Hunting for me is more than a passion… It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Dear hunter friends. Hunting for you has been part of your life since when? What made you become passionate? Who do you share this passion with? Do you have succession? These are questions that I have been asking myself lately, so I had the idea to tell you a little more about myself and to tell you where this passion for hunting began, with whom I share this passion and to tell you about my young people who are following in my footsteps.
Text by Valérie Gauthier, Sportchief ambassador
Taken in 1999, I was then 19 years old and I accompanied my spouse David Lavoie having no firearms training. After trying a technique like racling read in a magazine, a young male came out completely crestfallen. I was impressed to see such an imposing game for the first time and to witness the harvesting of it, harvested by my spouse. This dose of adrenaline had the instant effect of pushing me towards this passion.
A strong connection with nature
First, as far as I can remember, nature has always attracted me. I lived in the countryside when I was younger and in the evening, my mother had fun making moose calls from my room on the second floor and it was not uncommon for us to have answers in return. From the height of my 7 years, I was impressed. As a child, I wanted to accompany my father and my brothers on their fishing or hunting trips. My father told me that I was too small, or that it was a guy's activity... it was always a total disappointment. I saw him come back with the guys with a smile on his face and I envied them.
A meeting that changed everything
The years passed and at the age of 14, I met my boyfriend. He comes from a family with very important family values and where also the passion for hunting is transmitted from generation to generation. To my delight, girls were also welcome.
So I started to go hunting as a guide and having developed a real interest, I too wanted to participate. I did my firearms course and started hunting. Since then, my passion has grown. It started with moose hunting and then today, you can say that I am a fan of all types of hunting (deer, bear, moose, turkey, small game...) I started with rifle hunting, crossbow and finally the bow. I like to take on new challenges and learn new things from year to year in order to improve myself.
Subsequently, the family grew. It was important for me to transmit this passion to my children. From an early age, the children came hunting with us. We were all together in the evening to tell our stories. Then the children did their lessons and participated in hunting in turn. The children came with us to see the films at the TFCP evenings. We also went on a hunting trip on SÉPAQ territory with our son, having had the chance to be guided by Jason Tremblay Morneau. It is also important for me to share my passion with my friends. We have, with a circle of friends, a camp in the north where we have a good time. I have also been involved with the community for several years by volunteering for the hunting and fishing association in my village. We have held several events and initiated the young generation.
Souvenirs and plumes
Finally, in order to tell you about my succession, I asked my children to tell me about their memories of hunting. Here is a testimony from my eldest daughter on her memories of hunting.
As far back as I can remember, my parents have always taken us hunting. My dad had made little benches for us to sit on in the 6x6 box and put a canvas over the rack so we wouldn't get whipped by the branches. They have always arranged for us to come with them. During the moose hunt, every year, we missed a week of school. The teachers made a list of what we had to do and we did our homework at camp. My paternal grandmother stayed with us at camp while the hunters went hunting in their towers. As we got older, we also had the right to spend 12 hours in a tower. Yippee, but what luck! (laughs). We were able to learn to hunt mice, play many card games (even if my father cheated) while waiting for the beast to show up. We also learned to walk in the woods making as little noise as possible. My father said jokingly that we looked like a herd of cows in the “trail” so much noise we made. Obviously we had not yet learned to walk quietly (laughs). We agree that it was much less lucky with children, but the fact of having taken us means that today, the three children we like it. Our parents have succession, because we too at 12 years old, we wanted to do our courting in our turn. Today, I am a mother of two little casseroles, one two and a half years old and one 7 months old. They both came hunting this year. My oldest went caller, tearing leaves and racling with her father. We had to set up the “Babyproof” hunting camp with a safety barrier for the wood stove. Although we had little hope for the hunt this year with two young children, my boyfriend harvested a Buck and we were able to witness it all the little family. I imagine that later, we will have some great newcomers in our turn.
Four generations together: my eldest daughter Britanie Lavoie (24 years old), her two daughters Eléa (2 years old), Charlotte (7 months), on the right David Lavoie (46 years old), her father, and on the left her grandfather Jacques Lavoie (72 years old). They are pictured with the male harvested by Britanie's partner, Tommy Genesse.
Testimonial from my second daughter
For me, hunting has never been more than a simple recreational activity. I've been hunting since I was very young, I was so young, I don't even remember how old I could have been the first time... My very first game harvested was a bear at the age of 12. But the memory of which I am most proud is when I had the chance to harvest a beautiful deer accompanied by my father. I dream of the day when I will have my very first moose. My challenge would be to harvest it with the bow. Hunting for me also means family moments to share and experience multiple emotions, laughter and unforgettable moments. Family has always been my primary values as my parents taught us. The hunt allowed us to get together as a family and to be able to decompress and spend incredible moments together. I will always remember the times when a member of the family harvested their game, everyone came together to help and live the moment together. Apart from all our harvests, my fondest memories are the moments sitting at camp contemplating our trophies, our photos and telling each other our past stories.
In this photo, you can see my daughter Dylane Lavoie (20 years old). Although this is not her first harvested game, she proudly poses here with her first bow harvest. A challenge successfully met! A memorable hunt accompanied by me and his father David.
Testimonial from my son
Everyone who knows me knows that hunting runs through my veins! I was just 4 years old with my little boots that I was already going to the cache to accompany my father on the moose or even in a "treestand" to hunt bears ˇ… let's admit that ''bugs' ' I've seen (laughs).
Like my sisters, as soon as I had the chance to hunt myself, I jumped at the chance. My first game was harvested with a rifle, but I really developed a passion for bow hunting. Looking for challenges, I subsequently harvested almost all of my bow game. I spent all my weekends in the woods, whether with family or friends. From the age of 12, I also did my trapping course. I was an assistant trapper for 5 years, to then have my trapline. The fact that my parents took me from a young age made me develop this interest and want to deepen my knowledge. From the age of 15, I was going to spend most of the summer in Saskatchewan to work at the western outfitter "Trophy outfitters". I had the chance to acquire new knowledge and opportunities also with the Bête de Chasse TFCP team where I already have several experiences with them. Hunting for me is first and foremost something that I like to share with my family, my friends and with all the enthusiasts that I have the chance to meet to live all these strong moments in emotions, adrenaline and everything, but it is also something that will be part of my life forever and will pass on when the time comes.
My son Davely Lavoie (19), already on his fourth moose harvest at such a young age, and his third bow harvest. David Lavoie, his father posed proudly by his side, he who captured all the images of this harvest on video. Father and son moments they won't soon forget.
In conclusion: a passion within everyone's reach
In short, I believe that there is no age to start or develop a passion, but in my opinion, I strongly believe that if we take our children from a young age, by involving them, this passion can easily expand. Be careful, I did not say that you will make it a sure successor... but it can help enormously. I know harvesting success can be more difficult with children, but everything takes a start and I think it's worth it. If you are as passionate as me and your family values match mine, I suggest it to you. I am lucky to have three beautiful successors who love it! This passion for us, shared as a family, already has so many beautiful stories engraved in our memories, quality time shared together, telling each other our recent stories to the oldest... behind each of our harvests, there is a story, I wish you as beautiful as mine.
Discover it ambassador portrait by Valerie Gauthier.