COVID-19 Updates: Protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant.
Alberta’s Wildlife Regulation sets out rules about wildlife use, such as fees, licences, reporting requirements and hunting and trapping activities.
The changes will give hunters and trappers clarity on rules, while also providing them with more opportunities to get outdoors and do what they love.
“These updates to the Wildlife Regulation are long overdue and provide countless conservation benefits that we will see for years to come. Hunting has always been a critical wildlife management tool in the province and we are reaffirming that here. As a hunter myself, I am also pleased that these amendments will allow hunters to spend more time outside and less time filing paperwork, in keeping with the Alberta government’s overall efforts to cut red tape.”
The updated regulation will help improve wildlife conservation, eliminate outdated administrative requirements, reduce conflicts between wildlife and people, and protect important habitats for vulnerable wildlife.
The changes also provide temporary economic relief to guide-outfitters due to border restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alberta resident hunters will be temporarily allowed to hold hunting licences and participate in guided hunts that are normally designated for non-resident hunters. Hunting is an increasingly popular activity in Alberta, especially as Albertans recreate closer to home. These amendments will further support this activity.
Hunters and trappers play a key role in supporting wildlife management activities, such as monitoring wildlife populations and wildlife diseases. These changes are yet another example of the important ongoing relationship between hunting and conservation.
The amendments take effect on Aug. 25 and will be incorporated in this year’s hunting and trapping guides.
“With COVID-19 fears and the looming uncertainty of the closure of Canada’s borders, 2020 continues to be a devastating year for Alberta’s outfitted hunting industry, so we are extremely thankful to the Government of Alberta for their support of our industry in our time of need. Alberta’s outfitting industry is an important contributor to Alberta’s tourism and the rural economies in remote communities throughout Alberta. The outfitting industry directly employs nearly 3,000 people, generates $116 million in labour income, and contributes over $328 million to Alberta’s economy. We are grateful to the Government of Alberta for their support to help our industry survive this unprecedented season. With these combined initiatives in place, we are optimistic that we can be a strong contributor to the province’s post-COVID economic rejuvenation.”
“The streamlining of the regulations will reduce paperwork and increase opportunities for Albertans who want to undertake the challenge of harvesting their own wild game for the family dinner table. Hunters and those who benefit from a hunter’s harvest should be pleased with the changes.”
“The Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA) is encouraged by, and pleased to have been part of the stakeholder committee to assist in the development of many of these amendments to the wildlife regulations. The amendments include a number of positive changes to better address the control and management of chronic wasting disease (CWD), prohibit the use of drones for scouting, and increased clarity and responsiveness to adjust harvest – to name a few. The AFGA is supportive of the numerous amendments that will increase opportunities for Alberta hunters and trappers, while enhancing conservation in required areas.”
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure, we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
Some highlights of the Wildlife Regulation amendments include:
- Guide-outfitters will be able to register and report sheep harvests on behalf of their clients, creating a more efficient process for international hunters to register their rams.
- Reductions in administrative requirements for hunters, trappers and outfitters, like allowing hunting licences to also be used as an export permit.
- The Alberta Professional Outfitters Society will also be able to refund hunting allocation and use fees back to guide-outfitters that have been unable to use them.
- Changes to when waterfowl hunts open and the location of wildlife sanctuaries in order to protect vulnerable wildlife when required.
- Requiring hunters to report wildlife tracking collars and other devices used to monitor wildlife to ensure biologists can download data to further inform our knowledge of wildlife movements across the province.
- Many formerly restricted migratory game bird waterbodies are now open to waterfowl hunting due to increases in waterfowl populations, affording hunters increased access and opportunity to enjoy over-water hunts.
- Hunters will be allowed to bring a companion dog (pack dog) along with them in mountain area Wildlife Management Units during an open big game hunting season.
- The updated regulation designates Kimiwan Lake as a game bird sanctuary to prevent displacement and disturbance to at-risk trumpeter swans from migratory bird hunting activity.
- Penalties of up to $500 for feeding dangerous wildlife, such as wolves, bears, and cougars, in situations other than baiting for hunting.
- Removal of the timing restriction for hunters using off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in certain Wildlife Management Units.
- Extending seasons in some fur management zones while removing restrictions on sale of fur-bearing animals lawfully trapped.