Professional Hunter Spotlight – Chris McKinnon – Bonnet Plume Outfitters

Chris loved the outdoors and hunting from his earliest memories. Mentored by his family, he began hunting and by age 16 was working at outfitting camps and at age18 began guiding.   He considered other careers but had an epiphany when he realized he could make a living doing what he loved, so he decided to pursue a career as a professional hunter.  He has been in the guiding business for 27 years and outfitting for 24 years.

In the Yukon Territory, Chris takes clients on remote hunting adventures for Dall sheep, Alaskan-Yukon moose, caribou and grizzly bears. In Alberta, clients hunt free range whitetail deer and black bears. His hunting area, over 12,000 square kilometers, is only accessible by airplane, horseback or by foot. The area encompasses three main rivers and four mountain ranges with elevations ranging from 1,500 to 8,500 feet.  

Chris McKinnonChris comments on his personal hunting. “I have the opportunity to travel quite a bit for hunting. I have a sweet spot for the mountains, particularly the frontiers of the Yukon like the Bonnet Plume and Wind Rivers. When the day length shortens and the snow pushes us out of the mountains, then the boreal forest or rolling hills of the aspen parkland chasing deer in Northern Alberta is where I like to be.”

Chris talks about his company, Bonnet Plume Outfitters.  “I just concentrate on doing a good job and sending home a happy client. Outfitters have the best job in the world. We have a great crew. We push through any challenges on the hunt to ensure our clients are well taken care of and have a memorable experience.”

When afield, Chris reveals his choice of firearms. “For my two favorite hunts, mountain and deer hunting, I have two “go-to guns”. For the mountain hunts, I have a custom ultralight rifle in .300 short mag. The gun is light and I can pack it all day. It can shoot straight and far when called upon. For deer hunting, I use a .340 Weatherby. When the buck of a lifetime presents itself at a poor angle or across the canyon, I want confidence that if my aim is true I can anchor it on the spot.”

Special moments happen and create life long memories.  Chris recalls one. “A hunter and I saw a Sasquatch once…but that’s quite a long tale. “

“My most enjoyable hunts are with clients who seem to get tougher as conditions get more difficult. To look behind you and see your hunter flash a big smile on day nine of a grind backpack mountain hunt after getting pounded by nasty weather and saying ‘what a great and crazy adventure’ makes me laugh out loud. Hard work and a positive attitude are rewarded and I have made some lifetime friendships with hunters,” he notes.

In addition to hunting opportunities in Albert and the Yukon, Bonnet Plume Outfitters conducts trapline tours and fishing adventures.

Chris is a member of the Yukon Outfitters Association and through it supports wildlife and wilderness conservation projects.  He also participates in community engagement projects such as meat donation. A long time SCI member, he has exhibited at Convention for the past 15 years.

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