The trailblazers

5 legendary Canadian adventurers to inspire every angler and hunter

Need some new role models? These pioneering outdoorsfolk set the bar for backwoods bravado.

4Linda Hersey

RICHARD NELSON ADAMS

Known for his readiness to brave rapids, sprint over streamside ledges and otherwise do what it took to save a client’s fish, legendary Atlantic salmon guide Richard Nelson Adams was the decided angling dean of Quebec’s Matapedia River. Born in 1910, he began guiding at age 12 and remained on the river, and committed to conserving its fish, until his death in 2006. Adams ended his guiding career at Cold Spring Camp. “He had the wisdom of 10 guides, the eagerness of a young buck and the knowledge that comes with 93 years of living on the river’s banks,” notes the camp’s website. “He was well known for his love of gin and women, and his endless wealth of stories.” 

2Gerry Bracewell

GERRY BRACEWELL

You’d be hard pressed to find a Canadian woman alive right now who could equal the adventurous spirit and true grit of 94-year-old Gerry Bracewell. After leaving her family farm in Alberta at age 16, she travelled to B.C.’s Chilcotin backcountry and began working on ranches. She soon found her way into the outfitting world and became the province’s first licensed female hunting guide. Just how tough is Bracewell? She once had to shoot an aggressive black bear that was threatening her cattle, but it didn’t drop right away. Instead, it charged and Bracewell barely escaped on her horse. She included this escapade, and more tales of adventure, in her 2015 autobiography, Gerry, Get Your Gun

1Patrick Walsh

CHUMMY PLUMMER

The Plummer name has been synonymous with northern adventure—and the world’s biggest lake trout—since Chummy Plummer’s father, Warren, opened up a small fishing lodge on the N.W.T.’s Great Slave Lake back in 1950. Chummy himself started guiding at age 13, got his bush pilot’s licence at 15 and has since grown the family business to include seven lodges and outposts on Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake and Nunavut’s Tree River. Trophy muskox hunts are also now on offer. As well, Chummy built gravel airstrips on both Slave and Bear that can handle planes as large as 737s, making the northern wilderness that much more accessible to southerners angling for the adventure of a lifetime.

3Robert KarpaFRED WEBB

Never afraid to speak his mind, the irascible Fred Webb was responsible for opening up a large part of the Canadian Arctic to hunters. He first ventured north from his home in New Brunswick in the mid-1950s, working as a radio operator on government ships. From 1967 to 1987, he ran a successful hunting and fishing outfitting business in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Quebec. Then in 1987, he started bringing hunters to the N.W.T. (and what’s now Nunavut) to pursue caribou, muskoxen, grizzlies and polar bears. Webb thrived in this extreme environment because he was tough and resourceful, yet careful. Unfortunately, he met his match with Parkinson’s disease, which ended his life in 2013 at the age of 77.

5Matt Ziniel

JIM SHOCKEY

Arguably Canada’s best-known hunter and outfitter, Saskatchewan-born Jim Shockey is adventure personified. He has hunted for some of the most exotic and dangerous species on the planet, and in some of the world’s most remote and inhospitable locations. In all, he’s taken more than 350 different game species in more than 45 countries across six continents—often with cameras in tow for his top-rated hunting shows, Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures and Jim Shockey's Uncharted. “It’s about never fearing the unknown,” the 58-year-old says in the trailer to Uncharted. “You can’t go to these uncharted parts of the world without accepting some measure of risk, but that’s life.”