If anyone is wondering where the wild things are, they need look no further than the Trail Memorial Centre where hundreds of revelers gathered Saturday for the always popular Big Game Banquet.
At the West Kootenay Big Game Association’s 54th annual awards banquet, accomplishments in the field are recognized, both in taxidermy and the work of wildlife conservationists.
Surrounded by elk, deer, cougar, sheep, goat and bear, the realistic creations of Kootenay taxidermists, close to 350 wildlife enthusiasts packed the Cominco Gym where they were treated to a five-course meal by the Riverbelle, good wine, prizes and dancing.
Local businesses and organizations donated hundreds of door prizes and items for the silent and live auctions, raffles and card draws with funds going towards conservation efforts and preserving wildlife habitat.
“We donate funds to a variety of projects,” said association president Mike LeRose. “Projects like the goat transplant or feeding the Salmo-Creston sheep; we donated money to all the work that got done in Fort Shepherd, all the fencing, the Murphy Creek spawning channel, anything that helps conserve wildlife.”
Mathew Thomas of Grand Forks took home the junior championship plaque after posting the highest score in the black bear and non-typical mule deer categories.
The highest senior hunting honour went to Jeff Angerilli whose Rocky Mountain bull elk scored an impressive 366 6/8 to take the grand aggregate and the championship cup.
“That’s probably the most exceptional animal out of all them,” said Trail hunter and executive member Aaron Weishaupt.
Over 40 entered in the trophy category and all are scored by longtime member Larry Hill, according to the Boone and Crockett scoring formula.
Members and guests reveled into the night and were eventually ushered home by a free taxi service courtesy of the association and driver Brandon Cox.