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‘Spry old guy’ on the mark

Outdoorsman, 91 bags bull moose

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A SNOW Lake man who turns 92 on Feb. 5 has bagged a four-year-old bull moose.

Ben Foord shot the bull moose from a distance of about 70 metres from his tree stand this hunting season. It was the first moose he and his sons had seen in two weeks of hunting.

"I was just happy we got one. You never know if I’m going to get another year of hunting or not. I was hoping I’d get another one yet," he said in a telephone interview. It’s his seventh moose.

Foord and his sons are storied outdoorsmen in the mining town, a 150-kilometre drive east of Flin Flon, said Marc Jackson, a teacher in Snow Lake.

"He’s a spry old guy. He shovels snow.

He walks every day to get his mail. I can remember him five years ago shovelling snow off his roof," Jackson said.

In 2006, Foord won a pickup truck for catching the largest lake trout at the Bill Bannock Fishing Derby in The Pas. In 1989, he caught a 41-pound trout at the Flin Flon Trout Festival, winning a paddle boat, which he donated to the Simon House Bible Camp in Cranberry Portage. He’s caught about 30 master angler trophy fish.

"I enjoy it, the fresh air," said Foord, who still lives independently and has a care worker visit for just two hours a week.

Foord’s father emigrated from England.

Ben worked for Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting until he retired in 1982.

He’s a spiritual man. "I guess the good Lord’s looking after me," Foord said.

"He’s watched over me in quite a few close shaves."

Like the time the bomber he was flying in the Second World War crashed on landing. He has survived prostate cancer, a heart attack, Guillain-Barre syndrome that attacks the nervous system, back problems, and an amputated toe.

"I’m running out of nine lives," he said, laughing.

But he still likes to get out in the bush.

His two sons — Greg, who lives in Snow Lake, and James, who works at Keystone Ford on Regent Avenue in Winnipeg — accompany him. The sons have built an enclosed tree stand so their father can be comfortable. Greg was about 400 metres away when his father shot the moose.

The moose weighed about 800 pounds and is "nice and tender," said Ben, laughing. "I’ve been eating."

The meat gets spread around very quickly among family members, he said.

Snow Lake is on the rebound with the new HudBay Minerals copper-zinc-gold mine going in there. The town has a population of 1,200 and is expected to grow by another 1,000 by the time HudBay’s Lalor Project mine is up to full production in 2015.


GO BIG OR GO HOME — The Mayor of Winkler wants to build a new $12-million convention centre in the booming Pembina Valley city.

Martin Harder is recommending the city build to a scale that will fit the city’s needs of the future, not just current demands.

The facility would be next to, or adjoined to, the current Winkler Arena, and would accommodate junior hockey games, conventions, banquets, and agriculture exhibitions and agri-trade shows.

"For a community our size to not have this type of facility, it’s getting to the point of being embarrassing," said Martin Harder. The community has a large agricultural base and farm machinery manufacturing sector to attract agri-trade events.

Costs would be split three ways with the province and Ottawa. Winkler residents could see property taxes rise an average $100 per household. However, in an online survey earlier this year, 90 per cent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay that for a new community hall. There would also be fundraising, corporate sponsorships and naming rights.

Final approval could come as soon as February, at which point council will spend money on a facility design. Construction could start in 2013.

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