On Saturday, February 11, the Drumheller and District Fish and Game Association held its 34th Annual Wild Game Dinner and Awards night at the East Coulee Community Hall.
The tantalizing meal was prepared by Karin Miller; the menu for the sold-out crowd's dinner consisted of spaghetti and moose meatballs, antelope curry, whitetail rouladen, moose meatballs in barbecue sauce, mule deer stroganoff, baked ling cod, moose roast and garlic frying sausage with sauerkraut and perogies, as well as some tamer dishes such as roasted pork loin, roast beef and roast turkey with stuffing.
Other dishes included Caesar salad, roast potatoes and a scrumptious roast vegetable platter that made you hungry just to look at it with its bright orange carrots, purple beets, red peppers and cherry tomatoes surrounded by asparagus.
After the hearty meal, if you still had room, there was a delicious cheesecake and chocolate brownie ala mode selection for dessert.
Club President Stephanie Briggs started the evening off with cheque presentations-$250 to The Salvation Army Drumheller Food Bank, $500 to STARS, $500 to Badlands Search and Rescue, $500 to the Heart to Heart Association, and $250 to Zone 2 Alberta Fish and Game Association.
It was also announced they would be sending two youth members to the Cenalta Youth Conservation Academy this summer to upgrade their outdoor survival skills.
The announcements for the award winners were next; the Association met in the summer of 2021 in an outdoor setting to hand out award winner trophies for 2020, but still had two years worth to do.
Fish and bird winners for 2021 are: Biggest Rainbow Trout was taken by Levi Thacker with a length of 19-3/8 inches; Levi was also the winner of the Vaughn Gleiser Best Junior Angler Trophy for his catch; the E.D. McDonald trophy for Biggest Canada Goose, with a weight of 12 lbs 6 oz was won by Rod Dyck.
Winners in the big game categories for 2021-Valley Sporting Goods Trophy for Biggest Archery Mule Deer, with a score of 169-4/8 inches, went to Robert Sinclair; the Eddie Keats Memorial Trophy for Biggest Typical Mule Deer was won by Dean Dwernychuk with a score of 160 inches; the Steve Zacharuk Memorial Trophy for Pronghorn Antelope with a score of 71-4/8 inches was Craig Stanger; the Ned O’Connor-Browne Memorial Trophy for Biggest Typical White-tailed Deer was taken by Kelsey Chambers with a score of 140-5/8 inches; the Biggest Alpine Animal Award was won by Austin Mertz with an Archery Black Bear measuring 18 inches.
Awards are open to members only, however, the association likes to recognize First Time Successful Big Game Hunters with a congratulatory plaque, and is open to anyone in the general public. There were four winners for 2021-Emily Mertz, Issac Molzhan, Jonathon Thomas and Allison Lowen.
The final award for 2021 was the Club's most prestigious award, the Bob Hannah President’s Choice Award for the Best All Around Volunteer of the Year. It is decided solely by the President.
As the President was about to announce the winner she was interrupted and, to her surprise, it was announced the recipient had not felt worthy of the award since the club had been in COVID lock down and unable to do much for activities.
The recipient contacted other Executive members and asked the President's decision be overturned for the first time in the history of the award.
An emotional presentation was then made naming Club President Stephanie Briggs as the winner, and calling it the People’s Choice Award for 2021.
Next up was the presentation of Awards for the 2022 winners in each category.
Winners in the fish and bird categories were-Biggest Northern Pike was caught by Cate Briggs with a length of 28-1/4 inches; Cate was also the winner of the Vaughn Gleiser Best Junior Angler Trophy for her pike; Biggest Bull Trout was taken by Nik Briggs with a length of 14-5/8 inches; the Rosedale Concrete Works Annual Trophy for the Biggest Pheasant was won by Dean Dwernychuk with a tail length of 20-3/4 inches.
The Big Game winners of 2022 were Jim Pask, the Tower Trophies Biggest Moose Award with a score of 71-4/8 inches; Nik Briggs, the Steve Zacharuk Memorial Award for biggest pronghorn antelope with a score of 72 inches; Biggest Alpine Animal had two winners, Austin Mertz for his archery elk which scored 201-4/8 inches, and Braden Burrows for his black bear scoring 19-/8 inches; Robert Sinclair, the Perry Berlando Memorial Award for non-typical mule deer scoring 178-5/8 inches; Trevor Burrows, the Ned O’Connor-Browne Award for biggest white-tailed deer with a score of 134-4/8 inches; and Kerra Daem, the Eddie Keats Memorial Award for best typical mule deer with a score of 140-6/8 inches.
First Time Successful Big Game Hunters plaques for 2022 were given out to Kyle McCormick, Amanda, Brooke, and Katie Hanik, three successful sisters who all took their first big game animals in 2022.