The Nakusp Rod and Gun Club had its best-attended awards banquet at the Nakusp Royal Canadian Legion on March 11.
Despite the good showing, there was some doubt whether or not the banquet would actually happen.
About 40 minutes before it was due to start a tree fell on the transmission line between Box Lake and Summit Lake, causing a power outage for Nakusp, New Denver, Burton, Fauquier, and other communities in the area.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Hank Scown, president of the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club. “When we left home in upper Glenbank, we didn’t know if there was power downtown. Once we came around the corner and saw that the lights were out down here and there was no power, we thought it was a very good possibility the whole thing could be cancelled or postponed. When we came here and saw there was emergency lighting we thought let’s roll back, and if we have to get some generators we can do that and provide enough auxiliary lighting to carry on.”
With the help of some emergency lights and candles, the banquet took place, the candles giving the affair a feeling of intimacy.
Thankfully the outage was a brief one. About half an hour into the banquet power was restored.
Throughout the hall, pelts, antlers, skulls and more of the various wildlife shot and caught were on display. A table next to the stage of the hall featured the prize-winning submissions for this year’s banquet.
The crowd received a lesson on the difference between billy goats and nanny goats to make them more aware of the wildlife in the area. Billy goats are the male of the species while nanny goats are the female. The horn base for the billy goat is closer than that of the nanny, and nanny goats have a sharper curve to their horns at the top.
This lesson was given as a way to be sure residents — hunters and junior hunters — had an easier time telling the two apart. That’s important because the goats don’t mate very often, so the loss of any females could be detrimental to their numbers.
“They can sit here and see pictures of various animals that people have taken pictures of in this area and around the province, and they see that wonderful resource,” said Scown. “If for some reason that resource starts to diminish, they’re going to be saying ‘I can remember five years ago there were lots of deer, there were lots of halibut, where are they?’ Hopefully, that would be translated into some action that would be of benefit to the wildlife.”
There were submissions in both the senior and junior categories, including moose, mule deer, cougar, black bear, elk, bull trout and more.
Hunting knives engraved with the names of the winner were given out.
One thing Scown has noticed this year is the increase in submissions for junior hunters.
One junior hunter, Darian Smith, did very well. Along with taking home the prize for Junior Whitetail, she won the junior hunter award and the Fred Pigott Memorial Award.
Smith has been hunting for four years and caught her winning deer back in October.
“I went out on my deck, and my dad said there was some deer in our back field, so I went to my grandparent’s field, and there they were,” she said. “There were about four big bucks, and I had to choose which one I liked the best, and I shot it.”
This is the first time she’s won a major award at the banquet.
For Scown, seeing the amount of junior hunters bringing in submissions makes him hopeful that they’re becoming more aware of their surroundings.
“The kids are doing things with their parents, and they’re doing something they enjoy, they’re doing something right here in their home environment, and if we look after the fish and the wildlife, their grandchildren will be doing the same,” he concluded.