Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 67

Al Strader is a true wild northerner.

This 25 year-old heavy equipment operator at Day Construction spends as much time as he can in the bush to put food in his freezer for his family. Hunting and fishing isn’t a hobby to this born and raised Westree man. It is a way of life and, for him, the only way to go.

“I harvest my own meat as much as I can and I try not to purchase any other meat,” Strader said. “I also try as hard as I can to stay connected with the outdoors. I make sure to have a good stock of wild meat for my family. It means a lot to me and makes me feel good. I like how I don’t have to travel far to hunt or fish. What I like, such as bear and deer and walleye and trout are in my backyard. I don’t have to go to a store to get what I want. It’s there for me in the bush.”

Strader is no stranger to “roughing” it. Growing up in Westree, he lived in a home that didn’t have running water for 10 years. He and his family hauled a lot of water by hand until a well was dug.

Strader was heavily influenced by his father, Scott. They did a lot of hunting and fishing. Strader also spent a lot of time building his own survival shelters and tepees. It started when Strader’s dad woke him up when he was five one morning and asked if he wanted to get his first grouse. Strader got up and shot a grouse in the family’s yard. Strader still feels good about the memory as if it happened yesterday and not 20 years ago. It’s the wild nature in him.

“It is my heritage and the way I was raised,” he said. “I’m outdoors a lot. It is freedom. During the hunting season, I am out every night, and every weekend, I’m out fishing. I like getting out in the canoe and going trout fishing. This is what I love to do. It is what I am thinking about during the day. I like being outdoors and sharing it with others. I’m proud of where I come from and what I do. I don’t want to live anywhere else or do anything else. I’m happy here.”

Strader works hard to provide fresh and wild meat to eat and will go to great lengths to do so. Four years ago, on the last day of the hunt, he took his first cow moose in a remote area. Strader was with his father at the time, but he couldn’t help much because of a medical condition. Strader had to quarter the 1,100-pound animal and make a long hike out of a swamp area to where his ATV was. He then had to drive the ATV more than three-kilometres on a trail across three rivers to where his truck was. He eventually blew the radiator on the ATV on the fourth and final trip to his truck. The event took him just over 12 hours to complete.

“It was a heck of a day,” Strader said. “It took a lot out of me. It was also a mental challenge to get it done. It is one of my favourite experiences in the bush.”

Strader is putting his bush experience to good use. He has quite a bit of it. At 15, he took his first whitetail deer. At 16, he harvested his first black bear with a bow. It is not about trophy hunting. It is about providing natural meat for himself and his family. Strader started doing guided hunting excursions when he was 16. He has since started a guiding service, Northern Boys Outfitting, with friends and fellow outdoorsmen Kyle Daoust and Shane Macdonald.

Strader and Daoust are also on the BearMagnet TV pro staff and are featured on the television show. The show airs on Wild TV in January 2016.

“It is crazy action,” Strader said.

Strader plans on going for caribou in the New Year.