At Alberta’s Painted Warriors Ranch, no one is an outsider looking in –

by ahnationtalk on July 13, 2017359 Views

The Indigenous cultural facility one hour northwest of Calgary offers hunt simulations, smudging and the signature Moccasin Walk.

July 13, 2017

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY, ALTA.—Halfway down a quiet forest trail, our group spots a large black bear in a clearing. The imposing being is up on its hind legs, paws in the air, seemingly in a state of wild aggression. With a resounding thwack, he is hit in the torso with one of our recently acquired arrows, then another punctures his left leg and one whizzes over his head. Each shot produces not a flinch from the valiant beast: a creature who is, in reality, a life-sized foam archery target belonging to the Painted Warriors Ranch.

“Everyone has a hunting and gathering background . . . every culture,” says Painted Warriors co-owner and operator Tracey Klettl, plucking our arrows one by one from the inanimate entity. “Archery itself, especially for younger people, it’s almost spiritual. When you make that good shot, you have to be so focused. And you’ve got to channel your emotions, no matter where you’re at, to make it.”

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