The Standard Bighorns Club, one of the oldest outdoors hunting clubs in Alberta, held their 53rd annual supper and meeting in Standard on March 4.
“[It was] originally established when a few local guys decided they would get together later in the year after the hunting season and create a social event where they could hand out a few awards to the members who shot the biggest animals that year,” said Jason Gauthier, president of the club. “We still do the same thing but now we have changed the focus towards kids and promoting the hunting and the outdoor sport with youth.”
This year’s dinner had a much lower attendance than that of recent years, only around 15 people and five kids showed up for the dinner. The low attendance is attributed to both Strathmore and Drumheller clubs scheduling their wild game dinners on the same night as Standard’s.
The low attendance, however, didn’t stop members from enjoying the wild game potluck, handing out awards for the biggest harvested animals and handing out the youth award. The night also saw rewards to the club’s youth with prizes such as fishing rods for bringing in pictures of the fish they caught, or the gopher they exterminated the previous year.
“Our main goal right now is to promote youth hunting,” said Gauthier, who added the club has been helping to support kids who wish to go to hunter training camps by paying for a portion of the costs. Last year the club sent two of the members’ kids to the hunters training camp.
Served at this year’s dinner were dishes created with moose, elk, deer and even cougar.
Winners for the 2016 hunting season included: largest bear (17 inches), Jason Gauthier; biggest archery shot deer, Jason Gauthier; largest mule deer (178 5/8), Tyler Laycock; largest white-tailed deer (148 5/8), Pascal Bissonnette; largest elk (304 2/8), Tim Christensen; youth hunter award for white-tailed buck, Lucas d’Argent; youth female for gopher, Rylen Bugusky.
“The importance is just to keep up traditions, the history of this club, one of the oldest outdoor clubs in Alberta, and to keep promoting new hunting to keep youth in the sport,” said Gauthier.
Each year the club enters a float in the Standard Sports Day parade. They have also worked with the Alberta Hunter Education Association to make a hunting simulator available for kids to try out during the Sports Day festivities.
“This is a tradition that’s been passed down over the years for many of these kids. We also have some kids who don’t come from a hunting background that want to learn about it,” said Gauthier.
Anyone who is interested can join the club. It is $30 for a single membership or $40 for a family membership. Call Jason Gauthier at 403-644-2955 or Perry Ellis at 403-644-3963 to join. Information and pictures can also be viewed on the club’s Facebook page: Bighorns Club Standard.