An Alberta fall on the prairies…blue skies, golden fields of grains in harvest and the sound of thousands and thousands of migratory birds making their way from warm summers in their Northwest Territories nesting grounds to warm winter climates in the southern United States and Mexico.
Also the season for the time honored family tradition of hunting migratory birds during the regulated Alberta Hunting season. Parents who were brought up as bird-game hunters by their parents, passing the exhilaration of spending time with their children outdoors, learning about wildlife, firearms safety and managing good relations with farmers and land owners whose grain crops were ‘shared’ with those many thousands of migratory birds.
In the late 1950’s, Fred C. Mannix , or FC as he was known, became a joint owner of a small and very well located lodge, known as Richdale Lodge, just east of Hanna, Alberta. The location was right in the middle of a centuries old migratory bird ‘flyway’, and was surrounded by countless sections of cultivated land bursting with crops of oats, wheat, barley, peas and canola. Canada geese, Ross’s geese and Snow geese along with many different breeds of ducks covered the fields during their morning and late afternoon feedings and provided challenging opportunities for FC, his friends and his family to set up decoys and try their luck at harvesting dinner!
FC often invited his brother’s in-law, R.A. Bob Kramer from Regina and E.D. Don Wilson from Calgary to join him at Richdale Lodge for a few days of comradery and hunting. As their families grew, FC and Don would bring their children, Fred P. Mannix, Ron Mannix and Ken and Paul and David and Mike Wilson to the Lodge, thus setting up what has become a tradition to this day: the Mannix and Wilson families gathering at Richdale Lodge in the fall for great laughs, food and hopefully goose dinner!!
One of these occasions was in October of 1987 when Bob Kramer turned 80 years old. FC invited his sons, and Don Wilson with his sons to come to Richdale Lodge for the celebration. There was an awful lot more story telling than hunting that weekend, and many, many laughs.
Since then, Fred P. Mannix and Paul Wilson have become owners of Richdale Lodge along with another long-time Calgary business man, W.G. Bill Turnbull and the tradition continues to this day. And the fall of 2017 was no exception with both Mannix’ and Wilson visits to Richdale Lodge in September and October.
Ken W – Coril Holdings Ltd.