx and bobcats. And don’t think they will stop there unless we unite and effectively counter their misinformed narrative. Thankfully, we are learning and getting smarter. We are seeing better collaboration with like-minded organizations, forming unlikely partnerships with those who also care about habitat and the environment but historically we did not partner with before. We are improving our game – because we must. One such initiative is the group of hunters, trappers and guides who are uniting for conservation. The upstart BC Hunter Action Circle has grown to more than 10,000 members in their network in a very short time. We are encouraged by what this group aims to accomplish together. The Guide Outfitters Association of BC believes in sustainable use and wildlife management based on science. All species, including cougar, lynx and bobcat, need to be managed. Densities must be established for all species based on habitat capacity and then wildlife managers can manage to those objectives. Wildlife managers also need authority over habitat decisions. Without the ability to make these choices it is virtually impossible to grow wildlife. Wildlife management is especially challenging from a social perspective because it deals with the life and death of animals. Wildlife managers are challenged to strike a balance of predators and prey in a constantly changing environment. Climate change and the demand for resources (lumber and precious metals) are dramatically changing the habitat upon which wildlife depends.

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

Sean Olmstead, President, GOABC

There is much at stake and much work to do! I wish to extend my thanks to the past board members for their work over the past year, and encourage the new members to roll up their sleeves and join us as we fight for changes that will benefit us all, now and in the future.

Wildlife FIRST

TM


VIEWS

NEWS &

Scott Ellis, Executive Director, GOABC

“Why We Hunt” was the theme of this year’s convention in Kelowna. It was a fitting focus as we try to positively influence the “70% in the middle.” We are seeing more politics involved in wildlife management than ever before and expect that to increase in the future. Therefore, it is critical that we develop an education strategy that resonates with those who do not hunt. Many do not understand that hunters harvest animals but also care deeply for them at the same time. This is not an oxymoron. It is a desire to grow healthy herds that allow hunts – just like a cattle rancher aims to grow a healthy herd so that some can be harvested to feed his family. In many fields, there are key performance indicators (KPI). For wildlife health, hunting should be the primary KPI. If this were widely recognized, then non-hunters could rest assured, confident that herds were being well managed and their populations were robust enough to allow harvest. The task is clear – improve external communication to improve the public opinion of why we hunt. GOABC is planning to do this through improving our public relations and communications. The foundation of our message is that the meat is consumed, hunting supports conservation of the species, and that hunting provides benefits to rural communities. Throughout our convention we played “Why We Hunt” videos from Canada in the Rough, Donnie Vincent, and SITKA Gear – all embodying the same messages as ours. We think this is the right narrative. If you have not already, we encourage you to watch these films and share them with your networks. Our convention is always made up of three components: An annual general meeting, an auction fundraiser, and an industry celebration. The AGM was very well attended and

we sold out all our other events including Friday night’s Fun Night, Saturday’s wine tour and Krieghoff Shoot, and the Awards dinner on Saturday night. The auction had a fresh feel as we separated the hunts from the convention. We will do this again this coming November. The change allows the March auction to feature hunting gear, equipment, clothing and other products relevant to those who attend the event. Fun Night generated many laughs as we tested the colloquial knowledge of our friends to the south before choosing to welcome Montana into Canada, and then challenged our collective wisdom in Outfitter Family Feud. The fun and games hosted by DJ Haymaker proved once again that you can never predict what will happen when our fun-loving group of members and guests get together. The weekend culminated with our gala awards dinner. Two hundred people joined together to celebrate our industry and honor members with various awards including: • Frank Stewart Award – Mike Danielson • Fair Chase Award – Reg and Ray Collingwood • Lady of the Year Award – Dixie Hammett • Guide of the Year – Luke Bennett • Outfitter of the Year – Fraser MacDonald • President’s Award – Jennifer Johnson Thank you to our gracious donors, sponsors, volunteers, buyers and members that made this year’s convention so successful. Please mark your calendars as we will be back at Kelowna’s Delta Okanagan Grand again March 26th – 28th, 2020. See you there!

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

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NEWS & VIEWS Today is a typical winter day here in Alberta—cold with a raw east wind blowing and light snow coming down. It is one of those days when it is nice to be inside. We have had a mild winter here without much snow so I guess it is time for a cold snap and I’m sure the houndsmen trying to hunt cougars will be thankful for the fresh snow. The reports from Norman Wells are of a fairly mild winter with very little snow in the region—that is good news for the game and hopefully will mean more great hunting next year. I am already looking forward to our annual spring wolf hunts in April. Hunting in the Mackenzies in the winter via snow machine is a very unique experience. The country is incredibly awe inspiring in winter. There are huge glaciers, frozen waterfalls, windswept ridges and, in Harold Grinde, President, Association of Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters complete contrast, occasional open running water that does not seem to know it is winter. There are countless stories told in the myriad of tracks – we try to unravel them and understand. And along with all of that there is the challenge of surviving in the harsh cold of the northern winter. We must be prepared to spend the night under a tree if we get stuck in overflow or our machine breaks down—survival gear is a necessity. Yet, is not pitting oneself against the wilderness part of the allure of any hunt?? A winter hunt just brings a different set of challenges—a new and unique experience each time. I recently returned from a desert mule deer hunt in Mexico, something that I have always wanted to do. It was a new and different experience for me with so much to see and learn. I had an incredible time and it was enlightening to see the outfitting industry from the other side—to experience it as a client and be the guy who asks a million question, takes a thousand pictures and tries to absorb as much of the “experience” as possible. I can truly say that I enjoyed the people, the food, the country, the culture, and yes – the hunting. I encourage each of you to take the time savor each and every aspect of your next hunt. Good Hunting!

With warmth to the sun and increasing daylight, hunt preparations have us outfitters spending less time in the office and more time in the equipment shed. Tack to be inspected and made trail-ready, camp equipment checked, power saws repaired, and pickups serviced. Soon we will be back on the trail doing what we love – hunting! Show season was a great opportunity to visit with past hunters, meet new ones, and observe an increasing abundance of younger next-generation hunters. Good to see a strong representation of upcoming potential clients! The hunting world is ever changing in terms of social acceptability of hunting in general and recruitment into the high-adventure hunting associated with the Yukon in particular. The weight of social tolerance creates great change. Fox hunting in England with horse and hound has changed; calf roping in rodeo has changed; the trapping industry and fur fashion has changed; and the grizzly hunting in British Mac Watson, President, Yukon Outfitters Association Columbia has changed. Continued social acceptance of our pursuit is in the hands of us, the current hunters. We are the involuntary ambassadors of the privilege of the hunting experience. Our portrayal and conveyance of the hunting experience – and the high respect we have for the game we hunt – is key to maintaining future social license. The hunting experience is a story worth carefully telling, especially within social circles of non-hunters, to enable a broader understanding of what we do. As hunters, we thoroughly enjoy the mental and physical challenge of the hunt, the incredible wild places we get to hunt within, and the fabulous BBQ that is hopefully enjoyed during or after the hunt. The hunting adventure in the Yukon is truly remarkable. At the Yukon Outfitters Association (YOA) we hope to continue to make it that way. As outfitters, we enjoy helping to provide unique hunting opportunities. As members of the YOA, we remain committed to the future of hunting, committed to conservation of wildlife and wild places, and committed to the Yukon outfitting heritage. On behalf of the YOA membership, we hope you can make the time to come up for a hunting adventure. The hunting adventure in the Yukon is truly remarkable. We at the YOA hope to continue to make it that way. Time to go hunting and enjoy the great wild places! Shoot straight and happy trails!

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SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL Science, Sentimentality & Politics

When confronted with science and Convention

Center,

saw

a

healthy

facts, they loftily espouse “the will of the increase in day traffic and brisk business

people,” forgetting that stewardship, for most exhibitors. The Greatest Both man and beast suffer when not ownership, of wildlife is the true Hunters’ Convention on the PlanetTM is emotion trumps logic. responsibility of the people and that one of Dallas’ largest, occupying 800,000 Today, more than ever, science plays a wildlife must be properly managed to square feet of exhibit space for four role in everyday life. Science surrounds survive in today’s world. days. us, from the daily weather forecast to the Though not required to attend the show, So should we inundate those politicians headache tablets we take “the morning with facts? Does it do any good? To DSC memberships are now at a steady after.”

So, why is science so readily

ignored for wildlife management?

paraphrase a song from the sixties: “a 6,352. More than 700 memberships were politician has two ends, a sitting end processed at the show, from people who

Generations of North Americans have and a thinking end; but since his whole believe in the DSC mission and want to been schooled in wildlife by Disney with career depends upon his seat, why step up and show support. The auctions lessons from “Bambi” to “The Lion King.” bother, friend?” and raffles raised more than $3 million. Together with increased urbanization, Safari Club International and Safari Once the 2019 grants are reviewed and this unrealistic view of wildlife has resulted in people today seeing nature

Club International Foundation, with approved, DSC will likely approve nearly members across Canada and the U.S., and $2 million to a variety of programs and

through sentimental lenses.

our on-going presence in both Ottawa

projects that advance its mission of

and Washington, tirelessly advocates

conservation, education, and advocacy.

As early as 1909, Theodore Roosevelt wrote: “...to protest against all hunting

for science-based wildlife management of game is a sign of softness of head, not nationally and in our provinces and soundness of heart.” But today, science- states. Colonel Roosevelt would agree

Convention Chairs Charlie and Winona Barnes said, “What happened here at Mogambo wasn’t about what we did, but

based wildlife management, including that this truly is “soundness of head.” well-regulated hunting, is secondary to John Boretsky, SCI

rather what the formidable team called

those who wish to see nature as they

part of it. There were so many special

imagine it to be, not as it is. As surely as a pack of wolves sees

DALLAS SAFARI CLUB

opportunity, DSC Convention Levels Up, Sets More some politicians see playing to the Records - 2019 Show A Big Success a

moose

calf

as

an

sentimentality of urbanites, far removed

The DSC Convention, Mogambo: Dagga

the DSC 100 did. We are grateful to be a stories about volunteers going above and beyond, of staff doing the impossible, and of the hotel and convention center taking care of our fantastic guests and exhibitors. All we can say is a huge

from nature, as a sure stepping stone to Boy Danger, held in Dallas in mid- thank you for this opportunity.” success. DSC President Karl Evans said, “I January at the Kay Bailey Hutchison

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019


shouldn’t be surprised, but this year’s

underway with planning the 2020 show.

will echo throughout wild sheep herds

convention was another example of

The theme is Heritage, and we will across the globe. Simply put, state, what a dedicated and passionate group improve and upgrade all the success provincial, tribal/First Nation agencies of volunteers, exhibitors and corporate we created at Mogambo. We cannot rely on the funding from WSF to ensure sponsors can accomplish together. I am

wait to invite the hunting world again wild sheep will continue to live on the both humbled and proud to be part of to Dallas.” landscape. Without that funding, wild this organization that does so much to Corey Mason, DSC sheep restoration would falter and fail. serve and advance the hunting industry.” In addition to the exhibit hall activity,

Sheep Show® results seem to directly WILD SHEEP FOUNDATION

a number of important meetings with Sheep Show® 2019 Wrap-Up industry and government officials took For the past 42 years, WSF has place, among them the inaugural meeting conducted an annual convention and of the DSC Conservation Advisory Board expo known as the Sheep Show®, which (CAB). This new group is charged with serves as the foundation’s premiere the mission of providing subject matter fundraising event. This year’s Sheep expertise with both regional and global Show® occurred February 7-9 in Reno, perspectives on needed research, program development and advocacy. Nevada at the Reno-Sparks Convention The CAB will advise and assist the DSC Center and Peppermill Resort Spa & Board and Grants Committee on domestic Casino.

correlate with wild sheep restoration efforts. As WSF staff is still tallying final numbers, roughly $8 million was raised in just three days at the event, which includes four evening banquets and fundraising auctions, a variety of raffles and other activities. This

year’s

banquet

attendance

increased by 26 percent, with over 2,000 people packed into the Tuscany

Ballrooms at the Peppermill on Friday Growth has been steady during the and international conservation issues to and Saturday Night. Hotel bookings ensure that DSC’s mission fulfillment is past 11 years, but this year was different. by WSF attendees were up 26 percent, This year, WSF not only increased the auction values were up 15 percent, and focused most appropriately. previous year’s numbers, we knocked general convention attendance was up said, “When we say the world comes them out of the park. an incredible 22.5 percent. Going into convention for a group like to Dallas, it’s true. We’ve had officials The bar has been raised, without and notable conservationists from WSF is always nerve-racking. Most of the any doubt. So, the wheels are already DSC Executive Director Corey Mason

around the world sit down to discuss entire budget is made within a three-day in motion for our 2020 Sheep Show®, important matters and to cooperate time frame, forcing every transaction to with donations already being accepted, on developing policies that conserve be extremely high-stakes, with more of a vendors lining up to reserve booth space wildlife worldwide.” Mason

continued,

“DSC

is

pass/fail mentality. If WSF fails to meet and other logistics being pinned down. well its fundraising goals, the ramifications With 2019 as the new benchmark, we MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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PREFERRED CONSERVATION PARTNERS

are aiming higher than ever to make the British Columbia.

GSCO will also be

Questioning authority is common-

elevating it support of national youth place, often encouraged. Bending the rules, it happens. Blurring the lines, and most meaningful yet. There can be programs. This expanded conservation program same thing. There are motives for each, no doubt that what we do in creating next convention and expo our greatest

is in addition to GSCO’s ongoing work

most of which are not all that honorable.

the mountains globally in realized in Mexico with Desert sheep and its wild sheep conservation initiatives. habitat.

But when it comes to Fair Chase,

our wildlife conservation efforts and process whereby we will examine those funding abilities. Right now, the forecast projects on a case-by-case basis that

ethical

this incredible event echoes across

what’s happening today is calculated, This represents a rather ambitious intentional, and telling all at the same This show is a funding mechanism, perhaps even a vector for awareness, departure from GSCO’s past conservation time. The elevated conversations taking but more importantly, it forecasts the funding initiatives. The GSCO board has effectiveness in the coming year of developed an in-depth and systematic place today about Fair Chase and an

is looking bright. Gray N. Thornton, President & CEO GRAND SLAM CLUB/OVIS Partnerships

approach

to

hunting

have

struck a nerve. There are folks who have a multi-year objective defined by a have clearly had enough of Fair Chase mission that fits into GSCO’s wheelhouse. and feel threatened by it. As with any It is our intention to rely on all of rules, principles or guidelines, there GSCO publications – digital and print – are inevitably some people who choose to bring even greater recognition to the to stand outside the lines and seek

progress and accomplishments of these acceptance by trying to move the line Well, 2018 was a transitional year for initiatives. We believe it is absolutely in their favor. If that’s not working, GSCO. It was a time of challenge and essential that the non-hunting public the next move is to try criticizing or unprecedented opportunity. In the last understand that without critical funding dismissing the line altogether. Like issue of Mountain Hunter, I talked about through the sale of hunting licenses and most things, if you want to know who, the importance of partnerships. Today, I permits, programs such as the Pittman- follow the money. am pleased to report that the GSCO Board Robertson Act, the Federal Duck Stamp, The deer breeding and canned of Directors, after much consideration, and wildlife conservation organizations shooting industries, their promoters in

has chosen to significantly raise the like GSCO, wildlife populations and their particular, have been ramping up their bar in its financial support of worthy natural habitat suffer. efforts to gain support for their brand It is the responsibility of every hunter conservation projects and programs. of “hunting” by placing a crosshair In 2019, GSCO will be supporting a – young and old – as a steward of the on Fair Chase. They are attempting to myriad of programs with the Nevada land and wildlife populations to ensure redefine Fair Chase to better fit their Bighorns Unlimited; the Guide Outfitters they continue to endure and thrive so business model, or pick it apart as some future generations can appreciate and Association of British Columbia loosely-defined, outdated tool that’s only enjoy their existence. (GOABC) and its ongoing challenge purpose is to divide sportsmen. You may Mark Hampton, Executive Director relating to the closing of grizzly bear have seen the “Hunt how you want to hunting,

and

other

initiatives;

the

Nebraska Game and Parks and a study already underway by the University of

BOONE & CROCKETT Redefining Fair Chase

hunt” or “We are all a band of brothers” movement. If not, keep an eye out for it, and let yourself be heard when you

South Dakota studying the DNA of wild

What do you do when a round peg do see it. sheep; the Wildlife Stewardship Council doesn’t fit into a square hole? Shave the Whether any of this will gain any real of British Columbia and its efforts to sides off the peg until it fits. This is what traction remains to be seen; however, provide valuable outdoor education to is happening to Fair Chase, but with a it is still disturbing to watch, and very the native populations; and an ungulate- band saw, not just a pocketknife, as was management

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program

in

northern

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

done in the past.

telling at the same time. These attempts are an affront to those who know what


PC PARTNERS (Cont.) Fair Chase is and what it is not, and choose to live by this code. Simply rearranging the words in its definition won’t change a thing, and certainly not its meaning and relevance. These attempts are also very telling. Since the vast majority of sportsmen believe Fair Chase is the only way to hunt, Fair Chase is therefore being viewed as a threat to the acceptance and growth of the deer breeding and canned shooting business. Sadly, there was a time when such nonsense would have been beaten to the margins right out of the gate. Commercial interests can be powerful, but apparently not powerful enough to diminish what has stood the test of time. Far too many sportsmen see Fair Chase as what’s good about hunting and critical to its future. If that’s what distinguishes hunters from shooters, maybe “separates” is a better word than “divides.” As for those looking to support Fair Chase and to challenge those uncomfortable with it, here is the Club’s long-standing definition: FAIR CHASE is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals. Keith Balfourd, Director of Marketing

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019


by Elyse Hagen

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019


So there we were. Three women in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from any road or civilization... It’s awe-inspiring how God puts you right where you need to be to learn the lessons he has for you.

Growing up in Minnesota, hunting has always been a part of my life. My father introduced me to the outdoors and showed me that the greatest part of hunting wasn’t the kill, but the memories created with each other. That lesson still holds true today, especially with my most recent hunting adventure.

B

eing the only girl in my family, hunting only with men was all I’d done, so when I took a trip to British Columbia with my father, I expected that I would again be the only woman. I was fine with it. I didn’t know any differently and it didn’t intimidate me. Little did I know that I was in for a life-changing experience. My dad and I had planned our moose hunt for several years. It was a hunt both of us had wanted to do together for such a long time. North River Outfitting stood out to us as being an integral part of the plan, so we chose them to guide us on our dream hunt. When we arrived at the base camp and got off the plane, I remember noticing two women standing outside to greet us. I simply assumed they were there to do the traditional cooking or cleaning at the base camp or perhaps they were there to hunt like me. My dad and I were brought into a room and introduced to our guide, which is where we met Miguela Minto – a woman! To say I was surprised was an understatement. I regretfully even had a tinge of disappointment. As a woman, I should have known better! Why should I doubt her? But, sadly, I did. Hunting with men was all I had ever known. Maybe I didn’t feel confident in myself or worthy enough to be a great hunter and projected that onto other women. However, I am grateful for the experience that was about to come, because those views are now forever changed. My dad and I started off our hunt in a spike camp together. I cherished that time with him. We would stand quietly outside of our tent in the morning, sipping on our hot beverages in nature’s wonderland. Taking it all in together. It was amazing how we didn’t have to say anything at all to know what the other was thinking and feeling. It was an amazing time for both of us. We hunted really hard for six days but unfortunately, we only saw cow moose and we were on the hunt for a bull. To maximize our hunt, it was decided that I and Miguela would move to another area. Lili, the other woman I had seen at camp, joined us. So there we were. Three women in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from any road or civilization. All from different backgrounds. Miguela Minto, guide from northern Alberta, Canada; Lili Carter, packer from New Zealand; and me, Elyse Hagen, from small town Minnesota, U.S.A. It’s aweinspiring how God puts you right where you need to be to learn the lessons he has for you. Here is our story: MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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We were together for a total of three days but by the end it, we felt as if we had known each other for years and years. We instantly clicked. Miguela and Lili were genuinely interested in learning more about me, my values and my goals. They valued my opinions and input during the hunt, which made me feel like a co-hunter and not a client – and incredibly worthy. They were clearly the professionals in this setting, but they never acted as though I was anything but their equal. We all had the same passion for hunting and that is what made the time with them unforgettable. After hunting hard for two days and still not seeing a bull, on the ninth day of my ten-day hunt we changed our approach and moved camp once again. Miguela and Lili never gave up. Their perseverant determination was contagious. We collectively never doubted ourselves, utterly convinced we would be going back to base camp with a bull moose. We strategically placed ourselves on a knoll towards the top of a mountain to glass miles and miles of land. We had been sitting for about an hour. The sun had just settled in behind a peak and the temperatures were dropping when Lili thought she spotted a dark spot down below. The spot quickly disappeared. We kept glassing the area heavily. The surroundings were thick and tall, shielding our view, but all of a sudden we could hear him scraping his antlers on the trees. With hearts pounding and senses heightened, we waited with bated breath to finally see what we had been hunting. After what seemed like forever – but was probably only a matter of minutes – a magnificent bull stepped out into the clearing about 150 yards away, displaying his huge rack. My eyes widened in awe of the sight and my breath caught in my lungs. Miguela told me to get my gun up quickly. She could tell I was nervous. One thing I never want to do is injure an animal and not find it. She looked at me and stated with utter conviction and confidence, “You. Can. Do. This.” I nodded as she placed her hand on my back as I took aim. I took one final exhale as the crosshairs found their mark. With one squeeze of the trigger, the giant bull fell to the ground. So many emotions and adrenaline overtook me all at once – it was the ultimate rush. I instantly started full-on bawling. I have never felt so empowered. We had worked so hard for that bull and I was so happy we had capitalized on the opportunity, together, as a team of bad-ass women. I cried because I missed my dad not being there. I cried because I knew he was going to be so proud. I cried because I had accomplished something that I had dreamed about for years with two beautiful women who will forever be my friends. I cried because that big, beautiful animal was going to provide many families with meat for the long winter. I cried tears of joy and accomplishment. Both Miguela and Lili celebrated with me as though it was their first moose too. Their eyes welled up with pride. They had video captured everything, and had snapped hundreds

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of pictures, knowing my dad was missing out and wanting him to see the full experience. I can never thank them enough for doing that. And then, the real work began. I had never skinned or quartered an animal that large before, but there was no way that Miguela and Lili were going to have me sit back and watch. Nope. This was all part of the hunt, after all, and they continued to ensure that I enjoyed every single part of it. I appreciated having two very patient teachers coaching me through the steps and, together, we disassembled the moose well into the darkness of the evening. We didn’t get back to camp until well after midnight. Even once tucked up in bed, it was a sleepless night for me. Maybe the wolves howling close to

us had a little to do with that... but I couldn’t stop replaying that afternoon over and over in my head. It had been a pivotal moment in my hunting career, and I wanted to take it all in so I wouldn’t forget a thing. Every moment of this most incredible experience is a story I will proudly tell over and over. The lessons learned in the bush will have a lasting impact. I will never, ever underestimate the power and knowledge of a woman. I will never, ever underestimate myself. I will always believe I can do anything, thanks to my friends Miguela Minto and Lili Carter. GIRLS ROCK!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact North River Outfitting at 780-675-1942 or visit their website at www.northriveroutfitting.com

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters Stan Stevens Recent Trophies

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

Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters

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

Ryan & Denise Damstrom 250.421.0476 | ryden@skcmail.ca

Sam Medcalf | 250.425.5531 sam@elkvalleybighorn.ca

elkvalleybighorn.ca MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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THE BRIDGE RIVER by Joe Gray Taylor, Jr

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“Joe, that is a really, really big bear,” “You know Joe, there is a boat back at the ranch,” whispered Todd Christie, my guide with BC Todd said, as much to himself as he did me as we hiked back to the truck for the drive back to camp. Crossing Trophy Mountain Outfitters.

H

e and I had hunted together successfully twice before; once for black bear and once for mule deer. Through both binoculars and the spotting scope, the old boar looked truly enormous to me. But for Todd to be impressed – well, that placed the big bear in a different category altogether. Unfortunately, the bear in question was grazing on spring grass over a kilometer away, on the far side of the largely-dry Carpenter Reservoir, with the flooding Bridge River roaring down the lake bed between us. We needed to make a plan. Moreover, it was late morning, and the old boar was already drifting back toward the treeline to bed. Whatever we did would have to be that afternoon and evening, or the next day. I had arrived at Kevan Bracewell’s unique ranch for an early May black bear hunt nearly a week before. I was accompanied by an old friend, Rick Bennett, who was experiencing British Columbia, black bear hunting, and the incredible Chilcotin Mountains for the first time. The drive up the mighty Fraser gorge and the equally-beautiful Bridge River drainage were as lovely as I remembered and seeing them through the eyes of a first-time visitor was especially rewarding. Rick is an old retired fighter pilot, so it is typically difficult for things vertical to impress him. Yet, even his eyes widened a bit as the van crept along a couple of slides with drops of hundreds of feet to the ribbon of water below. After a day of hunting, he commented, “You know Joe, they’re right – if you get tired up here, you can just sort of lean against it.” We both did a lot of leaning. Kevan is a product of the Canadian west. His mother, Gerry Bracewell, was British Columbia’s first woman to become a licensed hunting guide. She helped create the concept of the destination ranch for mountain hunting, and Kevan took the concept a step farther in the Chilcotin. Today, he hosts an array of international sportsmen seeking Canada’s incredible richness of mountain game. Because of the way he works within his territory to protect, manage, and develop a truly integrated approach to sustaining British Columbia’s wilderness, each of those hunters comes away with a uniquely-deep appreciation of this ecosystem. His commitment also assures an ideal destination for spring bear. But for the moment, my concerns were more immediate.

to the other side of the reservoir by vehicle was not an option to reach this bear. No road or trail would get us closer than 20 kilometers to where we had last seen him. Our only option would be an amphibious assault across the Bridge River and lake basin. And frankly, as a 30-year Army veteran and old Airborne Ranger, I found the idea of reliving a small boat operation more than just a little intriguing. For summer guests who wished to fish the area lakes, the ranch kept a diminutive 12-foot aluminum skiff. Designed with oars in mind, we quickly concluded that trying to launch into the fast current and get oars into action would be more complicated than practical. Instead, we opted for a sturdy canoe paddle and one of the oars to serve as combination paddle and push pole. A couple of life preservers, rifle, and pack rounded out our equipment. I had brought along my favorite “bear rifle,” a Sako Model 85 Arctos in 9.3x62. Though a bigger caliber than absolutely necessary for black bear, the Swift A-Frame bullets it loves are decisive on anything hit in the right place (more about that in a bit). The Leica scope it carries is extremely bright, and easily separates a dark animal like a black bear from the darkest background on a late afternoon hunt. By three in the afternoon, we had loaded our landing craft into the back of the truck and pulled out for the drive back to our initial vantage point. Upon stepping out onto the bench for a clear view, we immediately spotted the big boar grazing along the shoreline not two hundred meters from where we had last seen him in the late morning. From where we stood, the range finder said almost two kilometers in straight line to the bruin. However, we would have to carry the boat down a pretty good grade to get to the reservoir basin, then several hundred meters to the river, launch, and finally negotiate a meaningful stalk to get within shooting range. Our original, and perhaps wisest plan, was to tote the boat to the water’s edge, and leave it for an early morning try the next day. And yet, the bear was there, the wind was perfect, and we probably had just enough good light before the sun slipped behind the mountains plunging the river valley in early dusk. Todd looked over at the boat, looked up at the sun, and then back out toward the bear. “Well, what do you think, Joe?” We were there, the bear was there, and we had a chance of rain in the forecast. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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“Come on Todd. Let’s go shoot that bear!” The initial plunge down to the lake basin was less difficult than it had originally looked. The boat seemed to assume it was actually a toboggan, and pretty much slid itself several hundred meters to level ground. We helped it avoid the worst rocks and managed to keep from being run over by our singleminded craft. After reaching the lake bed, with neither us nor the boat any worse for wear, we had a moment to contemplate that the trip back up would likely prove a bit more demanding. But no need to think of that now. Rifle, pack, oar, and paddle went into the boat. I grabbed the rear, Todd lifted the front, and out we marched across the lake bed to what looked like a relatively quiet spot in a curve on the river. Fortunately, our bear was so far away, there was no chance of him seeing our strange procession as we angled in his direction. The lake bottom was solid, but we could see that it would be fairly treacherous and muddy at the river’s edge. Rubber boots would have likely been a wise addition to our equipment list, but we were now committed. The river in the middle of the reservoir basin was no small obstacle. At the point we chose to cross, it was approximately 60 meters wide, probably five to six feet deep at mid-point, and flowing with the sort of current everything does in that part of the world. We edged the boat about a third of the way into the river, and Todd scrambled into the front with the oar. I shoved us out at a downstream angle, and with a final, muddy push we were afloat. Neither of us tried to pay too

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much attention to the mere four inches of freeboard on either side as we paddled frantically for the far bank. We both stroked with all the power we could muster, and the oar proved ideal in Todd’s hands to both keep us pointed in the right direction and to avoid snags. I was free to power stroke as hard as I could with the paddle to maintain our momentum across the current. We were both acutely aware that any loud bang against our aluminum assault craft could send our quarry dashing for the nearby tree line. I could sense the shades of those tough old NCO Instructors at the US Army Ranger School critically watching our every effort. After what seemed to be a very long time and enormous amount of work we ground against the far bank. I suspect the actual crossing took little more than five minutes, however seemingly endless at the time. The bear was feeding away from us approximately fivehundred meters from our landing point. We had about 200 meters of open basin to cover before a rise in the lakeshore would shield our approach. I quietly worked the action of the Sako, insured it was on safe, and then we eased up to our place of concealment. Edging over the low crest, I saw I could make my way unseen to a stump which, while kneeling, would make a steady rest. Todd was right behind me and whispered, “185 yards” as he watched the big boar through his range finder. I took a few moments to settle my breathing and placed the cross hairs low in bear’s chest – in hindsight, a bit too low for that range and that bullet – and fired.


The bear was standing almost broadside on a steep embankment which marked the normal shoreline when the reservoir was full. It was this band of soil which nurtured some of the spring’s first grass. At the shot, the bear tumbled, bawling down the slope. As I stood, I chambered another round, making ready should I have to make sure he was down. “He’s up!” yelled Todd. Absolutely the last thing I wanted to hear. I ran forward about 30 feet where I had a clear view of the big boar, now racing up the embankment toward the tree line. The first shot had broken his foreleg, passing through the thick hair just below his chest. I kicked myself for deliberately taking the low chest shot as I swung through him as he ran. The first follow-up shot went approximately a foot in front of his nose. The next missed forward by an inch, and the third centered him, dropping him in his tracks. Not the best shooting I had ever done, but then again, a running bear at nearly 200 yards isn’t the easiest target. For most inexperienced bear hunters, all bears look large when alive. And no other game animal seems to shrink so much upon approach. However, this one simply grew bigger as we walked towards him. It was all we could do to push him up onto the log he had fallen against to take a picture or two as the sun began to dip below the mountain tops. Obviously, we had no means to weigh him on the far side of the river, and it would have taken half a dozen men and a much larger boat to get him back across. If there was ever a candidate for a wilderness black bear to push the four-hundred-pound mark, this was one. We quickly set to work skinning him. Neither Todd nor I relished the idea of spending the night on the far shore with a bear carcass in grizzly country. With dusk approaching, we were able to stuff all the hide but the head into Todd’s large pack. We covered the carcass and would return to bone out the meat early the next morning. With my guide staggering under the cape’s weight, and me carrying the remainder of our gear, we stumbled down to our trusty landing craft. Probably because we had done it once, the trip back across the river seemed marginally less frantic. Though, I could not help but notice that our little skiff was sitting significantly lower in the water. The hike back up out of the reservoir basin is one both of us would likely as soon forget. We finally hit upon a system where I walked

directly behind Todd, cradling the bear’s head in my arms while he pushed on with the balance of the cape still in the pack. With darkness falling, we left the boat at the river’s edge for the meat recovery early in the morning; a task we successfully accomplished with far less drama than our initial amphibious assault the evening before. The next evening, my friend Rick also took a fine bear, and with mine in the salt, Todd and I were free to accompany him and his guide on that hunt. We celebrated a truly incredible forty-eight hours. It was the perfect conclusion to our week in British Columbia. Two days later I was aboard a flight climbing out of Vancouver. As I stared out the window at the vast coastal mountain ranges of British Columbia, I felt such gratitude that there were still a few remaining places like the Pacific Northwest where hunter, hiker, and camper could experience some measure of what was once the immensity of the North American wilderness. It was also comforting to know that far-sighted Canadians like Kevan Bracewell were doing all in their power to assure new generations would embrace the ethics of stewardship to protect that eco-system for future generations. I already was planning my return. Joe Gray Taylor, Jr. is a former U.S. Army Major General and retired Defense Industry executive. He has hunted Canada, Africa, and South America numerous times. He and his lovely wife Nancy make their home on a small ranch in Texas with their four Vizslas.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reach BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters at 1-800-215-0913 or visit their website at www.bctrophymountainoutfitters.com MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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

Gundahoo River Outfitters MUNCHO LAKE, BC

QUINTIN THOMPSON

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

gundahoo.com Proud Member

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

Proud Member

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


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


GUIDES gallery

Bob Stockwell, CA with spring bear. MH Record Book (18 11.16) Bowdens of Cariboo Mountain Outfitters donated this hunt to GOABC in 2018 and their grandson Bentley was in on the stalk.

Brent Kelly, BC. Dall sheep with Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters. Carly Peters and her Canada moose with guide Ryan Renaud of Copper River Outfitters.

Pascal Schroeijers. Alaska Yukon moose with Nahanni Butte Outfitters.

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This doesn’t happen every day! Father, Jesus Terrats and his two sons Pablo and Ignacio harvest a triple-header of goats with Scoop Lake Outfitters.


Gundahoo River Outfitters guide Isaac Thompson with Dillon Baloun, SD. Mountain goat.

Jeff Knight, CO. Canada moose harvested with Skinner Creek Hunts.

Frank Radtke, WI with elk. Taken with Bugle Basin Outfitters.

Rob Register, GA. Alaska Yukon moose with NWT Outfitters.

WANT TO SEE YOURSELF IN THE GUIDES GALLERY?

Mike Satran, OR. Mountain goat with Love Bros. & Lee.

Mike Duplan, CO with Stone sheep. Backcountry BC and Beyond, guide Dan Watson.

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

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2019 Convention WHY WE HUNT

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A

B

Annual General Meeting A. Brandon Ponath of Fire Mountain Outfitters Ltd. and his daughter Lydia test out the draw saddle made by Monty Warren of Tuchodi River Outfitters and sponsored by Northern Guides.

C

B. Great conversations about wildlife management with MLAs Greg Kyllo, John Rustad, GOABC Executive Director Scott Ellis, Doug Clovechok, Tom Shipitka, and Mike Morris. C. Brad Siemens of the Wild Sheep Society visits with Corey Piersol of SITKA Gear and guide Nathan French.

D

D. David Beranek of Packhorse Creek Outfitters holds government to task on their wildlife and habitat management decisions.

Ron Fleming of Love Bros. & Lee Ltd. is the lead plaintiff in the class action suit against the BC government regarding the grizzly bear closure.

Staff Sargent Lockwood and K9 partner Kilo of the BC Conservation Officer Service are one of two such teams in the province. Together they locate illegal bear galls, recover evidence such as shell cartridges and firearms, and track human suspects. AGM, Wine Tour, and Krieghoff Shoot photos by Brenda Gibson. Fun Night, Awards Night, and Auction photos by Okanagan Photography. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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Fun Night

Corey Piersol of SITKA Gear, Gray Thornton of Wild Sheep Foundation, Keith Balfourd of Boone and Crockett Club and Dave Charleton of BC Wildlife Federation participate in our Canadian Citizenship Test. A. South battles North in Outfitter Family Feud. Matt Leuenberger, Doug McMann, Penny Lloyd, Monty Warren, Fraser MacDonald and Ron Fleming. B. Last Campfire toast by Ron Fleming, remembering all those the industry lost this past year.

B

C. Mike Young awards a chainsaw and trip to Melvin Kilback, winner of the Early Trip Donor draw. D. Aaron Fredlund and Scott Ellis draw one lucky member to win the saddle made by Monty Warren. E. Aaron Fredlund and Riley Leuenberger admire Riley’s new saddle.

C

A 28 |

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MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

E


Wine

Tour

C A

D A. Joanne Sibley and Dixie Hammett share a laugh. B. The award-winning wines of Sperling Vineyards. C. Tour participants sample “Bling” at The View Winery.

B

D. The wine tour group met up with the Krieghoof Shoot group for lunch at Michaelbrook Golf Club. John and Anita Andre, Nadine and Jim Lancaster, and Terrie-Lynn Young. PHONE: Cherie Maitland, Lori Bowden, Lynn Pichette and Erika Bowing.

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B

A

t o o h S f f Kriegho

C A. Doug McMann observes as Krieghoff representative Nick Boerboon outlines the features of the Krieghoff 9.3 x 74 double rifle. B. Life Member Conrad Nunweiler lines up the Semprio chambered in a 9.3 x 62. C. Range captain observes Madison Olsen shoot trap. D. Nick Boerboon prepares Darwin Cary for firing the 470 Nitro Express.

Madison Olsen and Miguela Minto model the Krieghoff Semprio rifles.

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A

C A. Brandi Olmstead enjoys her turn at the five stand. B. Guide Miguela Minto and Garrett Long of Wild Sheep Foundation enjoy the spectacular weather and venue.

B

C. Speed shoot competitors Aaron Fredlund, Nathan French, Miguela Minto, Garrett Long and Corey Piersol point to their individual results. Event sponsor Nick Boerboon of Krieghoff USA with range officer #1, Scott Pichette, Kiff Covert, Courtney and Julie McMann, Darryl Sword, Doug McMann and range officer #2.

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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s d r a w A Night

A

A. The sell-out crowd browses the auction items and enjoys the buzz in the room. B. Attendees enjoying the conversation throughout the evening. C. Five brave men provide a couple rounds of comedic relief as they attempt to get their balls in their baskets. Renee Halun and Brad Siemens, Melvin and Tami Kilback, Gray Thornton and Alisa Siemens, and Keith and Susan Dinwoodie laugh and dance the night away.

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C

B


Amber Booker and Scott Ellis present the Lady of the Year award to Dixie Hammett.

Keith Balfourd of Boone and Crockett Club laughs as Brandon Ponath and Ron Fleming accept the Fair Chase Award on behalf of winners Reg and Ray Collingwood.

Corey Piersol of SITKA Gear with Guide of the Year winner, Luke Bennett, and Scott Ellis.

Mark Hampton of Grand Slam Club Ovis presents the Frank Steward Award to Mike Danielson.

Sean Olmstead presents the President’s Award to GOABC staff member Jennifer Johnson.

Fraser MacDonald being congratulated as Outfitter of the Year by last year’s winner Bruce Ambler.

2019 Legacy Award Winners Brad and Lori Bowden, Stu and Cherie Maitland, Tyler Leuenberger, Monty and Samantha Warren, Mike Young, Kellie and Leif Olsen, and Craig Kiselbach.

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B

A

A. Spotter Stu Maitland watches for the next bid. B. Mike Young, Ray Jackson and Clayton Steffey. C. Beautiful auction assistant Courtney McMann displays a burl bowl with Emily and Joe Covert in the foreground. D. Doug McMann considers placing a bid on a pair of Kenetrek Mountain Boots. E. Ray Jackson raises the stakes at the silent auction table.

C

A fixture at GOABC’s annual fundraiser, auctioneer Keith Dinwoodie keeps the bids rolling in.

D

The Auction E 34 |

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019


Thank You 72 Hours

To All Our Supporters

CBI Solar

Jackson Five Photography

Ray Weins Taxidermy

Adega on 45 Estate Winery

CC Industries

Jennifer Johnson

Robson Valley Outfitters

Advanced Industrial Group

Chateau Victoria Hotel

Jurassic Classic

Rod Brandenburg

Advanced Marine Power

Chilako Valley Outfitters

Justin Young Fine Art

Savage Encounters Inc.

Alberta Professional Outfitters Society

Colorado Cylinder Stoves

Keith’s Custom Ammo

SCI Canada

Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding

Corlane Sporting Goods

Kenetrek Boots

Sierra Dawn Products

Antler Carvings

Dallas Safari Club

Kettle River Guides & Outfitters

Sikanni River Outfitters

Ashnola Guide Outfitters

Dave Campbell

Krieghoff International Inc.

SITKA Gear

BC Trappers Association

Delta Grand Okanagan Resort

KUIU

Sports Afield Magazine

BC Trophy Mountain Outfitters

Deluxe Wall Tents

Lakes District Air Services Ltd.

Stone Glacier

BC Wildlife Federation

Doug and Julie McMann

Leica Canada Inc.

Stone Mountain Safaris Ltd.

Benson Law LLP

Driftwood Valley Outfitters Ltd.

Lonesome Mountain Outfitters Ltd.

Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre

Besa River Outfitters Ltd.

Manuela Schneider

McCowan’s Sporting Adventures

Swarovski Optic

Bill Pastorek

Eureka Peak Lodge & Outfitters Ltd.

McMillan LLP

Terminus Mountain Outfitters

Boone & Crockett Club

Explorer Satellite Communications Inc.

Mountain Spirit Outfitters Inc.

The Hayfield Yoga and Wellness Retreat

Bowron River Guiding

Fire Mountain Outfitters

Mountain Sunrise Enterprises

The Tulameen Adventure Company

Bradley Smoker Inc.

Fredlund Guide Service

Mystery Ranch

TM Outfitting

Brandt Tractor

Gentec International

Nikwax North America

Wajax Industrial

Brenda Nelson

Gowling WLG

North River Outfitting

Wendy Cary

Briden Solutions

GSI Outdoors Inc.

Northern Mat and Bridge LP

Whiteswan Lake Outfitters

Cabela’s

Guy Scott

O’Loughlin Trade Shows

Wild Sheep Foundation

Camp Chef

Hard Core Archery / Logos N Stitches

Prestige Hotels and Resorts

Wild Sheep Society of BC

Caribou Chilcotin Guide Outfitters Association

Itcha Mountain Outfitters

Quails’ Gate

Yahk Mountain Outfitters

Cariboo Mountain Outfitters

Italian Sporting Goods

Ram Creek Outfitters

Yukon Big Game Outfitters

th

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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2018 Story Contest winners 3RD TIME’S A CHARM & AN ADVENTURE - Bob Spoerl featuring Tuchodi River Outfitters

On the last full day of our twelve-day hunt, my son, Mitch, had taken his first moose, a beautiful big bull with one clean shot. What an unbelievable hunt. Then the work began. First removal of the cape. Then the quarters. I was skinning the head for a European mount while Richard, our guide with Tuchodi River Outfitters, was finishing up with the loins. Mitch was on the lookout for “company”. ....Read more in our Spring 2018 Issue

ASHNOLA TRIPLE HEADER - Christian Obresley & Eric Meis featuring Ashnola Guide Outfitters

At the 2013 SCI Convention in Reno, Nevada, my partner, Erik, and I had the good fortune to meet Darrell Schneider and his father at the Ashnola Guide Outfitters’ booth. We had an interesting and fun discussion about bear hunting, especially the thrill of hunting with dogs. We booked a five-day, two-bear hunt as a high school graduation present for Spencer, my son. Little did we know it would turn into a triple header....Read more in our Spring 2018 Issue

WHEN HARD WORK PAYS OFF - Brett Marcaisini featuring Circle M Outfitters

When you first arrive in this type of environment, there is a wide range of emotions you experience. From the sheer beauty of what your eyes are registering for the first time, to the terror and excitement that in a few hours you are going to be climbing into it for ten days. Country like this makes a man feel extremely small and no training in the gym can completely prepare you for what you are about to endure....Read more in our Spring 2018 Issue

Tim & Astrid Faiers SOUTHEASTERN BC TEL/FAX

250.225.3551

1712 Eastman Avenue, Riondel BC V0B 2B0

shadowmtguides@bluebell.ca 36 |

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

shadowmountainoutfitters.ca


Hunt Northwest British Columbia Mountain Goat

.

Canadian Moose Wolf Wolverine

.

.

Black Bear

PO Box 2842, Smithers, BC, Canada, V0J 2N0 Phone: 0046 73 520 54 56 or 250-876-1322 info@atnaoutfitters.com . www.atnaoutfitters.com

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

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

Hunt the Beautiful Mackenzie Mountains

Trophy Dall Sheep Mountain Caribou Moose Wolves Wolverine MYO Tim & Jen Mervyn

www.yukonsheep.com

Email: myo@yukonsheep.com Phone: (867) 633-6188 Box 33036 Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 5Y5

For A First Class…Fair Chase Hunt… contact:

email:

HAROLD GRINDE • Box 528, Rimbey, AB T0C 2J0

ph: (403) 357-8414 ganariver@pentnet.net web: www.ganariver.com

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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STICKS and

STONE’S by Marv Clyncke

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The big ram was only five yards away, totally oblivious to the presence of the predator so close by. I could see his eyelashes move and the flair of his nostrils as his lazy, relaxed breathing seemed to belie the coiled springs that could unravel and propel him out of his bed in a split-second if – no, when – he discovered my closeness. I had to ease out another two steps to take the shot as the great ram was backed up under the shade of a dead tree lying at an angle out of the cut bank. I started to ease my right foot forward ever so slowly, telling myself over and over in my mind, “Don’t foul up now!”

I

was having a wonderfully-hard time even comprehending that I was here and in this position, a dream come true for a bowhunter, especially one addicted to hunting sheep. This hunt had started 33 years ago when I was 21-years old and had just finished my first Colorado sheep hunt. One year previously, in 1959, I had been introduced to Colorado’s premier sheep man, Cliff Moser, a biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He lived only two miles from my home in Boulder, so my hunting partner, Ed Pancost, and I went over to his house one evening to talk about these bighorn sheep. Unknowingly, that evening would change the whole outlook of our hunting and forever set a goal in my life. Cliff told us all about sheep and their habits, where they could be found, and how to go about applying for a permit. The bug was planted! We drew permits the first time we applied and were set down a path that only sheep addicts know. My whole life became obsessed with finding, photographing, hunting, and talking sheep. After that first hunt – when we didn’t even get to see a legal ram in 13 days – we were hooked. That’s when the dream of hunting anywhere sheep were found started permeating my mind. We talked to other hunters who had hunted bighorns, desert, Dall’s and Stone’s sheep – the grand slam, as the four species are referred to. Other than the bighorn, we would have to hunt Arizona or Nevada for desert sheep, Alaska or Canada for Dall’s sheep, and the most beautiful of all the sheep, the Stone’s, in Canada, particularly British Columbia. We knew it would be tough to hunt any of the out-of-state rams because of the great expense and time it took to hunt them. But still we dreamed. In 1977, when I was on my ninth hunt, I arrowed a good bighorn in the Buffalo Peaks area of central Colorado with my recurve bow. All these years and hunts had only added to my enthusiasm and addiction for sheep. I was always dreaming of Dall’s in the great wilderness of the north, but most especially, of the beautiful Stone’s in British Columbia. One of the least hunted and most desirable of all the sheep, I read everything I could get my hands on about Stone’s sheep. Fred Bear had given me an autographed picture of him and his great Stone’s ram that was the world record for what seemed like forever. He had sent me the photo and a short treatise on sheep hunting that he said I could use for a book if I ever wrote one. This gift from Fred remains one of my prized possessions. I had sat down with Fred at a Pope and

Young Club Board session and he told me the story of his sheep hunt for the Stone’s. From that day on those beautiful sheep with the black body and white neck and face were a constant companion in my dreams. Someday, somehow, I would bow hunt for a Stone’s. In 1989, my good friend and neighbor, Dave Suitts, bought an interest in Scoop Lake Outfitters, in the great Rocky Mountain trench of British Columbia. I received an immediate invitation to go sheep hunting with Dave, as he had become an avid and successful sheep hunter. Dave was a rifle hunter – I never could convert him to bow hunting, although I tried – and he and his father took nice rams out of Scoop Lake. He would come home and fill me with stories of the many rams in this area and the other abundant game around Scoop Lake. Despite Dave’s earlier invitation, my opportunity wouldn’t come until 1993 when our five kids had all left home and the economy had turned around from the drastic ‘80s. I told Dave that if he knew of any cancellations to let me know. The last week of July, Dave called and said, “Be in Watson Lake, Yukon on the 10th of August.” I was stunned! Finally, after all these years and dreaming, I was going after Stone’s! I immediately started putting the gear together. I didn’t have much time, only ten days to put it all in place. Thank the Lord for a wonderful wife! Judy immediately booked a flight to Watson Lake. Over the years and 30 sheep hunts gone by – ten of my own and the rest with Judy, our sons, and various friends – I had whittled my equipment down to just what I needed and no more. I had been shooting my Bighorn longbow for six years and I was over-anxious to try it on sheep. I had taken deer, elk and rocky mountain goat with the 64-inch, 55-pound take-down longbow, and I had all the confidence in the world in my weapon. Fred Asbell knew of my love of sheep hunting and had made the tip overlays and the front of the riser overlay of bighorn sheep horn. I was certainly ready bow-wise. I had my cedarwood arrows in an aluminum case that I had built myself many years ago, as I had found out early that a good arrow case was a must, and that the plastic variety just didn’t cut it in rough country. After all my meticulous packing, I arrived at Watson Lake without any luggage at all. I was met by Darwin Cary, the outfitter from Scoop Lake. He was also the pilot who ferried all the hunters for Scoop Lake. The Air Canada folks assured me that my gear would arrive the next morning. Darwin MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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would fly over the next day and land on the lake with my gear in the Cessna 185. My guide, 61-year-old Howard Rankin, was one of the great old horse packers and guides of the area. He had been at it for 50 years and was as good as they came. He had horses ready to go and we rode out to the west into the famous Cassiar Mountain sheep country. I had to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t all a dream! We would be hunting in a huge old burn – over a hundred thousand acres – that hadn’t been hunted in 12 years. It was very dense with blow-down, burnt trees scattered like matchsticks, making it impossible to walk and even hard to negotiate on horseback. We were into the mountains, going straight up the first very steep hill, when I spotted a ram. And what a beauty he was. A tremendous 41”, full curl, broomed off on the right side to 38”. He had been lying in the bottom of a draw enjoying the sunshine when we disturbed him. I was shocked! He was in a brushy area no self-respecting sheep should ever be in. Only trouble was, he saw us at about the same time and was on the move, headed for higher ground. We watched as this beautiful ram disappeared over the top of the mountain, then resumed our climb. I would never have believed that we could ride a horse up such a steep place. It had to be close to a 50-degree angle up that slope! Those tough old mountain horses just kept going. We topped the second mountain above where we’d seen the ram, and Howard spotted him again, making his way up an open hillside to a blow-down, rocky-ridge top about 800 yards ahead of us. We bailed off the horses and watched the ram for an hour or so until he laid down behind a large dead log, about ten yards from the ridge top. He was a beauty, very white for a Stone’s sheep with black splotches all over his hide. He was in an ideal spot for a stalk. I moved out while Howard watched from there. I had to cross a deep gully and climb up through

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a rocky outcropping to get behind the ram. I was about 100 yards below the top when I felt a breeze against the back of my neck. I looked up in time to see the big ram walk over the top and stare down at me. Darn! But, what a sight. My first Stone’s sheep, sky-lighted against a beautiful blue sky. Then he was gone, and we never saw him again. I had to sit down just for the sake of the moment. My thoughts turned to a dreamy wonderland. I was gazing out over a vast wilderness, more beautiful than words could ever describe. It flowed with stories of great old-time hunters and huge rams, taken by men like Earl Boose, Frank Cook and G.C.F. Dalziel... and of course the finest of all trophies, the Chadwick ram, 51-5/8” on the long horn. I could visualize the great ram, standing on a rock looking down at me as the broomed-off ram had done, king of this vast, untamed world. Back astride my horse, Howard and I spotted three rams on a mountain top several miles away, and headed the horses in that direction. Hours later we were on the mountain, had tied the horses, and I started around to where I hoped the rams would be. This old burn was thick – like a jungle. This country had been burned by the Aboriginal people many years before, as they knew the fires would greatly increase the useable habitat for the game populations. Coupled with the almosttropical amounts of moisture, a forest of incredible denseness with a myriad of twisted, fallen, burned trees laid before us. Most of the area was so remote that the only trails had been made by game animals and were difficult to follow. As we moved around the mountain, I was very careful, constantly watching the ground for not only sheep sign, but for sign of another worrisome resident, the mountain grizzly. I didn’t relish the idea of walking into one, as my trusty longbow didn’t have that much stopping power! Eventually, we spotted a small ram feeding on a bench 300 yards below. The other two were bedded just to the right. I watched for a while until he lay down, then started my stalk. The largest ram – the only legal sheep – was the farthest to the right. He was about 15 yards from a large boulder, so I made that my goal. Get up to the boulder, step out and lace him. One small problem: we first had to make sure he was legal, a full curl, which meant that one horn tip must be above the bridge of his nose, or he must be eight years old. Several times on my stalk through the brush on this hill I would glass the ram as he would raise his head and look around. He was definitely legal – a full curl and then some, as both horns were well above the bridge of the nose. I was having a hard time determining if he was eight at this distance, even though I was now only 50 yards from him. I had looked at and aged hundreds of rams over the years, but bighorns have more pronounced rings than the thin-


horned sheep of the north. I decided to get to the rock and then try to make a quick count before I sent my arrow on its way. After an eternity I reached the rock and ever so slowly peeked out. The ram had his head up so I carefully looked through my binoculars and he obliged me by turning his head enough so I could see the side of his horns. He was eight. I slowly stepped out. The ram would have to stand before I could shoot, as I couldn’t see any of his body. I also had to watch the two small rams out of the side of my left eye to make sure they didn’t spook and get in the way. I was anything but calm and collected! First day of the hunt, second Stone’s sheep I had ever laid eyes on, and a big full curl at 15 yards! I was shaking like an aspen leaf in a storm, my knees were turning to rubber, and a million thoughts were running through my mind! Suddenly, the ram sprang up and faced me. In the same instant, I pulled and released for a straight on…chest shot! Dumb! The arrow went right along side the ram and disappeared in space. The ram whirled and SLOWLY trotted over to the other two as I frantically went for another arrow. Together they leisurely trotted up the hill, but the big ram was between the smaller two, no chance for a shot. I had to sit down. I was overwhelmed at the realization that I had gotten that close to a good full curl on the first day. And then it hit me how bad my call had been in all the excitement. I had made a bad mistake by taking the shot too quickly at a poor target. If I had just waited a few seconds until the ram turned sideways, I would have had the perfect shot. Oh well, I reasoned, I would miss out on a lot of great hunting if I filled the tag on the first day. Unfortunately, while we saw many rams throughout the rest of the week, the chances just didn’t materialize. When we rode out of the Cassiars toward Scoop Lake days later, I vowed somehow, some way I would be back. This was sheep hunting heaven. I was like a little kid at Christmas when Dave came by the house in late June of ’94 and said he had a cancellation, would I like to go again? I emphatically said yes. About all I had been thinking about for ten months was hunting Stone’s again. Again, my beautiful bride stood by me and went to work helping me make arrangements. August 10th arrived in a rush, and I was back on a plane headed for British Columbia. Flying over the wilderness of British Columbia gave me time to reflect on last year’s hunt and think about the things I would do differently this trip. Ha! One

I glassed ahead every few steps. I can’t stress how important good optics are for hunting sheep, or for any other game.

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doesn’t ever have time to think about what’s going to happen when you’re a few yards from a great animal. If it doesn’t happen instinctively, it’s probably going to happen wrong. We landed at Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, changed to a smaller plane, and hopped over to Watson Lake. Darwin was again waiting for me at the airport and after some happy greetings we had lunch, and were soon loaded and airborne in the 185 on floats, winging south for Scoop Lake – this time with all my gear! It was very hazy, like a giant thin cloud obscuring the country. I was amazed when Darwin explained it was smoke from many forest fires burning in the Northwest Territories, 350-500 miles away! Fires are not fought in such a vast wilderness, so they burn until they get rained out or burn out. Darwin said the hunters from the first hunt period had a difficult time spotting game because of the smoke. I began praying for rain by the time we landed at Scoop Lake – and it rained during the night! I was ready. After a great meal done up in Darwin’s wife Wendy’s fine fashion, we loaded my gear back in the plane and flew to an outcamp, high in the Cassiar mountains. Fabian Porter, the Kaska First Nations guide I was to hunt with was still out with another hunter, so Darwin put me with Joe Sorenson and Jost Bieri for a three-day exploration hunt into a remote drainage that hadn’t been hunted by Scoop Lake in eight to ten years. Initially I wondered why so much of their hunting area didn’t

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get hunted but found out in a hurry. Scoop Lake has 4,000 square miles – that’s over two and a half million acres – of wilderness to hunt, and with the small number of hunters and the remoteness of the country, they just don’t get into some of it. We saw some rams in the three-day outing, but no chances. We packed back to camp where Darwin flew me over to another outcamp to start my hunt with Fabian and Michael Porter, the horse wrangler. We immediately loaded the horses for a trip into another seldom-hunted area – in fact, Fabian had never even been there before. We rode a full day into the high mountains, seeing numerous moose and many rams, but none legal. We also saw several caribou, a rarity in this area. We found an old campsite next to a small creek, with plenty of feed for the ten horses. Fabian and Michael hobbled the horses and set up a large tarp for a lean-to to sleep under while I pitched a three-man dome tent that they provided for the ‘dude’ bowhunter. After the chores were done, I got my bow out for my daily practice. I like to shoot in the actual hunting area to get used to the distances and use a judo tipped arrow for practice. I shoot purely instinctive and thirty yards is my maximum distance, but I prefer five to 15 yards, as to me, bow hunting is about stalking as close to the quarry as I can. It’s the ultimate challenge and I’ve always worked hard at getting close to game.


After a good breakfast we were on our way to the high country which was across the valley from camp. In this area we would be mostly above timberline which was about 4,000 feet elevation – a little different than the tree-line in Colorado at 11,000 feet! The highest mountain in the whole area was only 8,000 feet, but oh, what a rugged and rough 4,000 feet above timberline. We saw several bunches of ewes and lambs but were well into the afternoon and many miles from camp before we spotted rams. I tried a stalk on the one legal ram in the group, but again no luck. We crossed over into another drainage, saw two groups of rams, but I ended up with no shots. It was getting late and we were 14 miles or so from camp. We dropped down into the creek bottom and turned towards camp. We probably had 30- 45 minutes of twilight left and weren’t relishing the ride in unfamiliar country in the dark. I happened to glance up the creek. About three hundred yards away I saw what appeared to be a black and white animal run around the corner, swap ends and run back out of sight. I hollered “sheep!” but it was gone by the time Fabian and Michael looked up. Then just as suddenly, there it was again, and we could see it wasn’t a sheep – it was a grizzly! It only appeared to be black and white with the twilight glowing on the beautiful silver-tipped coat. The bear was gone in an instant again, so we mounted up and headed up the creek.

Fabian said we didn’t need to worry as the wind was blowing right up the creek to the bear. Ten minutes later when we rounded the corner, I almost came unglued! On the hillside 80 yards away was a beautiful sow grizzly and two 300-pound cubs. The bears stood upright to see what we were as I snapped a picture at 200mm. I instantly advanced the film, backed the lens off to 80mm for a second shot. In the same instant the old sow dropped to all fours and with a God-awful bawl came straight for us! Fabian hollered, “Get the hell out of here and cross the creek!” I frantically kicked my old gray horse and he just stood there watching the other horses run. Fabian was screaming at me to get out of there, but that ol’ horse wasn’t going anywhere. He just wasn’t afraid as he had probably seen many bears in his lifetime in the wilderness. I was kicking and whipping him with my reins as that old sow was bearing down on us. The horse finally jumped across the creek just before the grizzly got to us! Fabian was off his horse and had a bead on the old girl with his Remington .308. He was within an instant of pulling the trigger when the bear stopped short at the water’s edge, wheeled around and ran back to the cubs! Whew! Man, I can’t even describe the fear! That unbelievable, roaring bawl was etched in my mind – permanently. Nobody said a word as we carefully watched the bears. They crossed upstream from us and again mama started to circle towards us. Fabian swung up on his horse and we plowed across the stream and up the drainage as fast as we could maneuver the rocky bottom. Fabian turned and asked, “Well, what did you think of that?” “I think that scared the hell clear out of me!” I blurted out. MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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The next few days were filled with looking at rams, stalks and blown chances, but I was having a ball. The problem was always the same. Small rams – obviously hired guards – would spot me at 30 yards or less, would take the whole bunch on a run to the next mountain. On day ten we ran out of food. These guys were not used to having to go more than a few days to get a ram – for a rifle hunter. Fabian said we needed to ride out to the main camp for more food. “No way!” I objected. “We’re having too much fun and going out and back will cost us two days.” I’ll never forget what Fabian did. He folded his arms, got a stern look on his face and said, “White man survive, Indian survive!” We all laughed and went hunting! Also, from the first day I had blown a stalk, Fabian said “Take my rifle”. “No,” I responded. “I’m bow hunting.” On the ninth day he again told me to take his rifle, making it about the fifth time he’d told me that. I again turned him down. He finally said, “You’re not going to shoot one with the rifle, are you?” The 13th morning we were riding around the end of a high ridge when Michael suddenly pointed down towards the valley bottom. There were twelve rams lying on a grassy hillside between two slide areas several hundred yards above the creek. Too late – they saw us and were off and running. We glassed them as they split up, one bunch going over a low ridge as the other six went down the drainage into the bottom. One of these rams was a good 41-42” ram. They milled around in the bottom for perhaps 15 minutes, when all of a sudden, the big ram walked up the other side of the creek bank onto a washed-out hillside just below some dark timber and laid down. What a break! I immediately planned a stalk as they were all within 5-10 yards of the edge of the timber. The dirt slide area they were in was an eroded, inverted V-shaped slide about 50 yards high and 20 yards wide at the top. If we could keep the wind in our favor, we could sneak right down on top of them through the timber, provided they remained there. We took off over the ridge and trotted around the mountain and down to the creek bottom three-quarter

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mile above the rams. We could keep track of them until we crossed the creek, then we would have to rely on the flag and landmarks we’d memorized. We found a good game trail up the far side that ran to the top of the timber. When we were 400 yards above where I thought the rams were, we started down through the timber. As soon as we stepped into the trees, we were on our own. We were about 100 yards above the sheep when suddenly I heard a loud crash and saw dust rising above the trees. Two of the rams were butting heads and sparring! Perfect! They were even sending us smoke signals so we’d know where they were! We eased through the tangle of blow-down timber towards the dust. Crash! We were really close now. At ten yards I could make out the top of the cut-bank, but still couldn’t see the rams. I kept inching towards the slide with an arrow tight in my fingers. I could hear the sheep moving about, and every few minutes there would be another horn crash. Just what I needed to cover any sound I might make. At five yards I could see two of the smaller rams pushing and shoving. As I inched another step forward, I could see two more laying six yards to the right, and a scant five yards to the left lay the big one. Boy, he was a whopper! At least 41, maybe 42 inches, heavy horned and at least ten years old. Trouble was, all I could see was the front of his head and his right horn. He was laying up under a dead log that completely obscured his body from me. I was trying to ease out more towards the edge and watch all the rams at once. The only way I was going to get a shot was to inch forward another two feet, step down the cut-bank that appeared to be about a 24 inch drop, and shoot before the big ram could get out of there. As I inched to the edge primarily watching the big ram – and also the others out of the corner of my eye. I quickly thought, “You better look down” to make sure of the bank so that I wouldn’t lose my


balance when I stepped over the edge. I had my foot partially raised as I glanced down and my heart jumped into my throat! The sixth ram was lying against the cut-bank directly under my foot!

I was about to step on his back! What a ride that would have been! I panicked! Now what to do?? One of the small rams that had been butting heads walked up between the big ram and me and started rubbing his horns on a broken off dead tree sticking out of the bank. I had my left foot on the sunken trunk three feet from his head! Suddenly, he looked right into my eyes and his eyes grew wide with fright! I had a head-net on, but there was no question, he saw my eyes. All hell broke loose, and they were gone before I could get a clear shot. Again. I had to sit down on the bank to regain my composure. Boy, what strains one puts on a heart for the love of bowhunting! An hour later, up the valley at the horses, I had a lot of explaining to do. Michael had seen me almost step on the ram, yet I hadn’t fired a shaft at the big one at five yards! I had a hard time explaining the situation and the difficulty of the

The 13th morning we were riding around the end of a high ridge when Michael suddenly pointed down towards the valley bottom. There were twelve rams lying on a grassy hillside between two slide areas several hundred yards above the creek.

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stalk. Fabian asked me if I wanted his rifle for tomorrow, as he had every day we had hunted. I emphatically told him it was an arrow or nothing. Again, he was very disappointed that we didn’t have a sheep. I told him I wouldn’t trade the last 14 days for anything, sheep or no sheep. I think for the first time, he realized the commitment to bowhunting that his hunter had. I was up early on the last day, knowing full well this was it. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. As with the other 14 days, today was the day I was going to kill a ram. We headed out on the trail, back to the area of yesterday’s fun. Fabian spotted five rams, way up in the cliffs across the north end of the basin. They were not yesterday’s rams, but one was another big one. We hobbled the horses at the highest point we could get to and headed up. I was in some real bad cliffs and scree slides, so had to pick my way carefully. It took four hours to make the top, another hour to make the stalk, and 30 seconds to blow the chance! Again, a small ram spotted me before I could shoot. As we trudged back to the horses, I could hear the doubt building in Fabian and Michael’s voices. I had blown a chance – for the umpteenth time. These natives are proud of their ability as hunters, and they didn’t like to see one of their clients go home empty-handed. As I explained again that a small ram had pegged me, Fabian kept looking down the ridge into the cliffs. He smiled at me and asked if I would like one more chance. “You bet, but how?”

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He motioned down the ridge, explaining that he’d spotted the full curl and two smaller rams bedded down in the cliffs across from us. We would have to hurry back around the mountain, across the creek, up onto the top of the plateau, and down the rim above the rams. With only a couple hours of light left, and a storm headed our way we took off. When we thought we were just above the rams we bailed off the horses. We jogged down the ridge and peeked over. Big mistake! We were still a third of a mile from where we wanted to be. We looked back at the horses and decided we could run down the ridge quicker than we could get back to the horses and ride down. It had been 85 degrees during the day and we had stripped down to our shirts. We had left our jackets and rain gear with the horses in our hurry to get to the rams. No turning back now. We ran as best we could down the ridge and slowly peeked over into the cliffs. No rams. I motioned to Fabian and Michael that I was going back up about ten yards to look around an outcropping. When I slowly looked over, the rams were 150 yards below. I motioned to the guides that I saw the rams, stepped back to put an arrow on the string, and eased back to the edge to plan a stalk. There was none. No way to get any closer without them seeing me. As the terrible thought ran through my head that I was again defeated, I started praying – hard. Suddenly, the rams got up and started to feed – moving directly towards me! Minutes later, the rams were now 60 yards below and still moving up. If they continued, I would have a ten-yard or so shot. Then, another curve. The big ram stepped behind a large


boulder and didn’t come out. The storm was almost on us. A hard wind was starting to buffet the ridge, and we could see and hear hail below in the bottom. I started to panic. Where was he? I was desperately searching for the big ram. The other two were now 30 yards below and still coming. My hearing is not too good anyway, especially in the wind, but I thought I could hear Fabian yelling at me to turn around. The big ram had come up a chute hidden from my view, topped out, and was standing ten yards behind me, between me and Fabian, looking at me trying to figure out what I was. As I spun to shoot, the ram burst back into the hidden chute. I couldn’t believe it! Gone again! I didn’t have time for self-pity as the ram came out below me near the two others. He stepped up on a large flat boulder to survey his domain. I remember the slight twang, the wonderful arch of the arrow, and seeing the shaft bury to the fletching where the white rump patch met the dark of the back – right where I was looking. The ram instantly leaped down the hill, ran full out and disappeared around a large rock cliff. I knew he was mine! I couldn’t move, for the world overwhelmed me at that moment. I slowly turned and saw Michael running towards me screaming, “You got him, you got him!” His eyes were as big as saucers, mine were full of tears. We were jerked back to reality as the edge of the storm hit us. We quickly climbed down through the cliffs where the ram had gone out of sight. I walked around the edge of the cliff and there he was. Then, an unbelievable thing happened. In the same instant as the storm hit us full force, the ram gave one last twitch, and went over the cliff, tumbling end over end 500 feet down! The Gods of the sheep just refused to relinquish this ram to me! We hurriedly picked our way down to the battered ram. Unbelievably there was little damage to the horns or face. It was now pouring rain and hail and almost dark. I could take no pictures, but I finally had my ram. I used a 55# Bighorn take-down longbow, self-made footed cedar arrows with two-blade Switchblade broadheads, and a hip quiver of my own design. This was the first recorded Stone’s sheep taken with a longbow. I had been in excellent condition at the start but had lost 15 pounds by the end of the 15th day. The welcome back at the lodge included a Wendy “special” chocolate cake to celebrate my and Michael’s birthdays. What a present to go along with the cake! Fabian has stated several times that this was the most memorable sheep hunt he has ever been on.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can reach Scoop Lake Outfitters at 250-491-1885 or visit their website at www.scooplake.com

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Garth Olafson GOABC Guide of the Year

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

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

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

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

Ph: 250-412-5209 SSIKANNI IKANNI Outfitters R RIVER IVER facebook.com/sikanni

Hunt for:

MOOSE • BLACK BEAR • LYNX • WOLF

DIXIE HAMMETT

P.O. Box 11, Pink Mountain, BC Canada V0C 2B0 Email: sro@sikanniriver.com www.sikanniriver.com

Stone’s Sheep Elk • Bison Goat • Moose BIG GAME HUNTING

FISHING TRIPS

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Tel: (250) 845-3156 Cell: (250) 845-8810 Email: sonny@moosehunting.bc.ca Box 1483, Houston, BC Canada V0J 1Z0

MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019

FISHING TRIPS

www.moosehunting.bc.ca


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CONSERVATION MATTERS

TM

with Shane Mahoney

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE: FINDING A COMMON PURPOSE “A common danger unites even the bitterest enemies.” – Aristotle 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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e’ve talked a lot in recent months about how words matter, and I predict there is much more to come. In our sound-bite world, terms are king and explanations are orphans, seemingly with no place to go. So, as sportsmen and women we are frequently labeled as either trophy hunters or meat hunters, and our explanations about how hunters are often both just don’t wash. And we know, firsthand, the power of these simple adjectives to influence perceptions and attitudes. We have watched these terms create division and confusion, both in the general public and within the ranks of the hunting community itself. Unfortunate and frustrating, yes; but the fact is, social lines are being drawn based on hunters’ perceived motivations and evolving notions of public morality and animal welfare. A new research-based article published in the scientific journal, Animals, this past November, reports finding that while 87% of U.S. survey respondents agree it is acceptable to hunt for food, only 37% agree it is acceptable to hunt for a trophy. Such sentiments and the divisions they foster are not limited to the general public or to any one subgroup within it. Conservationists of all stripes, including hunters themselves, are divided on this issue and are also sometimes guilty of criticizing their peers, forcing their personal moralities on others and thereby limiting our potential to succeed as a united front, as a broad community rooted in concern for wildlife. Thus, while it seems we can say over and over again how we need to maintain focus on commonalities, on our defense of wildlife and of our shared traditions afield, evidence for that unity of purpose is harder to find than you might expect, even within the hunting community itself. And, without that unity, damaging terms have more space to play. So, maybe what we need is a real wake-up call, a threat that is so urgent and far-reaching and hits so close to home for all of us that we simply can’t avoid building a consolidated, community-wide response. But


what could this be? What could possibly unite all of those who care for wildlife, all hunters and possibly even anti-hunters too? What would this thing look like? Well, maybe, just maybe, it would look like Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD as it is commonly called. A progressive, fatal nervous system disease known to infect whitetailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and reindeer, CWD does not care whether you hunt for a trophy or for meat, or whether your harvest is motivated by tradition, necessity, or want. It has no bias, whether you value wildlife inherently or as a healthy food source, whether you are a conservationist or a preservationist. CWD is a common foe, affecting all hunters, all conservationists, and all individuals concerned with the well-being of wildlife, especially deer. Though it shares features with other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs, like bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which we know as “mad cow disease,” CWD remains a distinct disease known at this time to naturally affect only members of the deer, or cervid, family. It is caused by a deformed, self-multiplying protein, or prion, which slowly damages the animals’ brain, resulting in symptoms ranging from pneumonia, to depression, to paralysis, and always resulting in death. Chronic Wasting Disease was first detected in northern Colorado in captive mule deer in the late 1960s. By September 2016, CWD had been reported in captive or free-ranging cervids in 24 U.S. states and in South Korea, and Norway as well. In Canada, the disease has been routinely detected in Saskatchewan, with a few cases in Alberta, and there remains concern that it may spread to western Manitoba. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, the disease has, at times, reached staggering rates of infection in free-ranging deer populations, sometimes as high as 25%, and much higher still in some captive populations. In response, both the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommend that meat from known or suspected CWD-infected animals not be used or consumed by humans. Earlier this year, however, in response to dramatic new research from an ongoing study involving prions and primates by the Alberta Prion Research Institute, Health Canada issued a stronger warning that the potential for CWD “to be transmitted to humans cannot be excluded.” MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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With more deer testing positive in more states and provinces, the disease is feared to be on the move, presenting greater challenges for scientists and wildlife managers working to control its spread, and also for conservationists of all persuasions, and for hunters most especially. No treatment is available for animals affected with CWD and no vaccine is available to prevent infection. Contagious deer can be asymptomatic for years, but still spread the disease through direct contact with other animals or by infecting the soil with their waste products or carcasses. Infected soil can remain toxic for more than a decade. It’s a hard truth, but there will be no quick fix for Chronic Wasting Disease. The fight has already been long, and there is no end in sight. That, however, does not mean that all is lost. The past five decades of dealing with this disease have imparted some valuable lessons. We know that short-term monitoring is not enough. We need to play the long game. Eradication of the disease appears unlikely in the near future, but containment and outbreak reduction are meaningful and realistic goals. We also know that simple and effective detection of CWD eludes wildlife officials and we need better “on the spot” testing methods. We know that continued scientific research is necessary to analyze the sources and vectors of CWD, and to improve our overall understanding of how the disease functions and replicates. State and provincial wildlife agencies are responding swiftly, introducing new strategies, including revised regulations, to try and slow, if not stop, the spread of the disease. We’ve seen some common hunting practices banned in certain areas; for example, banning the use of bait to limit the number of deer gathering in potentially CWD infected locales. As many of us are aware, agencies are also mandating CWD checks for all deer killed in their state. And there have been culls, in some instances, designed to create eradication and buffer zones. Our agencies have not been standing still; and neither should we.

But, how can we help? What role is there for our conservation community to play in combatting this terrible disease? First, by presenting a united front and laying aside our petty differences, both within the hunting community and between the hunting community and others. Second, by becoming informed by the science and reliable information now readily available to us; and, subsequently, by knowing and following all regulations set by state and provincial wildlife management agencies, by taking precautions when field dressing and processing animals, by submitting animal heads for testing, and by properly disposing of carcasses and meat from CWD-infected animals. We can also help by heeding the sound advice of respected hunting and conservation-based groups like Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), an NGO and membership organization dedicated to conserving North American whitetailed deer. QDMA recommends, for example, that hunters help keep CWD affected populations low by harvesting antlerless deer, and age structures young, by harvesting older bucks. Without continued public awareness and insistent pressure and support from concerned citizens and stakeholders, policy decisions regarding natural resources can fall to the back burner. Add to this the fact that CWD is long-lived, that prions can live in the soil, on plants and carcasses, for years, immune to extremes in temperature and desiccation, and there can be no mistake - Chronic Wasting Disease will accumulate higher numbers of victims through attrition and complacency. We may not always be able to control the former, but we certainly can influence the latter. So, maybe this time, let’s make sure we draw meaningful battle lines, and face off as a united community, against a vital, real and common enemy. This will be a victory in itself.

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

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Three Guiding Territories in

NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA

1

3,100 KM2 TERRITORY

2

+ 320 acre Ranch & Lodge

PRICE: $5,400,000 (CAD) This very reputable outfitting business is located northwest of Fort St. John and southwest of Fort Nelson in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. The ranch and lodge on 320 acres of deeded land form the centre of this thriving guiding outfit. 3,100 km2 of guiding territory with 6 fully developed perfectly maintained fly-in camps with cabins. Game Species: Mountain goat, moose, elk, caribou, deer, wolf are on a general open season with no limitations. On Quota: Stone’s sheep, 4 annually, bison, 23 annually. The outfit and ranch comes with all equipment and horses to operate the business, including 1 airplane, 1 grader, 1 dozer, 1 backhoe, 1 farm tractor. The lodge and the camps are in very good condition with many new cabins added in recent years. The Ranch and Lodge is accessible via gated road from the Alaska Highway. The owners have operated this outfit for over 20 years and want to retire.

3

1,800 KM2 TERRITORY PRICE: $660,000 (CAD)

Approximately 1,800 km2 guiding business and territory located west of Fort St. John in the Northern Rockies region. Game species: Moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, black bear, cougar, lynx and wolf. These game species are on a general open season. There is also a grazing lease on the whole territory. The territory supports a long spring season, a very long fall season and also a winter season for predator hunts. The current outfitter has been running the territory for over 25 years and has earned a large number of awards for outstanding quality of animals taken. The current outfitter will help a new owner to get established.

Also available: 312 ACRE RANCH with the headquarter buildings for this outfitting operation for $1,075,000. On the 312 acres of private land is the main lodge house, a modular home used as bunk house and a shop.

1,580 KM2 GUIDING TERRITORY

D L SO

PRICE: $720,000 (CAD)

1,580 km2 guiding territory and big game guiding business located in the Williston Lake area of the Northern Rockies. Game species: Moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, black bear, cougar, lynx and wolf on a general open season with no limitations. Quota of 4 Stone’s sheep, and one mountain goat in a 5 year period. The area supports a long spring season, a long fall season as well as a very well established winter season for predators. There are three tenured spike camps. The current outfitter will help a new owner to get established.

PLEASE CALL THE LISTING REALTOR OR VISIT BACKCOUNTRYPROPERTIES.CA FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FOR A SHOWING OF THESE TERRITORIES. A guiding territory can be owned by one or more individuals or a B.C. corporation. Territory #2 and #3 (listed above) have a common boundary and could be operated as a combined business. A large lodge on Williston Lake is also listed for sale. It could be used as a luxurious headquarters for one, or both, of two areas.

MINDERMANN PHONE: 250-467-3019

dcr.horst@gmail.com

10224-10th Street Dawson Creek, BC V1G 3T4

Horst is licensed in British Columbia and Alberta. He has also outfitted in Northeast B.C. for 20 seasons and is a proud Life Member of GOABC, SCI and Dallas Safari Club.


Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy Traditional Outfitting Traditional Outfitting Traditional at Finest at its its Finest

YOUR ULTIMATE tone Sheep Sheep SStone Mtn Goat Mtn Goat Moose Moose Elk Elk Bear Black Bear Black Caribou Caribou Wolf Wolf

MontyWarren Warren Monty Box 59, Hudson’s Hope, BC V0C V0C1V0 1V0 Box 59, Hudson’s Hope, BC tuchodiriveroutfitters.com tuchodiriveroutfitters.com

Cell:250-263-5537 250-263-5537 Cell:

monty@tuchodiriveroutfitters.com monty@tuchodiriveroutfitters.com

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BACKCOUNTRY EXPERIENCE

BRITISH COLUMBIA HUNTS FOR: Elk, Black Bear, Mule Deer, Whitetail, Shiras Moose, Mountain Goat, Cougar, Bobcat, Lynx, Wolf, and Family Recreational Trips.

Tom Kotlarz OUTFITTER/OWNER

250-464-9565 silentmtn@gmail.com

www.silentmountain.ca


Coastal Black Bear Blacktail Deer

California Bighorn Sheep

Roosevelt Elk

mule deer moose cougar • lynx black bear mountain goat

BRUCE & TERRY AMBLER 250.459.2367

Clinton, BC Canada amblersbighornguiding@gmail.com

250-724-1533 | hunt@huntvi.com | HuntVI.com

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I looked up at the raven in the tree and I got the oddest feeling. “This is my cat, isn’t it, Dad?” I asked aloud, never taking my eyes off the bird.

By Judy Black

A

mountain lion hunt had been on my bucket list for several years. An unsuccessful one in New Mexico a few years back had only heightened my desire to hunt a cat with my bow and be successful at it. A friend who had hunted the big cat in BC a year prior introduced me to Bruce Ambler of Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding at the local Safari Club International dinner and auction. As my 60th birthday approached, I realized that I was not going to be able to do the tough hunts forever. So, when the auctioneer pointed his hand and hollered, “Sold!” I became more determined than ever to be as prepared as I could possibly be to hunt a cougar deep in the bush of BC. Although I had hunted British Columbia in the past, my upcoming cougar hunt had me a bundle of mixed emotions.

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I was scared, anxious, excited – and a hint of sadness was thrown in the mix. I was excited for the hunt, but my mom’s failing health made me question the wisdom of leaving Michigan and being so far way. Yet, Mom had cried when she learned we’d cancelled our trip to Africa in July, so I did not tell her when I stayed home from a hunt in Newfoundland in early October. However, I realized that the course of the path my mom was on was not something I could change. She was 83 and had lived a great life and she would not want me to stay home again. On November 18, 2017, I told her goodbye and that I’d see her in ten days. The next day my husband Scott and I boarded our first flight, ultimately destined for Kamloops, BC.


A TRACK the SNOW n i

An hour before the last leg of our flight was due to depart, a big red “cancelled” came across the sign. We spent the night in the airport and flew to Kamloops the next morning. Thankfully, it was an early flight and Bruce was there to greet us before helping us gather and load our bags. By 10:30 am we had driven to the lodge, unloaded our bags, changed clothes and were in the truck heading out to hunt cats. Though my first choice was a cougar, I had a tag for all three cats available in BC – cougar, lynx and bobcat. Snow is a key factor in cat hunting and there was not much snow at the lodge in Clinton. However, Bruce assured us there was a little more up higher where we would start looking for tracks. Once through the gate we continued our uphill climb and saw more and more snow the higher we got. I was unsure of what exactly I was looking for but kept my eyes locked on

the snow as I peered out of the backseat window. The snowcovered roads wove up and down through the bush and we stopped often to check tracks. The pickup suddenly came to an abrupt stop; Bruce had spotted a fresh lynx track crossing the road in front of the truck. A short time later, the dogs were out of their box and Cody Sword, my guide and dog handler, was putting their tracking collars on. A wave of excitement rushed through my body; I was finally, truly going to hunt cats! Chase dogs, Copper and Chili, followed closely behind Ice, Cody’s lead dog, who was on the track immediately. I listened as their barks got farther and farther away. The handheld tracker showed that they were now 730 yards out. The collars the dogs wore showed the route of each dog and captured their barks per minute. We could no longer hear the dogs, but the screen showed that they had looped back and had treed 500 yards from the truck. It was then that I grabbed my bow and we started our trek to the tree. I did well on the flat but when we arrived at the base of a very large hill, my stomach MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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flipped. Looking up I saw the dogs with the lynx in the tree and thought, “Well, I can’t shoot from here so up is the only way to go.” With Scott behind me, we started up the hill. I must pause in my story to say that I have the most amazing husband. He encourages me on every hunt and knows my limitations with my bum knee. In this case, he literally pushed me up the side of that mountain and by the time we arrived at the top, I was exhausted. It was overwhelming with the cat in the tree, the dogs barking, the adrenaline rush and the exhaustion from the climb. The cat was only 10 ½ yards up in the tree and I struggled to decide where to set my 20-yard pin on the lynx. Let’s just say there are a few Beman arrows with pink Muzzy broadheads in the bush of BC but in the end, my cat was at the bottom of the hill and I had taken it with my Mathews Passion compound bow. I beamed with pride as three people congratulated me on my harvest. The climb up had been tough enough and I knew the climb down would be a challenge as well so instead of taking it one step at a time, I sat down and slid all the way to the bottom like a little kid. With the threat of warm weather and rain moving in, we knew our time for finding a fresh cougar track would be limited. The next morning started like all the rest would – up at 5 am with breakfast served at 6. A slight skiff of snow had fallen overnight so the hopes of getting on a cat track were high. Scott and Bruce were going after mule deer, but Cody and I were going to ride the roads in search of a cougar track. Back in the truck traveling the mountain roads, the whirlwind of emotion was back and in the midst of it all was worry that my knee would not allow me to reach the cat once it was treed. Yet, I was determined and that was half the battle. Sometimes I think I just worry too much!

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Just as it was getting daylight, I spotted a great grey owl perched high up in a tree, probably looking for his breakfast. He sat there and allowed us to take several photos, definitely not something I get to see every day. I settled back into the routine that had been established the day before. Cody would often get out to check a track as we traveled along so when he stopped, got out, and crossed in front of the truck to my side of the road, I didn’t think anything of it. However, when he got back in and said, “I think I found you a kitty cat track,” my heart jumped and all I could say was, “Really?!” Lead dog Ice was let out of the box and immediately on the track. Copper and Chili were let out as well and were hot on the track too, the enthusiastic barking of all three dogs telling us they were well on their way to possibly treeing another cat. I looked at Cody and said, “Now we wait,” and his response was, “Yes we do, and it could be 15 minutes, or it could be three hours.” Again, we watched the screen of the GPS tracker, an incredible tool for the handler. It was exciting to see the stats go from 20 barks per minute to 40 and then to 80. Soon the screen showed that Ice had treed, and Cody said, “I guess this one is a 15-minute hunt.” Another two-track than the one we were on would get us a little closer, so we drove to that road and then parked about 270 yards from the tree. I gathered up my bow and we started our walk in, thankful that this trek was all on the flat. Cody was patient and walked at my pace, though I know he could have sprinted to the tree. However, he assured me that there was no hurry; the cat wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t long and there we stood, ten yards from the tree, with three dogs


Just as it was getting daylight, I spotted a great grey owl perched high up in a tree, probably looking for his breakfast.

barking at the base and a cougar 10 yards up. I heard the caws before Cody said, “Here come the ravens. They hear the dogs and then they come.” I quietly said, “If there are two it is my dad and my friend Harold.” I look for them on every hunt. I could hear the wind beneath their wings before they were even in sight. Cody had reached the tree to check out the cat and I watched as the two ravens entered the opening in the trees above where I stood. One landed, perching high in a pine tree while the other circled the area above. Never far away, I could hear every swish of its wings. I looked up at the raven in the tree and I got the oddest feeling. “This is my cat, isn’t it, Dad?” I asked aloud, never taking my eyes off the bird. It seemed to lock eyes with me and tilt its head. Then, as if to confirm that I understood correctly, the second raven entered the opening, the one perched in the tree took to flight, and they flew away together, cawing their approval as they went. By now I’d had enough time to settle down from the walk and take some time to plan my shot placement, so I felt confident when it was finally time to draw my bow. I drew my Mathews Passion, released my Beman arrow with pink Muzzy broadhead, and made a perfect shot...and I mean perfect. I had my BC cougar! And then the shakes began. Cody and I had already taken some photos when Scott and Bruce arrived at the tree. We shared the story, then walked back to the truck and then moved to a location where a huge warming fire had been started. Snow had begun to fall, heavy and wet, making the warmth of the fire feel even nicer. The four of us visited as we ate our lunch. It was too late in the day

to start looking right then, but with the new snow, we were optimistic of finding a bobcat track the next morning. The next day, the guys left at 3 am to check for cat tracks in the fresh snow. They arrived back after breakfast and we all loaded up and began the hunt. Cody had found a bobcat track, so we spent almost two hours walking the tracks that seemed to loop around and cross a couple roads and a field. Eventually we gave up. He and I went in one direction, and Bruce and Scott went to another area. After more searching, Cody and I were unsuccessful in finding another track, so we headed back to the lodge. I was planning to make cougar rollups for dinner the next night and the meat required overnight marination. Plus, it had been a long day and I was ready to be warm and dry. I could not have been happier with the choice of Cody as my guide. A 19-year-old young man, he was polite and kind from the moment we met. The time we spent together in the truck looking for tracks were hours filled with talks of family and past hunts. Cody spoke very highly of his family and their outfitting business, excited that they had recently bought another outfit, and the fact that he would be guiding that camp. It is rare to find many young men who talk so openly and highly of their parents, their siblings, their goals and aspirations. He proved to be a truly kind, levelheaded young man, leaving me confident that great things will happen for him in his future. The connection Cody had with his dogs was mutual. One day the dogs got separated in the woods and the concern on Cody’s face was genuine. Another hunter commented about the change he saw in Cody; it was clear he was worried about the dogs being lost in the bush. He too saw the respect that not MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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only Cody had for his dogs, but they had for him. The strong bond made it obvious that many hours had been invested into their training and they worked hard to please their handler. Cody would beam with pride in their skill. I learned that he had some of the most sought-after dogs in the area and had proven himself to be one of the best handlers. One of the greatest joys of hunting is meeting new people in camp. I got up one night and went downstairs to discover the glow of a computer screen lighting up the room. I poured a glass of water and introduced myself to a new hunter in camp. Sitting down to join him at the table, I began talking to Fernando from Portugal and soon felt like I had known him my entire life. He was a very positive man with a zest for life and a passion for hunting. I was thankful when I learned we would be spending more time together in the days to come. The next day, Cody and I left camp and set up a caller in hopes of harvesting a bobcat. When nothing came in, we went to another area and tried again. The area we were hunting had seen a forest fire the previous year, leaving charred trees and black stumps to litter the area. The devastation meant we could see a long way so if a cat was to come to the call, I’d have time to ready myself for the shot. When that location did not work out, we traveled the now-very-icy roads to another area. Cody left on the snowmobile hoping to find a fresh track while I took the opportunity to catch up on my journal and enjoy the beauty around me. We spent the next two days riding the slippery roads looking for tracks, and only a couple of times was a dog taken out of the box. Poor weather conditions made it almost impossible to run a track. The temperature had now risen to 41 degrees and the roads had turned to ice. Cody put chains on the truck tires to climb the mountain roads and many of the other roads were now deep mud. I was just enjoying being there and taking in the scenery. We were fortunate to see some game on our travels: whitetails, mule deer, coyote, a great grey owl and a barred owl as we continued searching for cat tracks. It was mule deer season and we weren’t the only ones in the bush. We seemed to encounter another vehicle at least a couple times a day. On our last morning, we had just closed the gate behind our two pickups that would be hunting the roads for the day when the screen on Cody’s phone lit up. A picture of Scott with a beautiful mule deer illuminated the cab. We were a little late this morning and he’d already had some last-day luck! I was so excited for him and thankful for the success we’d both had on this hunt. For now, Fernando and I were to wait while the others went looking for tracks. To fill the time, Bruce had offered the two of us a challenge: use the fire-building skills that he had taught me on the first day and Fernando on a previous hunt. By the time he got back he wanted to “see an inferno.” Bruce and Cody left on snowmobiles while Fernando and I went to work.

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Using an old pine stump and scraping the pitch from the center we began to build our fire. It was pouring rain, but we gathered little sticks from under the cover of trees as Bruce had coached us to do and soon it was time to strike the match. First a little glow and soon we had the start of a fire. Feeding it broken sticks from close by we soon had a little bigger fire and then, soon afterwards, we had the inferno that Bruce had challenged us to make. I perched on one of the two logs I’d set up for us to use as seats and we visited the time away, our clothes steaming from the heat of the huge fire. Cody was the first to arrive back and, drenched from his snowmobile ride, he happily joined us around the fire. We received word that Bruce had found a track so the three of us loaded into the truck to go and meet him. It was a ride that took us deep into the bush and on an adventure for sure! Cody carefully worked his way through the obstacle course in the bush, frequently cutting trees and pushing them out of the way as required. With only inches to spare on each side, he adeptly squeezed his pickup through tight spots, driving us through deeper snow than we had been in all week. Arriving at the site, the dogs were promptly let loose for a chase. While Fernando and I stood waiting with Bruce, two people showed up in an ATV...out in the middle of nowhere!


Cody and his dogs tried to run the track but the amount of other animal tracks in the area made it impossible. Once the dogs were back in their box, we all loaded up in ours, and worked our way back to the lodge. I was cold, I was wet, and I was ready for a hot shower. It was time to pack our gear as the following morning we would head back to Michigan with many memories and many stories. It was time to go home, spend time with Mom, and share my stories with her. I got home on Tuesday and went to see Mom that afternoon. I had received a call that she had started slipping on Sunday, yet she found the strength to tell me she was so happy I was home. Mom passed a few days later, knowing I had accomplished what I had gone to BC for and proud of every animal I had ever harvested. On my future hunts I will be searching for three crows or ravens. Now Mom will be there with Dad and Harold, all three of them hunting right alongside me.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can reach Ambler’s Bighorn Country Guiding at 250-459-2367 or visit their website at www.amblersbighornguiding.com

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DSC’s mission is to ensure the conservation of wildlife through public engagement, education and advocacy for well-regulated hunting and sustainable use.

JOIN US!

DSC CONVENTION & SPORTING EXPO I JANUARY 9-12, 2020 info@biggame.org I www.biggame.org I Dallas Safari Club I (972) 980-9800


A P E X S YS T E M The Apex System features three new products built to keep you quiet in the moment of truth. The Apex Hoody is a feature-rich layer combining premium merino wool with a durable nylon face. The Apex Pant helps the hunter adapt to changing conditions and varying levels of activity with a thermoregulating micro-grid interior and a weather-resistant polyester face. The Apex Pack completes the series with a quiet low-profile design and easily deployable components for capitalizing on hard-earned close encounters.


MOSSY

ANTLER

HUNT By Dave Ames

Let me preface my story by stating that my name is Dave Ames. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996 and have not been actively hunting since 1997. I motor along okay using two canes and have some balance and tremor issues. My brother Daryl and I met Chris Franke of Mountain Spirit Outfitters at the Puyallup Sportsman’s Show in January 2014. She was the only moose guide who gave us an emphatic “yes!” on being able to accommodate my disabilities. We booked our seven-day moose hunt for October 2016 on the upper region of Quesnel Lake, British Columbia.

Was I in for one hell of a ride!

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This is a story unlike one I’ve ever told. It starts at the mouth of Quesnel Lake, 70 miles of crystal-clear glacier fjord water, oh so freezing cold. The two-hour boat ride to Mossy Antler cabin was an epic ordeal in itself. Rain-driven frothy swells churned the water and I then realized how the Captain and Gilligan must really have felt! Our new-found friends Alf and Marie helped store what seemed like two tons of food and gear. They had literally tracked us down by our Washington truck plates and then invited us to their Likely town pub for a cold Canadian beer. After checking out Marie’s trapping cabin with her grizzly bearmarked porch, we arrived at our destination. The astounding panoramic vistas had my eyes misty and unclear. After two years of planning, working out and outfitting, our long-awaited bush hunt was finally here! I’ve been hunting all my life and hardly ever lost my nerve, but thinking on those grizzly claw marks had me a might concerned about becoming an hors d’oeuvre! We saw a huge bull that first, clear, sunny day. He snuck in behind us to investigate the zombie-like cow calls that Chris randomly screamed his way! Never had I heard such a dreadful and mournful sound. I was to repeatedly ponder, “Is this the way moose are found?” Being the first day, we were incredibly excited and pumped. The moose gods were smiling on us, no way we’d be skunked. Here’s where I admit that my quad experience is nil, so I perched behind my brother, hoping I wouldn’t take a nasty spill. Nobody warned me that the water bars in BC are as deep as my chin. After seeing Chris race down and out, my brother just gave me a big, huge grin! We hit that first one doing about twenty-five. My legs went one way, my top half the other. I’m not too proud to say I think I screamed for my mother! After that, all was well because I’d learned my lesson and hung on like hell! As the days quickly progressed, increasingly surreal, it became clear that Chris Franke was a woman of steel. She leapt tall quads in a single bound. Could chop big rounds faster than I could lay them down. Hike and cook, pack and haul. She had me on bended knee begging, “Please stop, Chris – I’m gonna bawl!” Even her fruitcake dog Artie hid on the couch, too tired to crawl. Five days of brutal machine and body thrashing later, we had not seen nor heard any more moose. As the old saying goes, “Cooked was our goose!” MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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Sunday morning, October 23, 2016. Daryl and I were tired, road weary and kinda stinky with sweat. Neither one of us wanted to make that long empty truck ride home just yet. Heading past old moose-track lane and huge grizzly-scat landing, time suddenly did slow. It was now 10 am and Chris was up ahead frantically waving her arms, “Hurry, let’s go!” About five seconds and three shots later, our trophy did lay. The harvest of a lifetime was complete on this the last day. “Now the fun starts,” a statement that all successful hunters deem relevant. My question is, “How many have dressed a huge, giant elephant?” It took us three hours to skin, quarter and game-bag our prize. Loaded gun was always near to deter Mr. Grizzly’s prying eyes. I cannot possibly put pen to paper all the fascinating memories from those grueling yet special days. Chris Franke is an awesome outfitter whose friendship will forever stay!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: You can reach Mountain Spirit Outfitters at 780-817-4349 or on their website at www.mountainspiritoutfitters.com


CAMP COOK’S

Corner

VX-5HD

RELENTLESS VERSATILITY

Gluten Free Luscious Lemon Cake Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes / Preheat oven to 350°F • • • • • • • • • • • •

4 eggs 2 cups sugar 1 cup coconut milk or milk of choice 1 cup vegetable oil ¼ cup lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon) 1 tbsp lemon zest (approx. 1 lemon) 1 tsp lemon extract 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 ½ cups of gluten-free flour 1 tsp xanthan gum ½ tsp sea salt 1 tbsp baking powder

Lightly grease two 9” round cake pans. In a heavy stand mixer with whisk attachment or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. In a small bowl combine milk with oil, lemon juice, zest and extracts. In a third bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, sea salt, and baking powder. At low speed, slowly add dry and wet mixtures to the egg/sugar mixture, until just combined. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Place in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the centre springs back to the touch.

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www.ravensthroat.com MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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

Four Tips for Ensuring Outfitter-Client Success Both outfitter and client commit considerable time, resources and physical effort to ensure the highest probability of a successful hunt. The outfitter invests innumerable hours scouting the land and knows where the animals tend to be, and, consequently, their hunts are more likely to be rewarding. In turn, the client invests time, money and trust in the outfitter. Recent conversations with outfitters in Edmonton, Alberta and Bozeman, Montana generated four tips for dramatically increasing the probability of a successful hunt. ONE: THE HUNT GOES BETTER WHEN MUTUAL FAITH AND TRUST EXIST: Outfitters work hard to master their profession. Faith and trust are enhanced when the client hunter communicates their hunting experience level, physical fitness and goals for the hunt. Miguela Minto of North River Outfitting in Alberta emphasized the importance of hunters understanding that the hunt is a partnership of shared goals. Mutual respect should be presumed, and disrespect by either partner should not be tolerated. In a rare instance, a client expressed disdain that Miguela was a young female guide. To earn respect, she “hiked him into the ground.” Once respect was established, a successful hunt led to an admiring client. TWO: THOROUGH PREPARATION: Both outfitter and hunter must be prepared at every level: technical skill, physical fitness and proper clothing. Outfitters, particularly those guiding for dangerous game, uniformly told me that many clients cannot competently handle their rifle. Clients would be well-served to master the firearm or bow and be skilled in getting off second and third shots, being aware that their inability to handle recoil leads to flinching, thus diminishing accuracy and increasing the probability of wounding animals. Notably, the margins for error diminish as distance increases. A bad shot not only can wound an animal thus consuming precious hunting time to track it, but also present the risk that the wounded animal will never be found. All outfitters advise, as did the New York City policeman telling a tourist how to get to the great music venue, Carnegie Hall, “Practice, Practice, Practice.”

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THREE: UTILIZE REFERENCES AND MATERIAL: Offering references generates confidence and respect. The hunting client should take the initiative to learn about the outfitter from all available resources, including visits to trade shows and conventions. Both outfitter and client will benefit by learning beforehand if their personalities harmonize and a relationship can be formed based on clearly-stated expectations. Followup communication is vital groundwork for successful hunts as these interactions set the tone for the future experience: increased client comfort; the client’s appreciation for the outfitter’s attention to detail; and, nurturing the personal relationship between client and outfitter. All factors elevate the likelihood that the hunter’s dream will be fulfilled. FOUR: CLEARLY DEFINE EXPECTATIONS: Attention to all details not only nurtures mutual trust and hunting success but also beneficially involves the client in the hunt partnership. The client should be given all pre-hunt details relating to firearms import laws if applicable, as well as the permitting process and all trophy export requirements and limitations, if any. Taxidermy recommendations from the outfitter are always prudent. Successful hunts are the result of pacing and encouragement, particularly for hunters unfamiliar with the hunting venue. Neither the client nor the outfitter should approach the hunt as a competition of skills but as a mutual journey where each partner will derive benefits. Follow this advice and the hunter is most likely to get good return on their investment and enjoy an experience valued for a lifetime. Special thanks to Miguela Minto, North River Outfitting, www.huntnorthriver.com for her contributions to this article.


Northwest Big Game Outfitters

Black Bear • Moose • Sheep • Mountain Goat FREDDY DODGE

World Record

Muzzleloader Bull Moose

Jack Goodwin Box 344, Mile 5 Atlin Highway, Atlin, BC Canada V0W 1A0 Tel: (250) 651-7766 Email: nbgohunt@gmail.com • www.bcbiggamehunting.com MOUNTAIN HUNTER - SPRING 2019 |

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Canadian and Shiras moose hunts available for 2019! Moose/Elk Combo Hunts

covertoutfitting.com

Profile for Guide Outfitters of BC

Mountain Hunter Magazine Spring 2019  

This is the Convention 2019 issue with candid photos from the event and featuring moose, black bear, sheep and a cougar hunt with dogs.

Mountain Hunter Magazine Spring 2019  

This is the Convention 2019 issue with candid photos from the event and featuring moose, black bear, sheep and a cougar hunt with dogs.

Profile for goabc