NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Hunting, fishing and trapping
Fort Liard students learn at Fisherman Lake

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013

After a five-day on-the-land camp, James Duntra can now say he's set traps for marten and been on a bison hunt.

NNSL photo/graphic

Echo Dene School principal William Gowans, left, Matthew Klondike and James Duntra pose with the bison that was harvested on Feb. 27 at Fisherman Lake uring an on-the-land camp for seven Fort Liard students. - photo courtesy of William Gowans

The camp at Fisherman Lake organized by Echo Dene School contained a lot of new experiences for Duntra and six other students in grades 7 and 9. Some of the students had never been to the lake before and for some of the girls, it was their first time spending a few days on the land, said William Gowans, the school's principal who also supervised the camp.

The camp, held from Feb. 25 to March 1, gave the students an opportunity to see what's involved in trapping. The school received funding from the Take a Kid Trapping Program for the camp.

"It's part of the culture," Gowans said.

Setting and checking traps along with snowmobiling were Duntra's favourite parts of the five days at the lake. Community members Jimmy and Matthew Klondike assisted the students and showed them how to set traps and snares on Feb. 26. Two days later, Gowans and the students checked the traps by themselves.

"It was interesting and fun," Duntra, 14, said about trapping.

He said trapping is easy as long as you get a lot of animals. The students harvested a marten, a rabbit and a lynx from existing traps and snares. They had the opportunity to watch the lynx being skinned.

Duntra also enjoyed the bison hunt, his first. Gowans shot the bison on Feb. 27 utilizing a bison tag that Acho Dene Koe First Nation gave the school.

The students helped Gowans and the Klondikes skin and gut the animal.

"Some students were a little more eager to help than others," Gowans said.

The students also helped to load the meat and the hide onto toboggans to be transported back into Fort Liard. The resulting meat will be distributed between students and staff at the school as well as elders in the community. There was a lot of meat, Duntra said.

Snowmobiling and ice fishing were the highlights of the camp for Precious Hope, 12, who had never been on a school trip on the land before. Students fished with lines through the ice on the lake.

Hope and the other students also helped do the camp chores. The duties included cleaning the tables for meals, clearing dishes and sweeping the cabin floors. A lot of work goes into running a camp, Hope said.

The students also made sure the snowmobiles were in working order and watched out for each other's safety, among other activities.

"They loved going out and getting wood," said Gowans.

The camp was a success and the weather co-operated all week, he said.

"They had a wonderful time," said Gowans.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.