Frank is a 77 year-old hunter coming from Saskatchewan. He was director of the Saskatchewan Bow Hunters Association for more than 10 years. He first came on a bow hunt for mountain goat with BCTMO Conservation Club in 2012. Unfortunately, he could not harvest a goat that time. He therefore returned to hunt a mountain goat with BCTMO Conservation Club in September 2021. Frank shared his trip with outfitter, Kevan, and assistant guides, Clement and Alexia. Frank is the perfect example of a 6th stage of a hunter, and here is his story:
“I first started hunting at the age of 9 years old. I used to live on a farm with no electricity or running water. My two brothers and I made our own games and started hunting the coyotes that were going after our chickens and geese. With my mom being fed up of chasing them, my dad got a 22 rifle. My older brother, who was able to shoot things, and my uncle became my mentors. My grandfather was also an accomplished hunter back at his time.
“Aged 9 years old, I went by myself shooting my first duck. My mother wasn’t happy about it, but it didn’t stop me. I got used to using the 22 rifle and this is how it all started. I’ve always loved wildlife, and I spent lots of time observing their habits, and I got to hunt a lot. In 1999, I put the guns away and picked up a bow, and I never looked back.
“I found it more challenging to use archery, and I had to accept that I would not always get an animal. Therefore, the total hunting adventure is more important than taking an animal.
“Since starting archery hunting, I introduced my son-in-law Mike to it and he is my best hunting companion. Prior to that, I hunted with my brothers and I introduced Ron, one of them, to bow hunting. Mike, Ron and I now all hunt with bows. I also introduced my daughter and my two granddaughters to archery. They don’t hunt but they like the sport itself. I am really close to my family, and they get very excited when I am successful as if they were hunting with me. We eat a lot of wild game that we harvest in the wilderness.
“Hunting to me is a way of life. It gives me a reason to go into the forests, the hills and the mountains that I would never otherwise do.
“In 2012, I first went goat hunting to the Chilcotin with BCTMO Conservation Club. After having a talk with Kevan, the guide outfitter, I knew right away it was the place I was gonna go to. I spent a fantastic week hunting. We slept outdoors on the side of the mountains with sleeping bags and horse pads. It was a true wilderness hunt. That time, I was unsuccessful at harvesting a goat, but it was the most amazing of an adventure. I talked to my family and friends about it for years and I planned to come back earlier. But I had some health issues back in 2016 and 2017.
“I am now back climbing rock cliffs, walking severe angles, shale mountains and riding my trusty horse Bubbles for seven or eight hours a day. I rode into areas that you would think inconceivable. Each time we spotted a goat in the most remote spots, or on the edge of the cliffs, I asked Kevan how we would get there. After three days, I wouldn’t dare ask the question again because if a mountain goat can get there, Kevan can get there horse back riding.
“The people working for Kevan, particularly the two I had, Clement and Alexia, in their twenties, are capable of doing anything. They were instrumental for the success of my hunt with BCTMO Conservation Club. If anybody wants to come up and hunt with BCTMO Conservation Club, I can guarantee them a lifetime adventure. But you need to be conditioned and prepared to ride and walk the mountains like you’ve never dreamed of.
“I saw goats every day, and was offered several opportunities. On my first attempt, my sight was off so I missed my three shots and I had to reset my bow. The next opportunity was perfect, the goat was lying on the cliffs at about 20 meters away, but the goat turned out to be a nanny. On that third day, I had reached my capacity to continue after chasing goats for hours.
“On our way down to packing up, Alexia spotted a goat on an edge and I stalked out to it, and took it at 18 meters. The high and the elation of succeeding after a moment of depression that you could not go on is something I would never forget.”
Harvesting a mountain goat with a bow is no easy feat. The first challenge is to get to the mountain tops where the goats are. The second is to get close enough to shoot without spooking the goats. And the third is to shoot accurately. Frank experienced all these challenges and more on his goat hunt. But he knew the adventure and experience was what made the hunt, harvesting the goat was a bonus.