Well the new times arrive with the departure of the old times. I lost my brother Cam Lancaster August 21/2008 in an airplane accident. For 10 years we ran Lancaster Fraser Canyon Outfitters together. Chasing down every hard running Bear, cougar, lynx and bobcat we could find. Sharing lifetimes of memories many brothers never get to share in only a handful of years. We both have and had an extreme love of hounds. The eleventh season would be without Cam in body but not without him in presence.
I started out my season in November running lynx in the Skeena region of BC near my hometown of Smithers. This is beginning to turn into a pre guide season tradition for me. I had two of Cam’s old dogs, Chester and Nugget plus Nuggets litter mate Stitch. Reg Collingwood joined me plus his two boys Mark and Clint and my long time running partner Julien Remillard. We faced quite a dump of early season snow with my bumper acting as a snowplough. We managed to find 3 good chases and caught on 2 of them. Both solid 22-23 pound lynx and of course the big one got away!!! Julien had his 5-year-old boy Noah out on one of the lynx runs and introduced the next generation to the thrills of hound hunting.
December 1st found me in my central BC Chilcotan guide area once more. My cousin Jake Wiebe filled my brother Cam’s shoes. Jason Nutini, Kevin Frew and young dog handler Jason Gilbert were also back. We had two Mexican hunters Braulio and Louis Romero and long time friend Jerry Tyrrell from Woodland Washington. Jerry was on a lynx-bobcat combo and we wasted no time getting lucky. We were out before daylight and caught a lynx jumping off the road out of our headlights. We continued on looking because daybreak was still an hour away and managed to find a good tom cougar track. We called in the crew and all were soon pounding after our hot healed lynx we had seen. Congrats to this lynx though, he did not go down without a fight and jumped tree on us a couple times before Jerry could get a crack at him. We quickly switched from
lynx to cougar but with only 2 inches of snow in the opens, the warm air beat us to the end of the trail, and our cougar success melted away before our eyes. We preceded to fight these conditions for the next several days, treeing and letting go female cats, then a solid snowfall and cool air arrived.
We wasted no time taking advantage of the good conditions with trucks heading out in different directions. All the hounds (Chester, Joker, Nugget, Stitch, Gus, Lelo, Chewy, Lucky, Bear) had their faces full of scent that day ending with three bobcats, 27-28&35 pounds and a 26-pound lynx. There were bunches of cold finger’s on the deck at our camp from skinning cats. But all were soon salted and tag with another day upon us.
We had been knocking around a few good tom tracks and finally got a line out on over night track. This tom had something in his mind called travel and we soon found ourselves on a marry old run. Miles of ridges and draws later found me adding Stitch to the chase from the ski-doo. Unfortunately for Joker Nugget an Chester a female cougar ran back track down the tom’s trail and caused the dogs a back trail cross up. Dumping Stitch in on the right direction had the tom jumped quickly, but this big old cat had other plans that involved running. A while later found me ahead of the hounds on the ski-doo sitting on a big tom track. I called my cousin Jake and told him to get hit two dogs Gus and Squeeks down here. Jake lined out on the track with Braulio and Gilbert while I went looking for our other dogs, which I found over a ridge treed. Good fortune had shook another tom out of the woodwork and we soon had two big toms treed. Never have I pulled 2 `160 pound and change toms the same day. Well now I have!!! I also forgot to mention Craig Pickard came in for strait bobcat hunt and we killed a 24-pound bobby that morning. Credits going to Koya the Karilian on that kitty. After the hounds did all the hard work cold trailing she glory dogged the bobby! I think the hounds hate that little fur ball!
We still had to get Braulio a lynx. Jason Nutini radioed me from his location the next morning he had found a real lynx track, meaning big”. We all got together and ran this cat hard and fast. End result was a treed face flared monster. This lynx almost made it to an endless expanse of dog hair jack pine. That would have had us pickled! He did jump once and give us some concern but the end result was the new SCI archery world record at 9 2/16, 28 pounds of skinny frame. This old kitty’s canines were gone and his days were definitely numbered before we came along. This was the end of the first go around. We treed a couple cats for fun the next couple a days waiting for our new group of three.
Herb Rudolf, Graham Weiss and Bob Gluck were more excited than anyone to get going-second to the guides. Kevin Frew found a big tom track along with myself. We dumped the dogs along with our greyhound Jason Gilbert and 4 hours later Herb had his 6’’7 frame looking at 55’’ to base of tail frame, 159-pound tom. That was just the beginning, we smoked through a couple of bobcats and lynx the next few days, cut a dandy tom track and marathoned his 175 pound carcass leading into a bunch of cold weather. No matter for Nugget as he pulled out Bob Glucks great face flared lynx in –30 c and change weather. Wow it was cold! Koya found us the last bobcat as we worked some rim country in hopes of popping one out. She has style that little Karelian! All in all I was on 21 treed cats myself by the 19th of December and all the cats caught by crew exceeded 30. Jason Gilbert, Kevin Frew and I went out for a Dec 20th hunt of our own and pulled two great bobcats in –35 weather. What a lot of fun there is to be found behind hounds, what a lot of life there is to be found for the love of hounds.