Collection: Packrafting for Hunters with EatWild and Ascent Guides

Ascent Guides/EatWild: Packrafting for Hunters

Packrafts offer a new and exciting spectrum of adventure for hunters. From lakes and coastlines to the incredible network of river systems all over the Province, the ability to incorporate packrafts into hunting trips transforms water from an obstacle, to a pathway. This course is designed to give hunters and anglers the skills to navigate rivers with Class II+III whitewater and to plan and execute wilderness hunting trips with a packraft.

The Ascent Guides/EatWild Packrafting for Hunters course is a comprehensive course geared towards building the skills, knowledge and the confidence for people wanting to begin their journey as packraft hunters. Course participants will join us for an evening (3 hours) of live webinar course session, and for 2 full days in the field. The online session will  focus on researching, planning, safety, and meat care consideration for multi-day expedition hunts. The field days will focus on teaching participants how to navigate in moving water safely, how the river works, and how to recognize hazards and mitigate them. Participants will become proficient in rescue techniques, whitewater paddling techniques and pack raft repair. 

Course Duration: 1 evening (online) and 2 field days (8ish hours per day) 

Course Dates:

Online prep session: April 20 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

River days: April 30 & May 1st from 9 am to 5 pm

Course Location: 

  • TBD Squamish or Chilliwack 

Class Ratio: 1:8 Instructor to Student 

Course Overview: 

Online evening form 6:30 to 9:30

Dylan from EatWild will lead an in depth discussion on hunt planning and packraft hunting considerations to prepare for a fun, safe and successful hunting adventure. 

Content overview: 

  1. Picking the right river- research where to go. 

  2. E-Scouting the river - identifying hazards, hunting zones and camp spots 

  3. How much river can you cover in a day? 

  4. Hunting considerations - when to raft and when to hunt 

  5. Raft capabilities 

  6. Loading rafts

  7. Weight capacity and river class

  8. Meat care

  9. Raft repairs and repair kits

  10. Raft storage and critters 

  11. Reducing risk to 0 - dry suits, helmets, and when to not to go. 

  12. Gear: Boats, Personal Protective Equipment (helmet, drysuit & layering, PFD, shoes, knife, whistle), hunting specific gear considerations 

Field Days Overview: 

Meet at TBD river location at 9 am and the day ends at 5 pm.

The Ascent Guide crew will lead a mix of dryland and on-the-water instruction, building a foundation of paddling, rescue, river awareness and trip planning skills. The rivers for this course offer a great progression through classic rivers with a variety of rapids, features and hazards to navigate. 

This course includes in‐depth sessions on topics including: Outfitting & Rigging Your Packraft, Reading Whitewater, River Safety and Self Rescue, Responsibilities and Techniques of River Running, Packraft Hunting Skills and Trip Planning and Wilderness Considerations.

Morning Session (Dryland and Flatwater) 

Course Introduction & Expectations

  • Welcome, intros, waiver and paperwork 

  • Course expectations & limitations 

  • Itinerary & Logistics 

  • Safety policies (including COVID-19 protocols) 

  • Leave No Trace ethics 

Equipment

  • Review gear run through, check boat rigging and set up 

Paddle & Rescue 1 (Flatwater)

  • Strokes (forward, back, sweep, power, draw and brace) 

  • Wet exit & re-entry 

  • Safety Swimming 

Mid-Morning Afternoon Session (Class I-II River) 

River Reading 1: 

  • Understanding the river 

Paddle & Rescue 1: 

  • Communicating on the river 

  • Principles/basics of swiftwater rescue

  • Safety swimming 

  • Throw Bag rescues 

  • Self rescue in current 

  • Ferrying, catching eddies & peel outs 

Day 2

Full River Day (Class II-III)

River Running: 

  • Whitewater classification scale (I-V) & what it means 

  • Current, Hazards & Features 

  • Scouting rapids (boat/shore) 

  • River running strategies & awareness 

  • Group organization & risk assessment 

Paddle & Rescue 2: 

  • Eddy hopping & advanced ferrying 

  • Companion/Self Rescue in rapids 

  • Boat/swimmer recovery 

Conclusion: 

  • Debrief and feedback 

  • Course evaluation 

  • Further skill development 

Gear List to Bring : 

  • Packraft (ideally a self-bailing hunting model)  - Rentals may be available

  • Class III or V PFD

  • Paddle 

  • Throwbag

  • Drysuit 

  • Neoprene gloves or pogies (optional) 

  • Closed toe shoes: paddling shoes or runners 

  • Dry bag or bow bag for keeping gear dry

  • Helmet 

  • Food 

  • Hot drink in a thermos (if you get cold)

  • Dry clothes & a towel 

  • Warm clothes to change into 

  • Water bottle 

  • Ten Essentials 

  • Hunt-specific gear (dry bags and weight to simulate meat)

Participant Expectations: 

  • Comfortable swimming with a PFD and drysuit in cold and moving water.

  • Prepared to spend full days outside in a range of weather conditions.

  • Responsible for staying fed and hydrated through the day.

Course content is subject to change or reordering depending on river levels and the skill set/pace of the group. 

Post-Course Resources

River Resources: 

Hunt Planning Resources:

EatWild Podcast Episodes:

Packrafting with Thor Tingey of Alpacka Rafts

Adventure Hunt Planning - Packrafting for Sheep and Elk

 

Good Beginner-Intermediate Local River Runs: 

  • Sea to Sky: 

  • Paradise Valley (Cheakamus River) 

    • A good Class II river with one Class III rapid, can be extended into the Squamish River. 

  • Mamquam River 

    • Lap-able Class II and Class III whitewater with an easy hiking trail at the whitewater site. Class II from the site to the confluence with Squamish. Can be hiked from Dog Pound as a good shakedown trip, takes about half a day. 

  • Squamish River 

    • Plenty of good Class II big water, put in anywhere below the Class III commercial raft section & watch for wood. 

  • Lillooet River

    • Classic big glacial paddling, the section from the old Upper Lilllooet BC Recreation Site to the bridge near the Tenquille Lake trailhead is a solid, long paddling day. Also a fun river to bikeraft, but a little more technical than the Squamish.  

  • North Vancouver: 

  • Capilano

    • A great pool drop Class III river, run it when it’s low (around 2-3 on the visual gauge) if it’s your first time. It gets much harder as the river gets bigger. 

  • Lower Seymour

    • A good short, Class II run. Easy to walk/bike the shuttle. 

  • Fraser Valley:

  • Chilliwack 

    • The Class III section is a classic, as are Tamihi rapids. Below this, the river has some fun Class II paddling. 

Equipment and Gear Lists: 

Beta and Discussions: 

  • American Packrafting Association Forum

    • Not used that often anymore, at least in Canada, but a good repository of beta for many parts of the world. 

  • Packraft Canada 

    • National Facebook group for sharing beta, organizing group paddles, finding partners, etc… This group has typically also been where Canadian packrafting roundups have been announced. 

  • Local Whitewater Groups/Clubs 

    • There are whitewater pages for Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley on Facebook where folks share beta and organize group paddles. Some places also have formal paddling clubs.


Upcoming dates

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