A capacity crowd attended the West Kootenay Big Game Trophy Association’s 57th annual banquet on Saturday at the Cominco Arena to recognize the top hunters, volunteers and conservationists in the Kootenays.
In a slightly different format from previous years, the WKBGTA handed out the awards before dinner, then dug into the five-course meal catered by the Riverbelle, drew hundreds of door and raffle prizes courtesy of local businesses, and held the silent auction, before dancing the night away.
“It was fantastic,” said long-time member Jay Mykietyn. “They finally got the speaker system working properly so everyone could hear this year, people were quiet and respectful, and everything flowed nicely.”
Castlegar’s Mike Dawson was the big winner with his Boone and Crockett typical elk that scored a whopping 375 5/8. Dawson picked up the Commander Memorial Trophy for largest elk, as well as the Championship Cup for best animal. The Pat Archibald Memorial trophy was awarded to John Harmston, and a new award in memory of Cookie L’Ecluse, recognized John Lind for his dedication and service on the Big Game executive. Ben Beetlestone picked up the Archery Award for the largest cougar that measured in at 14 11/16, the largest in any field, Aynsley Ahlstrom won the Female Grand-aggregate for her 163 1/8 non-typical mule deer, while Cara Mehmal took home the Junior championship plaque with her 163 california bighorn.
Other senior winners include Garret Angerilli for an 18 1/2 black bear, Ken Scown – Grizzly 22 1/8, Ryan Mclachlan – Whitetail 150 1/8, Alastair Berglund – Kootenay moose 139 1/8, Ryan Bordin – Mt. Goat 49, David Bond – Timber wolf 17 1/16, Peter Eldridge – turkey 40 7/8, Mitch Roggensack – Lake rainbow 20-pounds, and Kyle Bartsoff – river rainbow three-pounds two-ounces.
Tyson Angerilli won the junior trophy for largest elk that scored 292 1/4, Kyle Bartsoff added his second trophy with largest black bear 17 11/16, Logan Mengler took top grizzly bear at 21 1/8, Rory Bond scored top typical whitetail at 111 1/2, while Garret Patterson won the non-typical whitetail at 167 3/4. The typical mule deer went to T.J. Murdoch, 152 1/4, Tim McLachlan bagged the largest turkeym 34, Zach McLachlan landed the biggest river bull trout at six pounds, four onces, and Liam DenBiesen tailed the largest river walley at one-pound, 14-ounces.
Photos: The West Kootenay Big Game Trophy Association held its 57th annual awards banquet at the Cominco Gym on Saturday and recognized top hunters in the senior and junior categories, as well as long-time member John Lind who was awarded the Cookie L’Ecluse Memorial award. Like a rose between two thorns, Aynsley Ahlstrom won the female Grand Aggregate while Ben Beetlestone claimed top archer award, and Mike Dawson’s Boone-and-Crockett elk earned him the Commander trophy and Championship Cup. Other Big Game banquet goers included Emily Eldridge, 5, and mom, Pam, from Pass Creek checking out the hundreds of door prizes and silent auction items donated by Kootenay businesses, and Fruitvale’s Lyndsay Guglielmin, Calla Rieberger, and Marcie Guglielmin who enjoy the social aspect of the popular event.
Photos by Peter Moll and Jim Bailey