2019 WSF Guide of the Year
—but ask anyone who’s ever hunted with her and they’ll tell you she can work circles around most guides.
Raised in Bluffton, Alberta in an outdoor family and surrounded by horses growing up, she’s built a career around her passion and love.
Cutting her teeth working in outfitting camps since the age of 15, Stephanie has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the top sheep guides in the industry. Her track record of success speaks for itself.
Then fall would come around and I’d do some hunts with that same outfitter. One day, I got a call while I was out picking up more clients for a pack trip and it was from my great friend Gwen Norman. She worked for Big9 outfitters and had previously worked for the same outfitter in Alberta that I was working for.
She asked if I was interested in coming to BC to work as soon as I was finished in Alberta and of course I said yes!
So, I headed north for my first year in BC. I started out cooking and wrangling but knew I wanted to work towards guiding one day. It was always something I wanted to do which would enable me to spend as much time in the mountains as possible.
That first year was incredible and at the end of the season I was asked to return for the next season. That next season they turned me loose and started my guiding career. I couldn’t have asked for a better start!
Patience! In both the guide and client. It’ll go a long way to making it an enjoyable and successful hunt.
Growing up in a hunting family I feel has been the biggest factor for me. Learning about hunting and ethics at a young age instilled in me those building blocks. Whether good or bad, I also try to take something from every experience and learn from it. I take that lesson and apply it the next time I’m in the field.
Best advice to a hunter I would say is physical conditioning before their hunt. It’ll save on your joints and help avoid injuries. Physical fitness is a must when mountain hunting.
Once there, less travel and more glassing are such a huge one, let your eyes do the walking for you. I know this goes for a lot of people, but it will pay dividends in the end.
Stone sheep in BC, It’s the first of the sheep that I guided for and I’ve just been drawn to them ever since.
There are a few hunts that come to mind but my bighorn hunt sticks out as being a grind. We backpacked in the last week of October after mine and Brady’s guiding season had ended. It was one of those hunts in tough country and tough weather conditions that just takes a toll on you.
To make a long story short, I was able to take a beautiful big ram with a couple of long shots. It was only after one of those days where you say just one more ridge for the third time that day! It was a long tough hike out that included getting cliffed out in an icy waterfall and getting soaked crossing a river. One to remember for sure!