Well, a lot has happened since July 15, 2020. It was then that I started my position here at the Sikanni River Ranch.
At start up a crew of workers from the Prophet Community came and did a lot of hard work. The crew rebuilt the majority of the old snake type fence lines. The great old fence surrounds much of the ranch, and was in very poor repair. As a result of all the hard work, we can now keep the horses in, and the bison out. Great job everybody!
The Prophet Boys also brushed the roads, and brushed back the many blind corners, making the road lots safer for all travellers. We also got out to some of the camps. Tremble, Big Mountain and Twin Lakes. We cut trails out, and got the horses familiar with the more remote surroundings again. Great work team!
In our first months of operation, we also started and completed the major job in rebuilding the septic system here at the lodge.
In my estimation, we had a successful hunting season, despite COVID-19. The Sikanni River Ranch saw numerous Canadian hunters. There were successful hunts, as well as hunters that are excited to come back to try again. Unfortunately, Canadian hunters don’t generate the bigger dollars like non-resident hunters do, which is reflected in our year end financials. On the upside, the camps were brought into use again, the horses had jobs, and there were many hunters that were happy with their experience here, including Mr. Darwin Cary from Scoop Lake Outfitters.
Bison season was also very busy. The Government changed the different hunting zones, and in turn put a lot more pressure on the valley. I estimate there were three times the ATV and snowmobile traffic. This pressure pushed the bison to the high country and into the thick timber. Now that bison season is closed, the pressure’s off and really great to see them back in the lower meadows for grazing.
The Ranch saw many people this season. The lodge was almost always full, as well as the cabins. From October to the end of January, our cooks did a tremendous job in feeding, caring for, and cleaning up after our many clients. Hats off to all those that pitched in to help things run smoothly.
I am hopeful that the international borders open for our next season, so we can have another busy season with clients enjoying the land and wildlife, while generating a larger income.
We have been seeing an increasing amount of young cows this past season. Here is to hoping the moose and elk population continue to grow. We also saw many grizzly bears this fall. They are especially hard on the moose and elk between May and June, while the cows are calving. I would encourage members to come exercise your traditional rights and harvest a grizzly bear.
In efforts to balance growth in our large game population, the Ministry has been active with predator management in the Sikanni, Nevas, Besa, and Muskwa Valleys. This will be especially good for our moose populations.
The lack of snow in the early part of bison season was especially hard on the snowmobiles. Thankfully we got through the season without a bunch of major breakdowns, and the hunters could continue to go where they needed to be, and we could get across the river for the never-ending demand of firewood.
The cabins at Tremble Lake and Beattie are already getting lots of bookings for summer fishing. Seems these areas are also becoming more popular to those seeking solitude and hiking.
I look forward to seeing the Ranch continue to grow and be a prosperous business. ?
Sikanni River Ranch Manager I Guide Outfitter