PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – Leo Strickland didn’t realize he was entering a contest until after he’d won the prize.
The 16-year-old completed his firearms certification course in May and a couple of weeks ago he got a call informing him he had won a hunting trip to Nova Scotia.
“The youth 16 and under went in for a draw,” explained Strickland.
People between the ages of 12 and 17 from around the province who completed the course were automatically entered into the draw. The Wildlife Division of the Department of Fisheries and Land Management sponsored the contest.
On Nov. 2, barely a week after getting the call that he’d won, Leo and his father were on their way to Queens County, N.S., for an all-expenses paid, four-day hunting trip. A local outfitting company, Bradford and Sons, guided the trip.
Leo was soon rewarded with his first kill, a 120-pound black bear he shot with a 7-mm rifle.
“I’m actually getting it made into a rug,” said the newly minted hunter, who also hunted deer but didn’t shoot one.
Leo did eat some bear meat after he returned home.
“It wasn’t too, too bad,” he said. “It was like a steak, but it has a sweeter taste to it.”
Eventually Leo wants to get a moose licence and he also plans to hunt duck.
His mother, Raylene, says Leo has been trekking around in the region’s woods since he was four and has been around guns all his life. He’s involved in a wide variety of outdoor activities, from hunting and fishing to snowmobiling.
“There’s not much outdoors he doesn’t do,” she says. “He’s an outdoor person.”
In addition to the trip Leo was also given two camouflage coats, a pair of camouflage pants, a camouflage backpack, a knife, emergency supplies, and a year’s subscription to Newfoundland Sportsman.