hunting field trip

Yukon High Schoolers Go Bison Hunting

Apparently they do high school field trips a little differently in Canada.

Here in the United States, field trips usually touch on history, science or politics, as kids usually visit museums, landmarks and legislative buildings to get a first-hand experience that brings their daily lessons to life. In Yukon, the wilderness plays just as large of a role, often providing Canadian high school students with opportunities that give a whole new meaning to "hands-on learning."

Back in March, teachers and students from Porter Creek Secondary school in Whitehorse, Yukon, killed a 1,500-pound bison during a field trip.

Three teachers and three guides went on a four-day expedition with eighth- and 10th-grade students, where they went ice fishing, hiking and camping before stalking one of the most sought-after big-game animals in North America.

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"The Yukon is a very unique place in Canada where outdoor education with these type of trips are still happening," teacher Terry Milne told the Washington Post in an interview. "Part of the importance of hunting trips like this is teaching hunting ethics. Hunting is a huge part of culture here. You can't grow and farm things up here like you can other places. Hunting is an important part of providing food and living sustainably."

There's typically snow on the ground in Yukon that time of year, so they planned on traveling by snowmobile. Because it was unusually warm, however, they elected to rent off-road bicycles, which are especially popular among western backcountry hunters.

"They are really difficult to hunt," Milne said. "A lot of the time you're just looking for them. You're hiking, you're using your binoculars and tracking the ground. And then you find them and they're up somewhere you wouldn't expect, and you think, how did a bison get up there?"

Since the bikes were much quieter than snowmobiles would be, they were able to get close to a bison, which teacher Alexandra Morrison and one of the guides would later be able to take a shot at from about 80 yards.

After the designated shooters successfully dispatched the animal, they let everyone from the group have a moment to appreciate the iconic creature by putting their hands on it. They would then take the tenderloin back to the campsite to celebrate a successful harvest.

A couple months later, the group organized a feast, which the group (plus many of the students' parents) would enjoy. Everyone enjoyed a variety of different cuts from the bison, which even included the heart and tongue.

"It was amazing," Morrison said. "The northern lights were out. The wolves were howling in the distance. It was the most wonderful, respectful experience."