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Bear hunting an ‘overlooked source of protein’

Bear hunting an ‘overlooked source of protein’

Important changes to the 2019 hunting regulations

Courtesy Alberta
Environment & Parks

For the 2019 hunting season Alberta Environment and Parks has implemented regulation requiring mandatory harvest and effort reporting on all special hunting licenses purchased.

It will soon be easier to complete Harvest and Effort reporting! You can either sign into your AlbertaRelm account or starting this fall, download the convenient AlbertaRelm App!

Hunters are not eligible to hold a resident hunting license in Alberta while holding a resident hunting license in another jurisdiction.

Replacement tag fees have been raised to $11.00 per license.

The minimum age to hunt game birds in Alberta has been reduced to 10 year olds.

A person who kills or finds wildlife fitted with a tracking or monitoring device must submit a report to Fish and Wildlife. Please contact your local Fish and Wildlife office.

Big game

Antlered Mule Deer in WMU 432 will require a Special License.

Antlerless Mule Deer season in WMUs 318, 324 and 326 have been closed.

Antlerless Moose season in WMUs 318 and 324 have been closed.

Non-trophy Sheep season in WMU 430 A has been closed. A Non-trophy Sheep season in WMU 418 C has been opened.

Antlered Elk in WMUs 426, 432 and 434 will require a Special License.

The Antlered Elk season dates have changed in WMUs 326, 328, 330 and 429. The Archery-only season is September 1 – October 31 and the General (rifle) season is November 1 – 30.

The Antlerless White-tailed deer season dates have changed in WMUs 326, 328, 330 and 429. The Archery-only season is September 1 – October 31 and the General (rifle) season is November 1 – 30.

Black bear season dates have been changed in multiple WMUs. A youth license for black bear has been created.

When registering a bighorn sheep, the hunter must deliver the complete unaltered skull with horns, eyes intact and the cape and lower jaw removed to a designated Fish and Wildlife office. Please call ahead to arrange an appointment to complete the registration process.

It is now mandatory to submit heads from deer harvested in WMUs 128, 140, 244 and 226 for CWD testing. It is also mandatory to submit heads from harvested mule deer in WMUs 130, 132, 134 and 136 for CWD testing.

Proposed change

Alberta Environment and Parks is considering the following change for 2020. Beginning in spring of 2020, hunters must purchase a Wildlife Certificate prior to applying for a special license draw.

Falconry an ancient (but inefficient) form of hunting

A sharp-shinned hawk. This species can be used for falconry, but this one isn’t. Courtesy of Robyn Perkins.

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

In answer to the question “would hunting with a falconry bird increase my chance for success?” Alberta Falconry Association (AFA) frequently asked questions (FAQ) says,“ No! Next to throwing stones, falconry is probably the least efficient of traditional hunting techniques.”

So what’s the point?

“Falconers are motivated not by the kill, but by the quality of the flight and the thrill of the chase,” says the FAQ.

“Falconry is the art of taking of wild quarry with trained hawks,” says the AFA information package.

Falconry is an ancient form of hunting, which has been legal in Alberta since 1981, says the AFA FAQ. Falconry in Alberta is connected with raptor conservation. Falconers must be members of the AFA.

To begin the long process of becoming a falconer, a person must be a resident of Alberta who is at least 14 years old and be accepted as a member of the Alberta Falconry Association. The levels of falconry are non-falconer, novice, apprentice, regular, and master falconer.

“The purpose of this category (non-falconer) is for those individuals who are interested in falconry or falconry birds, but who do not have any falconry experience or who do not wish to actively participate in the sport,” says the FAQ.

Novices can have one hawk. It must be a red-tailed hawk, Swainson’s hawk or American kestrel.

After at least one year of supervised experience, a novice can take a written exam to become an apprentice.

An apprentice can have two birds, but cannot breed them.

Regular falconers have three years experience. These are not restricted and can mentor.

Master falconers have seven or more years experience and knowledge on a broad range of subjects relating to falconry.

Falconry is regulated for three reasons: to protect domestic hawks, to protect wild populations, and to protect the reputation of the sport, says the AFA information package.

“Hawks need to be kept in a facility that has to be inspected and approved by a conservation officer,” says the AFA. “Usually this is a room of at least 8x8ft size, with cross ventilation, ample sunlight and a double door entrance. In addition, a similar size outdoor weathering area is required. There are other requirements, but these are the most basic elements of a mews.”

Building a mews and other set-up costs run to several thousand dollars, says the AFA.

“Only captive bred birds and those birds that have been legally imported into Alberta may be bought, sold or bartered,” says the AFA FAQ. “Traffic and export in birds collected from the wild in Alberta is not permitted, although such a bird may be transferred from one Alberta falconer to another.”

Another thing to consider is “hawks need fresh whole food,” says the AFA information package. “Poultry or beef for human consumption is not acceptable.”

This means falconers need a reliable source of quail, healthy pigeons, and mice to feed their hawks.

The AFA can be contacted through its website albertafalc which also has more information.