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Sharing a nearly extinct tradition

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Persistence, patience and a little bit of luck are all important parts of white-tail deer hunting. But, the real key to success lies with the passion for the hunt – aspects that local Pat Bergson has used to grow his Bows and Bullets outfitting business for approximately thirty years – as one of the last outfitters on horse back in Canada.
Raised in Lenswood, Bergson began hunting as soon as he was able to. Spending days in the bush with his father – who worked in the community pasture – and his uncle, Bergson’s pray of small birds eventually turned to deer, bears and beyond – before he changed the game completely and started hunting on horse back.
“When I was about 25 I started doing horseback hunts,” he said. “I’ve always liked horses and it beats walking any day.”
Horses are of two major uses to hunters as they bring them to where the game is and help them transport the game out of the woods.
“I love being in the bush,” he said. “I may have been all over but the Duck Mountains have always been my favourite. It’s my happy place.”
Bergson continues to return to his camp in the Duck Mountains year after year to entertain guests from the United States and different places throughout the country for a unique experience.
“I get people that have never ridden a horse before and they just fall right off of them,” he said, noting many different pleasant experiences he has shared with others at his camp. “I just love what I’m doing and anytime you can do what you love it doesn’t really feel like work.”
While it may not feel like work to him, Bergson is humble about the extent he goes to in order to prepare his camp for visitors.
“I have so much stuff I haul into my camp,” he said. “I haul beds, food, ATVs, fuel, propane and saddles.”
Many might assume that the hunt is the real hard work that goes into a week-long stay at Bows and Bullets. However, once the hunters arrive the fun begins.
“It’s hard work until the hunters show up,” said Bergson. “Then that’s where I can relax because I know we’re going to get something. I know the country too well.”
Bergson’s knowledge of the land impressed visitors at this spring’s Parkland Outdoor Show and Expo in Yorkton, Sask.. So much so that he, in turn, was offered a once in a life time experience this fall.
Former CFL player and winner of the 100th Grey Cup Joe Eppele, met Bergson at the event and immediately put a plan in action to visit the hunting guide with his television program The Edge which airs on Wild TV.
Eppele and his good friend Celebrity Chef and Co-owner of Antler Kitchen and Bar in Toronto, Ont. Michael Hunter – The Hunter Chef – arrived at the camp on Nov. 17.
“It was awesome,” said Bergson. “Here were two guys who really didn’t know what they were getting into but really enjoyed it. They were the perfect fit for the experience. It was funny to see them laughing and smiling and thinking it was fun.”
Bergson proceeded to guide the hunters for a week at his camp with his four horses.
“I hunt too,” said Bergson. “I am a guide but I don’t just take them out and say okay here’s your stand. I go out with them and hunt. It’s my passion and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it.”
A statement both celebrity parties would agree to after they each hauled away their own catch.
“It was my first trip to Manitoba,” said Hunter. “It was very nostalgic for me. I grew up on a horse farm and my family used to hunt on horseback years ago.”
Hunter was able to collect a Dakota Whitetail at 220 yards with a ammunition heart shot.
“I started off doing a lot of bow hunting in my twenties when I was hunting for food,” he said. “In the last five or six years I’ve done a lot more riffle hunting.”
During his week-long stay, Hunter was able to offer up his professional cooking skills at camp preparing things such as turnips and deer liver.
“It was just amazing,” said Bergson. He cooked the best turnips I’ve had in my life. He was talking to me and cutting an onion at the same time and where I would have cut my finger off he had perfect slices.”
The Hunter Chef travelled back to Toronto, Ont. thrilled with his catch, inspired by the mountains and excited to one day return and relive the experience.
“I love it,” he said. “It was really beautiful and I can’t wait to come back. Pat’s just amazing, he’s such a good guy and I thought it was really cool that he’s one of the last outfitters on horseback for deer in Canada.”
As for Bergson, while entertaining celebrities would be a headliner to many, it’s his 25, 24, six and four year old horses that remain what impresses him the most.
“The horses are the stars,” he said. “They get us where we want to go.”
The episode will air on Wild TV in spring 2020.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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