About hunting in Alberta
The province of Alberta, in western Canada, is one of North America’s premier hunting regions. Covering 250,000 square miles, its geography is diverse, with open prairies in the south, aspen parklands in the central regions, boreal forestland in the far north, and the magnificent peaks of the Canadian Rockies along its western border. Alberta has at least ten huntable big-game species: pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, black bears, cougars, Rocky Mountain elk, Canada moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, bison, and wolves. Alberta’s prairie regions also boast outstanding waterfowl and upland bird hunting. Alberta’s outfitters are issued big-game allocations on an annual basis, so there is no need for hunters to apply for or draw tags, and this makes it easy to book a hunt in the province.
Alberta’s hunting industry traces its roots to 1881, when Tom Wilson joined a survey of what is now the Stoney Indian Reserve near Banff. After learning the lay of the land and how to pack a horse, he became the first known hunting outfitter in Alberta. During the 1920s and 1930s, outfitted hunting evolved into big business, and famous names, including American outdoor writer Jack O’Connor, hunted in both Alberta and British Columbia.
Alberta is known for outstanding record-book trophies, especially when it comes to bighorn sheep. The world-record bighorn was taken by Guinn Crousen in 2000, and the ram it eclipsed, now number two, was also from Alberta. In fact, five of the top ten rams listed in the Boone and Crockett records came from Alberta. So did the number-one non-typical mule deer, the Broder Buck.
Hunters can bring their own rifles and shotguns for a hunt in Alberta; a simple one-page form must be filled out to obtain a temporary Canadian Firearms permit. This form (CAFC 909) can be downloaded from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program, www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf. Follow the links for visitors/non-residents and then download the “Non-Resident Firearms Declaration” (CAFC 909). Hunters may bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition into Alberta, and it’s easy to purchase ammo for most common calibers and gauges at sporting-goods stores in most areas.
The Alberta Professional Outfitter’s Society (APOS) is a good source of information about hunting in Alberta. See apos.ab.ca.