This blog series is targeted towards first time hunters and focuses on safe and sustainable hunting in Alberta. Check out a list of all the topics in the series here. This is the fourth article in the series.
It’s extremely important to follow safe practices and procedures while hunting. While on a hunt, conditions can change rapidly and good safety practices can mean the difference between life and death. Make sure you’re prepared and have educated yourself before heading out.
The federal Firearms Act governs the use of firearms in Canada. Individuals wishing to acquire non-restricted firearms must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and pass the tests, or challenge and pass the CFSC tests. All hunters should be aware of federal laws surrounding the acquisition, possession, transportation and use of weapons and ammunition. Visit the Canadian Firearms Centre to learn more. Practice shooting and using a firearm will help you become both a more accurate and safe hunter.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, first time hunters should take the Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education Program administered by the Alberta Hunter Education and Instructors’ Association (AHEIA). Safety and procedures make up a significant part of the course content.
Make your list and check it twice
There are several online hunting checklists available – this one by the Yukon Government provides a good basic list. Before heading out…
- Make sure you’re prepared for the conditions – check weather reports the morning of.
- Based on your specific hunting trip, make a list of potential hazards i.e. treacherous terrain and what you will do to manage that hazard i.e. bring hiking shoes and a GPS watch.
- Be BearSmart. In fall, bears are looking to fatten up before hibernation – they will be looking for an easy meal and will quickly take advantage of kill sites, gut piles and poorly kept campsites. Pack bear spray.
- Extra safety supplies are always recommended when heading out into the outdoors: extra flashlights, safety blank, matches and compass are some examples.
A reminder… Use Respect
There are about five million acres of public land under agricultural lease that hunters may access to hunt, but it’s important to contact leaseholders first before accessing public land. For agriculturally leased public land, although leaseholders must allow reasonable access to the land, there are some circumstances where the leaseholder may deny or apply conditions to access. Similarly, if you wish to access privately owned land, you must first contact the landowner for permission. A private landowner may deny you access for any reason. Not following access guidelines may result in fines.
Encountering other hunters
As a first time hunter, it is advisable to have an article of clothing that makes you visible to other hunters. First time hunters should hunt in groups with other more experienced hunters who can show you the ropes. Remember to stay alert at all times while out in the field. Careless mistakes are often the cause of injury and death.
Below are some helpful resources:
|Fish and Wildlife Offices – can help guide you on hunting regulations and area specific information||http://aep.alberta.ca/about-us/contact-us/fish-and-wildlife-area-office-contacts.aspx|
|Public Lands Office – can provide information on private or agriculturally leased lands in the area||http://aep.alberta.ca/about-us/contact-us/land-management-area-contacts.aspx|
|Report a poacher – can also be used to report public lands abuse||1 800 642-3800|
|Forest Fire emergency line||310-FIRE (3473)|
|Environment and Parks Info Line – for general inquiries||1-877-944-0313 or|
Here’s to a safe and successful hunt for everyone!