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.
Elk, moose, mountain goat, stone sheep, Dall sheep, desert sheep, bighorn sheep, red stag, tahr, chamois, fallow deer, black bear, whitetail, mule deer, caribou, grizzly.
Axis Hybrid Hooded Jacket and Peloton 97 Fleece Zip-Off Bottoms.
I grew up going into the mountains on pack trips with my family. My dad would load up all of us kids and we'd spend a few weeks every summer packing and riding. Then I started working for an outfitter in Alberta when I was 15 doing mostly horseback pack trips and fishing trips.
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.
There’s lots of ways to judge a ram like depth of curl and how they carry the weight but anytime I’m in a band of rams I always compare body sizes. I’ve seen a couple of rams that look like giants, but they’ve got little dwarf bodies.
I was a part of a hunt where that happened. It was still a great ram but not what we thought he was because of being fooled by his body size.
A lot of prep goes into every hunt. Backpack hunting for myself is quick but tedious in the attention to detail. You can only pack so much weight on your back and planning your food right down to each ounce.
The good thing about that though is once you have your pack set then it’s just a matter of hiking. Backpacking is nice in a way that you can camp pretty much anywhere if you have water.
While hunting with horses, everywhere I go I’m constantly thinking about water, feed and finding a spot you can turn them out to graze and hopefully they don’t pull out leaving you stranded and looking for them!
There is so much prep that goes into hunting off horseback. Lots of stuff from shoeing the string to fitting saddles to deciding which horses will back and which will ride.
The benefit to all that prep and work to horseback hunt is getting to live in a pretty comfortable camp. I usually run with a wall tent and stove—depending on where we’re going.
Additionally, it allows us to have a larger variety of fresher foods instead of the old standby freeze-dried meals you eat on backpack hunts.
A huge benefit of hunting off horses, is it allows you to travel a lot further faster saving your legs for the climbing and hunting once you access the area you want to be in.
I personally love the horseback hunts. I love working with horses and trailing. I’ve been around horses my entire life and wouldn’t change it one bit.
This feels like such a hard question to answer, but only because I don’t know how to spit out the words on how it felt.
As I sat at the table Saturday night with my husband Brady, two of my sisters, and a bunch of our close friends. The award was coming up and I asked Brady who he thought was going to receive the award and he just shrugged and said he wasn’t sure—but he knew.
Anyways, as Arlene Hanson started to speak and she said for the first time ever it was a woman! I got excited wondering who it could be and how cool it was going to be to see a woman go up on that stage to get it.
Well, moments later my name was called, and I was in complete shock. The tears started pouring out of my eyes, it was a feeling of how did I get this!? I never would’ve put myself into that category to receive such an award, but what an incredible experience.
I’m extremely honored and humbled to have walked up on that stage and I have so many people in my life to be thankful for and for all the opportunities I’ve been given over the years. Here’s to a memory that will always be held close to my heart.
Last year, I tried out the Kutana Storm Shell Jacket and Pant hunting rain gear and I love it. It’s super durable like the Yukon but more flexible and packable, it’s my favorite of all of them by far. You got to have a set of the zip-off base layer bottoms just depending on what weight they want for warmth and the Attack Pants are an all-time favorite go to.
Durability to me, is number one and KUIU has just that. I get asked all the time on how the fit is for a woman, and it works great for me. I haven’t had an item that doesn’t work.
I do mostly horseback hunt’s and my gear has held up awesome. Its super versatile in that its both comfortable to ride and climb in.
Big Horn sheep! Backstrap over an open fire—with a little seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Civilware’s IBK scalpel knife hands down. In my opinion it’s the best scalpel knife out there.
Wet wipes for sure, they are a must have item and are great for a lot of thing’s, haha!
I have a lot of extremely memorable and favorite hunts, but if I had to pick just one. The top of the list is a backpack bighorn hunt here in Alberta, where I harvested my first ram with Brady during the last week of October in 2017.
I have a Swarovski ATS 20-60 straight spotter, I just can’t seem to pick up on the angled scopes. For Binoculars I run the 10x42 Leica Geovid with the built-in rangefinder.
Well Brady didn’t get away, so that won’t work haha!
Most likely I would be in the construction business. I grew up operating heavy equipment for my dad and uncles and I still work for them in the off season now. I’ve always had horses growing up, so I tend to spend a lot of time riding and working with younger horses so I could see myself doing something like that as well.
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