Up close and personal with big game animals!
Canadian hunter Cody Forsberg gives us a rare insight into Bow hunting on the prairies
Interview by Dougal Muir
Q: Cody, how did you get into hunting in the first place?
A: I was fortunate to be introduced to it by my father. He’d spend a lot of time in the outdoors and saw value in putting wild protein on the table. He really saw it for what it was, a sport, which bring friends and family together. He introduced it to me and passed on knowledge and skills and I would tag along with him when he was out and I was able to learn and take in as much as I could.
Q: And how old were you before you were out hunting with your father?
A: I was out long before before I was allowed to hunt, I think maybe the first time I was in the field with my father I was about 7 years old. I’d take a little toy gun with me and pretend I was one of the guys [laughs].
Q: How about dogs, did you grow up with dogs?
A: Yes, I grew up will a yellow Lab’, they’re good for hunting with a great sense of smell. I had a 4 year-old female called Stevie, named after Stevie Nicks.
Q: Tell me about a really big moment in hunting for you.
A: There are a lot of big moments that stand out in a guys mind but really it can be as simple as spending time with friends and family, taking in the outdoors and enjoying the wildlife.
For me, as a trophy hunter too, if there’s a specific deer in the past that has stood out to me – and I’ve been fortunate enough to see a number of impressive animals over the years, it’s a privilege to be up close and personal with those animals. To me, it’s really something to be 30 yards away from a 240” male that I may never see again in my lifetime is something special and a very rare occurrence. Those vivid memories are etched in your mind forever.
Q: So Trophy Hunting, could you explain trophy hunting to me please because the general public appear to view it as American dentists shooting Africa’s favourite lions.
A: Everybody has their own idea of what a trophy is and everybody is entitled to it. For myself, I visually look for maturity in an animal that has survived years of weathering the elements, evading predators and outsmarting hunters. An animal that is elite and has the intelligence to live to a mature stage and has had the opportunity to reproduce and pass on it’s genetics to future generations.
In my eyes a trophy is not only an animal with very large antlers, which obviously does rank very highly. But, to me, the wellness and maturity of the animal is very important.
Q: Preparing for a hunt – planning vehicle, equipment and location.
A: Sometimes you don’t have anything to prepare. As soon as you quarter and skin your last animal and put it in the freezer, you’re already preparing for the next hunt. In order to be successful, I eat, sleep and breathe hunting. And once the season winds down, it goes right back to predator control in the winter.
During the spring it’s shed hunting season when the deer shed their antlers and regrow them in the summer. It’s a great tracking tool to have. Putting time out in the field and getting to see where the deer are shedding their antlers gives you a great lead on locations for next fall.
In preparation for next season, you will put in a lot of time in to pre-season scouting. There are a number of ways you can go about it. It can be easy as setting up trail camera on a well-used game or hiking trail. Or you can hike the hills with quality optics, covering a lot of ground and keeping your eyes open for evidence of wildlife.
Q: What is the tool of choice, bow or rifle?
A: Obviously for effectiveness the more range you have the better. So a rifle is always better for range but personally I like archery because you just get so much closer to the animals. It forces you to study them using stealth and to play the natural landscape features to your advantage. Getting up close and personal with these animals is a privilege that very few of us are afforded.
And archery is a more traditional hunting practice from a time before hunters had rifles. When you’re in the field it gives the deer the respect it deserves. For myself there has got to be respect, without it I don’t think I would be able to take the life of an animal.
With a bow I’m pretty comfortable up to a range of 50 yards. With a rifle it’s completely different – I can be confident up to 400 yards and even capable beyond that. You’re likely to have more success with a rifle. If all a guy is looking to do is harvest an animal to put protein on the table then a rifle might be the best way to go.
Q: Cody, last question, what is your favorite protein to cook and how would you prepare it?
A: I would have to say right after a fresh kill you pull the tenderloin right out of the animal and cut it into medallions. Then cut a pocket out of the medallions and stuff it with cheddar cheese and banana peppers before wrapping in bacon and cook on a skillet to medium rare. Yah, that’s pretty damn good!
Post Script: During this interview Cody was talking to me from his hospital bed after being involved in a very serious accident farming accident. He was gracious enough to give me the best and most entertaining hour of my day, telling me fascinating hunting and wildlife stories and giving me incredible insights in to his life as a hunter on the Canadian prairies.