Although the Canadian province of Alberta is not well known for cougar hunting, I recently heard of an outfitter up that way who has a remarkable record for producing huge toms for his clients. His name is Bryon Stewart (Tracks N Trails Outfitting), and he was recommended to me by Phil Soucey who in my opinion is the finest cat taxidermist in the world. To give you an idea of the unpressured hunting that's available in Alberta, Stewart finally crossed tracks with another dog pack for the first time last year after 10 years of outfitting cougar hunts. With so little competition, cats in his area have a chance to get old, and since a cougar's skull grows most of its life, that translates into trophies. Stewart says the smallest cougar he would ever consider taking would weigh around 145 pounds. The largest he's taken weighed over 200 pounds on certified scales. (By the way, a 170-pounder is considered an absolute monster in many areas in the West.) Stewart says many of his cats run from seven to 10 years old, with an occasional one aged at well over 10 years. These big toms stretch the tape to over 7 1/2 feet and occasionally qualify for Boone and Crockett. Stewart won't let a client take a female or immature tom, incidentally. Even so, he's only had one hunter ever go home empty handed.
His hunts are scheduled for 10 days, but if a client can't find the tom he wants in that length of time, Stewart lets him continue hunting or return anytime during the entire season, which runs from December through February. In Alberta, once you buy the license and permit (around $220 US), it is good for the season. Stewart was allocated two non-resident cougar permits this year, and says next year he expects to get a third. While Stewart will work with clients on an on-call basis, he prefers to have scheduled hunts with the understanding that clients can come back. His 10-day hunts are priced at $1,850 (US) with a $1,850 trophy fee. He also recommends that his clients buy........(continued)