Trekking through the cross country ski trails on Hudson Bay Mountain lsat Saturday morning, it soon becomes clear that hunting and killing your own food takes patience, persistence and impeccable aim.
And that is what the Bulkley Valley Bowmen set out to teach at this year’s pre-hunting season shoot.
“We get participants to bring all their gear that they usually use for hunting like binoculars, range finders and be really prepared for the upcoming hunting season,” said Scott Olesiuk, president of the BV Bowmen. “It brings out lots of families and other people who love shooting 3D targets.”
The third annual Mountain Madness 3D big-game shoot drew participants from McBride, Terrace and Quesnel to practice before the hunting season begins in September.
There were 30 different life-like big-game targets to shoot at such as moose, cougars and bears.
Even though the China Nose fire prevented some people from Vanderhoof and Prince George from participating, Olesiuk said the event is quickly growing in popularity, with 40 participants in the first year, 50 in the second and roughly 70 people this year.
“I was trying to make [the trail system] as realistic for preparing for the hunting season,” he said.
“It’s a fun family competition . . . and it also gets hunters more prepared for the season and for the most ethical hunting and harvesting opportunities, so you don’t have guys out there in the bush that haven’t had any practice and are just chasing animals around.”
The terrain was also easy enough for people of all ages to participate, with one of the youngest competitors being only five years old.
Telkwa’s Suzanne Johnson and her family have competed in three other tournaments this year and loved that the event is so family-oriented.
“We like to do it as a family. It’s something that we all enjoy,” said Johnson. “You can see how many kids are here and there’s not many sports that you can do as a whole family where everyone is on equal footing,”
Ten-year-old Colby Green just starting shooting a couple of months ago and said the course offered him the chance to practice shooting his favourite animals.
“I really like the tournament and I like the grizzly bears a lot because it’s one of my favourite animals. I really enjoy it here,” he said.
And for even the most experienced hunters, the course still presented some challenges.
“We love the shoot because it’s up here in the mountains and there’s varying terrain,” said Mike O’Neill who was using a traditional recurve bow to shoot during the tournament.
“Hitting the target, that and finding arrows in the bush can be a challenge,” he laughed.