Hunter numbers continue to grow in Alberta. This trend is true in most jurisdictions in North America thanks in large part to restrictions related to social gathering and travelling thanks to the Covid19 pandemic. Folks across the continent have simply got back to nature.
Alberta however, continues to show exceptional growth in hunting and fishing license sales. 2020 showed an increase of 12.4% for gamebird licenses and a staggering 15.5% increase in pheasant hunters. Similar increases were released in big game license sales with 11,000 more draw applications entered this past year. There was a 6.7% increase in white-tailed deer tags sold, 9% increase in moose, 15,8% for elk and a 16% increase in bear tags. Maybe the most staggering number is an increase of 70,000 new anglers which represents a 30% increase in license sales!
Although Covid19 has everything to do with last years increases, Alberta has been leading the continent in growth of hunter numbers for the past several years. There is many possible reasons for this from the number of young people that reside in Alberta to the number of folks arriving here from other parts of the world where access to hunting and access to places to hunt is not as welcoming. Co-ordinated efforts from provincial conservation organizations and leadership by key
individuals/philanthropists have played a role in the positive trends. Alberta Conservation Association’s (ACA) “Discovery Guide” magazine and APP may be one of the best tools out there for exposing 1000’s of acres of open ground for hunters to trek. Thanks to Ducks Unlimited Canada and Alberta Fish & Game for opening up their properties to the public for access. Alberta Hunter Education Instructor’s Association is also a key component in creating several easy to use on line tools to inform new folks to hunting and firearm safety. There has also been a handful of concerned sportsmen who have put their money where it belongs and championed “access” as a critical component to increasing hunter numbers.
Alberta’s success on this file has not gone un-noticed. In fact, we made the Meateater on the matter. Steve Rinella takes a deep dive into the strategies that Alberta employed to change the dial on hunter numbers.