The Latest On Bighorn Hunting In Alberta


Published: February - 2002

Old-timers will remember that 1971 was a big year in the history of bighorn hunting in Alberta. That was when provincial authorities formally allocated sheep-hunting privileges for the first time to some 20 outfitters. Prior to that, sheep hunting was pretty much a free-for-all business, with any guide who wished to take out a sheep hunter completely free to do so.

After that upheaval, there were no big changes to the system until 1987. That was when outfitters were allowed for the first time to transfer ownership of their allocations. And it was a good thing it happened, because by then many of the old-time outfitters were getting long in the tooth and were anxious to sell out to up-and-comers. A lot of new faces came on the scene in 1988.

Today, one of the big changes I see taking place in Alberta sheep hunting is not being wrought by the government but by increasing numbers of individual resident hunters who have the wherewithal to buy ATV's, or 4 x 4's. You can't go out in the field now without seeing new trails cut into virgin mountain country. In places, it is almost sickening to see where quads have been crawling up mountainsides into the sheep pastures. Outfitters and their clients are feeling the effect of these machines, and pressure is building to put limits on the use of ATV's. Already, some areas have been closed to them, but more closures are needed to improve the quality of the hunting experience.

The quad problem in Alberta is exacerbated by the fact that large areas of the province have recently been closed to sheep hunting. This puts pressure on the country that is left. The nonresident hunter is particularly affected by ATV's and by area closures because he is already at a disadvantage to residents, who are allowed to go afield one week earlier and continue hunting two weeks longer. Since many sheep-hunting zones border Banff and Jasper National Parks, the later the hunt the better, because big rams tend to find sanctuary in........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: George Kelley Outfitters; Sherwood Guides and Outfitters; Peter Whitlow Outfitting; South Ram Outfitters; Wildhorse Outfitters; T-4 Guiding & Outfitting; Saddle Mountain Outfitters; McKenzies Trail West; Simpson Stone Sheep Outfitters; Guinn Outfitters

  


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