My Bloodline's in British Columbia: Meti gangs, Wild McLean Boys and Hunting
The idea of hunting first introduced itself when my grandfather passed; my dad half-heartedly asked me if I wanted his guns. They didn't think I would want them, but curiosity made me say, "sure." Growing up, I spent countless hours vacationing in Gramps' cabin on the Okanagan Lake unaware of the guns in my presence nor did any hint of my bloodline's colorful tale in British Columbia reveal itself.
Parents being parents they tried to hide my family history from me; they hated it. My maternal grandfather had his firearms concealed in a secret wooden panel closet underneath the basement stairway. I inherited a model 1894 Winchester manufactured in 1911 and two model 12-12 gauge, manufactured in the 1920's. Along with the fire-power, I received a stack of faded black and white photos of cousins, uncles, and Gramps, with shotguns slung over their shoulders, and proudly displaying their game they've worked all day to gather. While unearthing my heritage, I also discovered relations to the notorious Meti gang, Wild McLean Boys. Apparently, they were the original outlaws in the Okanagan and Nicola Valley area.
As a kid, I got angry at my parents if they killed as much as a fly. To be honest, I didn't think I wanted to; I wasn't sure I could, but then I had a taste of wild game for the first time. A friend had shot a Grouse while we were driving down an old logging road. Despite already having an enormous trucker sized breakfast, he had insisted right then and there on frying up the bird. My stomach, already filled to the brim, felt like it was going to explode. But upon his insistence I took my first bite, I not only greedily finished my portion of the rich dark-meat but tried to get at his share as well. And that was it; I started to kill.
My mom was upset with me for a long time after I told her I wanted to hunt. It's still not something we talk about, but she eventually got over it. Most people think of hunters as these big bellied cigar smoking, whiskey drinking redneck men but I went to college for arts; I paint, draw and write. I find being in nature and patiently watching the wild to be incredibly therapeutic; it's helped a lot with stress.
Wade is a weekend warrior and casual truck hunter. He prefers small game, mostly birds that he can quickly pluck and cook up. He enjoys bonding with friends over elaborate campfire meals and showing them a different perspective on hunting, gun use, and the backcountry.
One thing he likes to do while in nature is read. On this particular camping trip (pictured) he was reading, The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals―and Other Forgotten Skills, by Tristen Gooley. " It's hard to digest the densely-packed knowledge in this book sitting in your living room, but when you're outside, you get a real life reference while reading." I'm also working on getting through the compact read and will post my review of the book soon.
He's been a great mentor and was one of the first people I reached out to when I started my venture into hunting. We were in the same circle of friends, but I had no idea Wade hunted until I started asking around about hunting in the general sense. He is this soft-spoken, introverted man and the last person on earth I would assume to be into hunting. That is until he pulls up in his truck with Real Tree seat covers. The first time Wade picked me up, oh man, the look on my face must have been comical. I struggled to keep a straight face. Later on, he confessed, he had bought those to poke fun at himself. The self-deprecating redneck jokes never seem to end between the two of us when we are out chasing our next adventure. On our last camping trip, we drank bourbon, smoke cigars and attempted to trap squirrels - if that ain't redneck then I don't know what is. But all jokes aside, we both enjoy coming home to the city and enjoying the finer things in life, like a hot bowl of chicken pho. Our go-to downtown spot is a (horrifically named) joint called, Pho Goodness on Davie Street.
I would love to hear about how you started on your journey into hunting, share with me here.