While at the Phoenix ISE Show in March this year, I was happy to stop by the booth of Arluk Outfitters. There I was able to shoot the breeze with Keith Payne and his wife. Being from Atlantic Canada originally, I always get a little nostalgic when I run into someone from that part of the country and it was nice to visit with the Paynes about their Outfitting Service in Newfoundland. I asked Keith if he’d be willing to do an interview for my site, and here we are!
1.It seems like people tend to know a little more about Newfoundland than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Do you think that’s the case?
Newfoundland is now definitely better known worldwide than we were 10 or 20 years ago. We are one of the best, last wilderness places left in the world and people are finding out about us by word of mouth, through social media and through the marketing efforts of our Provincial Department of Tourism. We are also unique geographically and culturally, and our Tourism department has done an excellent job of telling the rest of the world about us. It’s amazing how many people drop by our Arluk Booth at trade shows and tell us that visiting Newfoundland is on their bucket list.
2. As you travel around and talk to folks – what is their perception of Newfoundland?
Because of the great marketing effort that I mentioned, there are fewer misconceptions now than there once were. Yet, people are still surprised to hear that our climate is quite moderate and we are in fact not far north. Our capital, St. John’s, the oldest city in North America, is the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington. If you speak to anyone who has visited Newfoundland, they inevitably talk about how friendly the people in Newfoundland are. In terms of our big game, Europeans were not aware that we have the highest density of moose in the world and that we have large, trophy class moose. They are comparable in size to moose in British Columbia and Alberta.
3. As a guide – what is your favorite species to hunt with your customers? Why?
I love moose hunting but I also enjoy caribou hunting. The thrill of hearing a bull moose respond to your call never gets old. The anticipation as you hear them grunting and raking the trees on their way toward you will get your heart pounding every time. They are magnificent animals and I have great respect for them. Moose meat is also a major part of my diet.
4. Besides great hunting, what might people be surprised to find when they get there?
Newfoundland is well known for its sparsely populated wilderness areas, beautiful seascapes, icebergs, whale-watching and quaint outport villages. Less well known is that Newfoundland is also rich in music and the arts. Every region of the province has festivals from the “Opera on the Avalon” festival on the east coast to “Trails, Tales and Tunes” on the west coast.
5. Best advice for people coming in to hunt with you?
Plan to come a few days early or stay a few days longer. We are much more than just one of the best places to hunt and fish in the world.
6. What about fishing?
More than 50% of all Atlantic Salmon rivers are in Newfoundland and Labrador and some would argue we have the best brook trout fishing in the world. At Arluk, our fishing lodge is located on the site of Lee Wulf’s former tilt on the pristine Main River, one of the province’s best salmon rivers. We have spectacular dry and wet fly fishing for Atlantic salmon and brook trout. Because of our remote location, access is by helicopter, so guests of Arluk will be the only anglers on the river. There are numerous pools with several prime pools adjacent to the lodge and others that can be reached after a short boat ride.
7. As an Outfitter from Newfoundland, what is your biggest challenge when competing with Outfitters from other states and provinces?
Our biggest challenge is letting people know that we are not that far away. We are the most eastern part of North America, but we’re still less than 3 hours by plane from Toronto and we’re the closer to Europe than anywhere else in North America.
8. Do you get to hunt much yourself? What’s your dream hunting trip?
I hunt moose every year and I’m also an avid upland bird hunter, but I don’t get to do much bird hunting these days. My favourite hunting trip involves moose hunting while paddling a river in canoe. When I was a boy I read a book about hunting in Newfoundland that was published in 1907. It’s called “ Newfoundland And Its Untrodden Ways” and it recounts the author’s experiences of paddling into the uninhabited interior of Newfoundland to hunt caribou. Now, whenever I get the opportunity, I combine my two favourite outdoor activities, hunting and canoeing.
Thanks again to Keith for taking some time out to tell my readers about hunting in Newfoundland.
To learn more about hunting with Keith, visit Hunting with Arluk
To learn more about fishing, check it out: Fishing in Newfoundland