The Road Less Travelled
By Terri Windover, Connect Contributor
It’s fall hunting season and a lot of my outdoor friends are getting ready to – hopefully – have a successful hunting season. Freezers are being left empty to await the prepared game meat, guns are being cleaned and readied and permits are being updated. Whether you are on the hunt for fowl, deer, elk or one of the many other animals that are found in abundance in Alberta there’s a lot you need to know to be both successful and legal this year.
Did you know that you have to tag your animal a specific way? You can’t just go slapping the tag on willy-nilly. Antlered moose, elk and deer must NOT be tagged around the antler base. Immediately after killing a big game animal, the proper tag must be affixed and securely fastened to the animal as follows:
- Trophy sheep, goat – one tag through the nostril and, as soon as the skin is removed from the skull, one tag around the lower bone of the eye socket leaving the horns and eye intact.
- Moose, elk, deer, antelope, bison and non-trophy sheep – through the space between the bone and the tendon of a hind leg directly above the hock and around either the bone or the tendon.
• Bear and cougar – to the skin.
WILD GAME PROCESSING
Another thing to remember is that when big game (including boned meat) or game birds are taken to a business for butchering, there are requirements for the business to keep a record of the wildlife that has been submitted. This includes the date, the name and address of the person who delivered the animal, the name and address of the person who killed it and their wildlife certificate number or wildlife identification number (WIN), among a host of other information. So, make sure you have all your paperwork and back up information with you when you take it.
HUNTING WITH CROSS-BOWS
I swear since the show The Walking Dead started crossbows just seem that much cooler. I think there’s a little bit of Darryl in every cross bow hunter out there. Since the fall season of 2002, cross-bows are no longer “prohibited” for hunting wildlife in Alberta. Cross-bows however cannot be used to hunt big game during archery-only seasons. Bow hunters using conventional archery equipment require a separate Bow-hunting Permit but this is not required by persons who are hunting with cross-bows as they are covered under the conventional gun permits and rules. Keep in mind that according to federal regulations, cross-bows may not be used for waterfowl hunting.
Persons hunting big game with a cross-bow must use an authorized cross-bow and arrow (bolt). An authorized cross-bow is one that requires 100 pounds or more of pull to draw the string or cable to its cocked position. There is no restriction on arrow length however it must have a certain type of tip.
Charges and warnings for poaching and other back country infractions reached a five-year high in 2015. Between fish and wildlife there were 6,731 enforcement actions in the province last year. That includes both charges and warnings under the Wildlife Act, Wildlife Regulation, Alberta Fishery Regulations, and both the Canada and Alberta Fisheries Acts. With most being smaller infractions there have also been several severe poaching cases in Alberta in 2015. At least eight grizzly bears were illegally killed across the province, some of which are still being investigated. Personally I hope every single one of these so called “hunters” is caught and charged fully. Poaching is not hunting. Poaching is a crime, period.
In addition, there were some high-profile cases that have already gone through the courts, including two Whitecourt men who illegally hunted black bears and wolves by baiting or setting illegal trap-lines, two poachers from Glendon who illegally shot and wasted a moose; and, several men who were caught with four bull trout and 25 westslope cutthroat trout — a species at risk in the province.
THE TOP 5 OFFENSES:
1. Loaded Firearm in a Vehicle
2. Unlawful Possession of Wildlife
3. Hunting Without a Licence
4. Failure to Carry a Licence While hunting
5. Hunting Wildlife During a Closed Hunting Season
TAGS vs. APPLICATIONS
In 2015, there were 138,000 active hunters in Alberta. From 2005-2015, roughly 75,000 tags were issued each year. The amount of applications in the same span increased from 220,000 to 420,000. The odds are getting longer that you will be one of the lucky ones that win the draw.
Please visit www.albertaregulations.ca/huntingregs for more detailed information.
– Connect Weekly –