Thursday, 26 January 2017 08:00

Willow Valley Trophy Club event a big draw

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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There were many antlers on display at Willow Valley Trophy Club’s annual awards event. There were many antlers on display at Willow Valley Trophy Club’s annual awards event. Photo contributed by Peter Koebisch and Brigitte Hellman

People from the Willow Valley area around Pincher Creek joined together for the 68th annual Willow Valley Trophy Club Trophy day Jan. 14.

This is an annual scoring day that was created by locals in the Willow Valley area.
People brought antlers, skulls and horns on Trophy Day to be measured and the winners received prizes for the largest measurements. Also judged are birds, fish and big-game entries. There was also a judged photography competition.
Bird entries aren’t brought on the day of the event. During the hunting season the birds are weighed and then slips of paper mailed with the official weights of the birds to be entered for prizes.
There are also youth categories. Lindsey Paterson, past president for the club, says they really like to promote youth being out in the field.
During the event, there was also an outdoor-oriented guest speaker.
Upstairs in the community hall, they had different vendor booths such as taxidermy, knife makers, conservation groups and a butcher shop.
“It was good this year,” adds Paterson, “We had over 120 trophies submitted ... which is slightly above normal.”
He says there are usually 500 to 600 people who go through the doors during the course of the day.
Each Fish and Game Association in the different regions of the province all hold their own scoring days each year.
To the knowledge of the organizers of the Willow Valley Trophy Club, their event is the largest of its kind, for a single day scoring event in Western Canada.
Initially, when the club and the scoring day began, it started with just a couple of categories for big game and it has now expanded to include birds, fish and youth. Also, there are archery categories for the scoring day.
Various sponsors cover the cost of the prizes awarded on the scoring day and the youth programs.
If all of the categories were to be filled, Paterson says the total cost of the prizes given out would be around $10,000.
For certain big-game categories, there are only a handful of tags awarded in the entire province, so they may only get one entry every couple years. The club has prizes available for first, second and third in youth, archery and rifle.
The Willow Valley Trophy Club is an affiliate to the Alberta Fish and Game Association, but not a chapter of that organization.
“We’ve got over 500 members … but most people just buy their memberships so that they are eligible for this trophy day for the awards and stuff like that, that are given out,” adds Paterson.
This club doesn’t have the manpower to do a lot of similar conservation work local Fish and Game Associations can do.
Hilton Pharis is one of the original members of the club who still lives in the Willow Valley area. In his eighties, he attends a handful of the club’s meetings.
In 2016, something new for the club was a youth pheasant hunt where they released a number of pheasants and the youth club members could take part. The event included a presentation about hunting safety.
The other main activity for the club this year is the fall pheasant hunt again.
For more information on the club or to get involved, visit:

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