Guide Interview with Stephanie Lough
Guide Interview with Stephanie Lough

Guide Interview with Stephanie Lough

2019 WSF Guide of the Year

At first glance, Stephanie Lough may not fit the stereotypical mold of a Canadian sheep guide

—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.

Animals/Species Hunted/Guided:

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.

Valo, Verde, or Vias:

Vias.

Favorite Piece of KUIU clothing and/or gear?

Axis Hybrid Hooded Jacket and Peloton 97 Fleece Zip-Off Bottoms.

How did you get into guiding?

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!

What do you feel has been your biggest factor to being successful in the field as a guide and hunter?

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.

What’s the best advice you can give a hunter and what do you wish you would have known when you were younger?

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.

What is your favorite animal to hunt?  Where and why?

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.

What’s the most challenging hunt you’ve been part of either guiding or for yourself?

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!