Although there was the usual hilarity at the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club awards night on March 2, there was also a more serious subject at hand. Club President and MC for the night Hank Scown had brought a presentation about dwindling mule deer numbers and eight different Management Options for the Club members to vote on.
The numbers are troubling, signalling a seriously declining population. When asked the reason for the current scarcity of mule deer, Scown couldn’t pin it to a single cause and listed human settlement, development, industry, predation, and more. The fact is, the numbers are falling in a troubling way, he said, and something needs to be done.
The eight Management Options presented more constrained hunting regulations as they increased: Option one was to shorten the season for any buck hunting, while number eight was making mule deer hunting a Limited Entry Hunting category, the most restricted category.
When the voting was done, Option six had 11 votes, Option seven nine and Option eight had 10. Scown will be taking the results to an upcoming meeting with Ministry of Environment in Nelson.
“While this doesn’t show a ‘standout winner’ it does clearly demonstrate a very strong desire by the membership to see a very conservative option implemented,” Scown told the Arrow Lakes News. The Nakusp Rod and Gun Club president also said that changes to this year’s mule deer hunting season openings will not be known until more information is gathered and assessed by The Ministry Of Environment.
But mule deer weren’t the only reason for the night’s get together. Nope, there were big prizes to hand out. Julian Sapietis wasn’t around to receive the first award in the Senior Firearms category for his black bear, but Jesse Cann was to receive his prize for Grizzly. Rainer Krissler and his wife told the story of a day that started out with an empty gas tank but ended in a huge elk, the rack from which was the stage’s centrepiece. Ernie Knecht took home the award for White Tailed Deer, and told his fishing story of the one that got away – the rod that got away over the side of the boat, and was never seen again.
In that spirit, Tammy O’Brien was awarded the “Lost Fish Award” which was given to her for catching a 13-plus pound trout in 2011 but missing out on an award.
The Archer awards went to Paul Seaton for Whitetail Deer, and David Olson for Mule Deer. Both received handsome knives for their troubles.
Whitney Shkuratoff, down at the coast at a trade show as part of an NSS project, received the Junior Award for Whitetail Deer and Cameron Olson took one too for his moose.
A 15-pound rainbow trout earned David Olson another award in the Fish category, and Art Romano picked up one for his eight-pound 12-ounce bull trout. The Junior award went to knee-high-to-a-grasshopper Savannah Olson who caught a nine-pound eight-ounce bull trout.
Whitney Shkuratoff will be coming home to a beautiful keeper trophy for the Fred Pigott Memorial Award which she won this year.
A slew of door prizes were raffled off as well, including a Stihl chainsaw which went to Brian Hewat and was collected by his lovely wife Anastasia. The big prize was a Sako 85 rifle, and Benny Bruneau was the lucky guy who took the black beauty home this year.