Who is your Outfitter?
I have built Ongaro's Outdoor Outfitters from the ground up. With vision and purpose my team has methodically put together not just a great waterfowl hunt for you but, rather, a three day, hassle free, action packed, hunting experience. We have taken the headache out of planning your trip with a Canadian outfitter. You will receive formal correspondence and open communication via our 24 hour 1-800 number, website content, Facebook posts and youtube video updates. All licensing and paper work will be taken care of for you so you can focus on enjoying your hunt. Your birds will be processed on site, packaged and frozen. You are welcome to bring your own retrievers - our clean dog runs and kennels will safely house your dog. The boot dryers that await you at the end of the day is another small comfort we provide. Exquisite full course meals need no mention. The list goes on. Although these conveniences set us apart from other outfitters, it is our outfitting system that truly makes us a model for other outfitters to follow.
From Opportunity to Success
We maintain the highest standard of equipment to ensure every possible opportunity to increase your success. To contend with the various hunting situations that arise throughout the season, we have heavily invested in high quality and large quantities of hunting gear and equipment. Guides, spotters, trucks, decoys, blinds and trailers are the essentials we provide. We now boast a combined accumulation of over 2000 decoys including Cabela’s duck and goose floaters, Bigfoots, Fully Flocked Decoys in Whitefront and Canada, and countless SilloSocks. Flags, electronic calls, portable blinds and the myriad of other hunting components are also part of the system. Decoys are only a small part of the equipment requirements. Three fully enclosed fiberglass tandem axle trailers ensure that the decoys and blinds make it to your hunt clean & dry and eliminate the need to stop for a flat enroute to a hunt (yes we think of everything). UTV's eliminate the risk of not getting into the fields when its too muddy and are used on an as needed basis. Spotting occurs in reliable 4 wheel drive vehicles complete with cellular telephones and county maps which facilitate landowner communication and relationships. The crew cab trucks get you to the hunt reliably and in comfort.
Our outfitting system involves two key components: spotting hunts and properly using equipment. Let me explain. We hunt two parties of five in separate fields miles apart. We have five guides including myself. As you roll in on your first evening, we have been spotting the fields & potholes of the parkland putting duck & goose hunts together for you - patterning birds and setting up access. While you are hunting with one of the two guides in the morning, the three guides not hunting are out spotting hunts for the evening and next morning. Your afternoon hunt presents a new guide and a new hunting situation. The morning guides have been transformed into spotters checking up on the morning reconnaissance and putting more hunts together; the process continues. The system involves a great deal of team work and communication. There is no competition among guides as we are all aware that the spotting program is the key to delivering a quality hunt for you. We are a team!
Executing the hunt is where the proper use of all the equipment falls into place. We anticipate the birds arrival by at least one hour - which is ample time to set up the decoy spread and retire the vehicles out of sight. This is where your guide's expertise and hunting savvy of local hunting techniques and conditions take you through the final steps before the hunt begins.
At Ongaro Outdoors
We can offer you vast combined hunting knowledge, hard work ethic, a promise of commitment to you & the sport of waterfowling, and both personal & professional integrity. The hunting resource speaks for itself.
Alberta offers some of the finest waterfowling in the world. At Ongaro's we have worked hard to build a world class waterfowling operation centered in the heart of Alberta's pothole country. It is here where hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese nest and raise their young. The primary nesting species are Mallards, Pintails and Greater Canada Geese. This local bird production coupled with the continuous stream of migrating Canadas and Mallards (from the furthest northern reaches of Alberta) combine to create some of the finest waterfowling in the world. To add to this, tens of thousands of Snow Geese and Whitefronted (Specks) Geese migrate through in the early season. This makes an early season multi species hunt a reality.
Why is our area so attractive to Waterfowl?
To start, there are thousands upon thousands of potholes. To add to this, there are a number of major staging waters within a 20 minute drive from our hunting lodge. As well, there are many other unnamed lakes dotting our landscape which rear and stage several thousand more birds.
Your worry free hunt begins upon your arrival at the lodge where you are greeted with Alberta style hospitality and a wholesome, professionally prepared meal. The balance of your evening is spent in the Great Room where the crackling of a fire and the ambiance of a hunting lodge soothes the excitement of the hunts to come. In the morning, you wake to an early yet leisurely continental breakfast. A carefully scouted hunt awaits the arrival of you and your hunting party. The shoot goes as planned, there are no surprises. The staff are very experienced and your satisfaction is our number one goal. Your return to the hunting lodge is welcomed by a hot lunch. There are a few hours reserved for relaxation and lounging. In pothole country, the birds do not fly during the midday hours. Their food source is plentiful and they need only feed in the morning and again in the evening. Mid afternoon brings your departure for an evening hunt. This hunt has been carefully spotted while you were enjoying the morning hunt. The fowl come tight into the decoys whether in a field or over a tiny pothole. The shooting is fantastic. Your successful hunt ends with a round of pictures and is followed by another exquisite full course meal. The evening is spent relaxing in the Great Room or in the TV Room where any video footage can be enjoyed by all. Your second day of hunting is more of the same. The third day comes too quickly. It starts out with breakfast and another goose or duck hunt. Your hunt is followed by a leisurely lunch. By then, your cleaned birds are ready for packing (remember to bring large coolers). By midday the gear is loaded and the drive back to Edmonton is under way.
Alberta is graced with among the most liberal limits in North America. Daily duck limits are 8 birds (all of which may be Mallards) with a possession limit of 24. Dark goose limits are an impressive 8 daily (4 of which can be Whitefronts but all 8 can be Canada's) with a possession of 24. Snow goose limits are 50 daily and no possession limits. Limits may have changed since the last updating of this document. Please call to confirm.
What will you need to bring? Along with your favorite shot gun (we now have Benelli Super Black eagle 2's for you to use during your stay) and other personal hunting essentials, be sure to bring a warm waterfowler's parka, water resistant boots (to keep the morning dew off your feet), hip boots or chest waders, a large cooler, and your camera or video recorder. Shot shells are always available at the hunting lodge. Please check the Gear page for more details on what to bring.
The Fine Details
Three day hunts commence each Monday & Thursday and end each Wednesday & Saturday. Parties of two to ten are preferred. Your three day hunt commences from Edmonton, Alberta. Meals, accommodation, hunting gear and fully guided hunts are included. License fees, ammunition, and game processing charges are additional. Hunt cost subject to 5% Goods & Services Tax.
Biography - Claudio Ongaro
Claudio Ongaro started his working career as a schoolteacher in 1988, at the age of 22, after graduating from the University of Alberta. He taught full time for six years and part time for six years while building his outfitting business. There he taught Industrial Education & Communication Technology at the high school level and is experienced in script writing, video editing, video recording, photography, digital sound editing, digital image production, and full scale multimedia authoring.
Claudio has been a full time outfitter since 1994 and remains a prominent leading figure in the outfitting community conducting waterfowl hunts from Sept 1 until the birds leave in early November. Currently, he outfits for waterfowl from the Ongaro WaterfowLodge in the world famous prairie pothole region in central Eastern Alberta and outfits for trophy whitetails and mule deer in Alberta's remote Western foothills. Claudio served on the APOS (Alberta Professional Outfitters Society) board of directors from 2007 to 2009.
Claudio has been published in several outdoor publications since 1989. Feature articles have focused primarily on his areas of expertise, which include hunting for Whitetail and Mule deer, angling for Walleye, and hunting for waterfowl. Many other topics fielding his outdoor experiences have been published. Since 1998, Claudio has been a columnist in Canada’s Outdoor Edge Magazine and has only recently relinquished this position. He now writes the monthly Seasonal Targets Column for the Alberta Outdoorsmen Magazine; this position started in April of 2007. Claudio is also contracted to write feature articles for both the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations and the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. Claudio’s skills as a teacher have prompted a demand for his hunting and fishing related seminars. Currently he is contracted by, but not limited to, the Canadian National Sportsman Shows to conduct seminars in both Calgary and Edmonton.
An avid outdoorsman, Claudio has also competed aggressively as a Walleye tournament angler and holds the 1993 Alberta Top Overall Team of the Year with his wife. Claudio has held Field Staff status with Shimano since 1990. Recently returning to tournaments, Claudio and two separate partners finished 2nd and 1st in the 2009 Anglers Cup and the Faust Walleye Tournament respectively. This competitive nature was spawned early, in the field of cycling, where several Alberta Provincial Championship Medals adorn his wall along with a Bronze National Medal in the Team Pursuit event earned at the Montreal Indoor Track in 1984.
Claudio's personal hunting has taken him from the wind swept cactus strewn prairies to the muddiest muskeg bogs of the lowlands and as high as the snow covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains. He has taken several big game species including numerous trophy Whitetail and Mule deer. The high country has yielded a huge pure white Timber wolf and a Rocky Mountain Bighorn ram. Moose and bear also adorn his photo album. Mallards and Canada geese have swarmed over many of his decoy spreads, both, while outfitting and simply enjoying a waterfowl hunt.
Heading to the West coast has always been a part of Claudio's passion. Northern British Columbia waters have produced several Tyee sized fish including a double header where he boated a 57 lb and 51 lb Chinook (King) salmon. Claudio became Vice President of Chrono Mfg Ltd in 1991. There he helped develop well-accepted hunting products such as the Goose Chair, Stealth Blind, Deceptor Silhouette Decoys, and the full line of Cro'snest Treestands no longer manufactured by Chrono. Ongaro Outdoors, under Claudio's guidance, has produced three DVD titles under the Northern Giants label. This venture has been temporarily suspended.
In 2007, Claudio obtained his private pilot’s license. Currently he owns and flies his Cessna 170 to and from his private airstrip at the lodge among several other destinations. As the aircraft has a tailwheel configuration, it lends itself to moderate bush flying and off airport missions which fall perfectly within his outdoor lifestyle.
In 2010, Claudio launched his own Youtube Channel - OngaroOutdoors - which features his new online videos which portrays life as a guide bringing viewers the action as it happens.
In 2007 and 2008 Claudio has purchased two 160 acre recreational properties in Northern Alberta which border endless tracts of Crown land. He is currently developing these properties for the purpose of hunting.
In 2011, Cabela’s approached Claudio to become one of it’s Pro-Staff. This became official in July of 2011 and he is honored to be a part of the Cabela’s team.
During the fall of 2014, Claudio Co-Founded a new television series about life at the lodge and a behind the scenes look at outfitting. Claudio Ongaro’s Hired to Hunt will commence on WildTV in Canada in July 2015.
Although the resource we have to work with is nothing short of phenomenal, solid waterfowl strategy is vital if we are to convert the resource into a quality hunt for you. The guiding component of the hunting operation is a critical link in the successful completion of a fulfilling hunt. The guides local waterfowl savvy and knowledge of the vast area we hunt ensures success. Guides with Ongaro's Outdoor Outfitters are screened not only for their keen ability to hunt waterfowl, but even more importantly for their conscientious work ethic. The crew at Ongaro's work together as a team - rotating through spotting and guiding assignments. There is no room for competition amongst guides - our number one goal is your satisfaction. The team is morally strong, very conscientious, and each guide takes it personally if a hunt goes not as well as planned. We meet twice each day to discuss hunt opportunity, strategy, and to update spotting reconnaissance information to the two guides that hunted and were not part of the previous spotting session. The result of our 'guides meetings' is a homogenous team ready for your next hunt. While spotting we are constantly communicating via cell phones updating each other as to the happenings in the areas each guide is covering and to select the next hunt locations.
You will be hunting with some of Alberta's finest guides. Ongaro Outdoor Outfitters is one of Canada's biggest and most successful waterfowl outfitters. We also conduct trophy deer hunts at either end of our waterfowl season. We operate from August 25 to November 20 each year (waterfowl from Sept 1 to Nov 3). Why is this important to you? It allows me to offer guides one of the longest uninterrupted work contracts in the guiding industry. This allows me to attract and recruit some of Alberta's finest guides which I screen personally for their integrity, ability and commitment to the lifestyle of hunting. Other staff requiring mention are the cooking staff which ensure that everyone is fed gourmet meals between hunts and each evening. Cleaning staff enter each morning while you are out hunting to tidy up the lodge and maintain a clean healthy environment. Our in-house bird processing staff take care of your ducks and geese in a hygienic manner and freeze them for your trip home.