Message from the Honourable Whitney Issik
Our hunting heritage runs deep in Alberta and it’s easy to understand why. Hunting allows us to connect meaningfully with nature and enjoy the outdoors, and provides a healthy, sustainable source of food.
Our province’s diverse landscape and wildlife populations offer a memorable hunting experience that can be enjoyed with family and friends. As Albertans, this is something in which we all take great pride.
In my role as the Minister responsible for fish and wildlife, my focus is on striking the right balance with our wildlife management policies to ensure we provide ample opportunities for Alberta’s hunters, while also supporting the long-term sustainability of healthy wildlife populations.
Ensuring future generations are able to enjoy the same great hunting experience that we all enjoy today requires careful planning and wildlife management decisions that are informed by science. Like every year, the 2022 Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations includes some important updates.
I’m pleased that we are able to increase opportunities for resident elk hunters in 2022 by allowing holders of a resident (general) elk licence to hunt during the archery-only season in wildlife management units 116, 118 and 119. We are also allowing holders of these licences to purchase an undersubscribed antlerless elk licence.
We’ve extended the cougar season to March 31 outside of cougar management areas to provide hunters with additional hunting opportunities. The white-fronted goose restriction has been removed, which will now allow hunters the opportunity to harvest eight white-fronted geese daily. Finally, we’ve added antlered moose, trophy antelope and turkey to the list of species authorized through the Minister’s Special Licence awarded through various raffles and auctions.
The last two years have seen many Albertans discover or rediscover a variety of outdoor recreation activities, including camping, hiking, fishing and hunting. In fact, Alberta is one of the very few jurisdictions in North America where hunting participation continues to increase, and I expect 2022 will be another strong year for hunting participation in Alberta. We’ve included photos of new hunters in this guide as a small way to recognize the growth of hunting in our province.
Finally, please remember that it is mandatory to complete a harvest survey by February 15, 2023, for all Special Licences that you hold during the 2022 hunting season.
I wish you all the best and a safe and successful hunting season. .
Minister of Environment and Parks
- The Cypress Hills Archery Elk Licence has been eliminated. Residents may now use a Resident Elk (General) Licence to hunt antlered and antlerless elk in WMUs 116, 118 and 119 during the archery only season.
- Holders of a Resident Elk (General) Licence may now purchase an undersubscribed Antlerless Elk Special Licence. Residents who are successful in obtaining a Antlerless Elk Special Licence in the draw are still not eligible to also purchase a Resident Elk (General) Licence.
- The cougar (boot) season in non-Cougar Management Areas has been extended until March 31.
- In 2021, AEP undertook regulation amendments to conserve and recover disease-free wood bison in portions of northern Alberta. As a result, wood bison within specified WMUs are designated as Threatened and are protected from harvest. Previously unregulated bison hunting opportunities in WMUs 524, 530, 531 and 540 are no longer permitted. There have been no changes to the Hay Zama Bison Special Licence and regulated hunt in WMU 536 and 539. AEP will be consulting with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and the public on bison management and future harvest opportunities during upcoming recovery planning for the species. More information is provided on page 68.
- Environment Canada has repealed Waterfowler Heritage Days. All youth will require a federal migragory bird hunting permit to hunt migratory birds. Permits for youth (10-17 years) are free of charge if purchased online at https://www.permis-permits.ec.gc.ca/en/PurchaseHuntingPermit
- Environment Canada has updated their definition of “Possession” as it relates to migratory game birds. Migratory Game birds are no longer considered in possession once they have been “preserved”.
Preserved is defined as:
(a) been eviscerated and plucked in any location and then been frozen, made into sausage, cooked, dried, canned or smoked in a location other than the hunting area;
(b) in a location other than the hunting area, had its edible portions removed from its carcass and then been frozen, made into sausage, cooked, dried, canned or smoked; or
(c) been mounted for taxidermy.
The following definitions will help you understand these regulations:
Antlered - a white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose or elk having an antler exceeding 10.2 cm (4 in.) in length.
Antlerless - a white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose or elk that is not "antlered" (as defined above).
Bait - any substance that consists of a food attractant, including mineral and any representation of a food attractant.
Big Game Designated Guide - a person designated by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society to commercially guide big game hunters in Alberta. A Designated Guide may guide not more than two Non-resident (Canadian) and Non-resident alien big game hunters at a time in any part of Alberta, provided that each Non-resident (Canadian) or Non-resident Alien has contracted the hunt through an Outfitter. The two-hunter limit does not include Resident hunters.
Big Game Outfitter - a person who is the holder of a valid Outfitter Permit, and who provides outfitting and guiding services to big game hunters in Alberta.
- Class S Outfitter - an Outfitter who holds Non-resident (Canadian)/Non-resident Alien allocations for Trophy Sheep Special Licences. A Class S Outfitter may also hold allocations for other big game special licences.
- Class T Outfitter - an Outfitter who holds allocations valid for Non-resident (Canadian) and Non-resident Alien big game special licences other than those for trophy sheep.
Bird Game Designated Guide - a person designated by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society to commercially guide game bird hunters in Alberta.
Bird Game Outfitter - a person who is the holder of a valid Bird Game Outfitter Permit issued by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society, and who provides outfitting and guiding services to non-resident and non-resident alien game bird hunters in Alberta.
Either Sex Special Elk - authorizes the hunting of any age, size, or gender of elk in a specific WMU.
Green Area - forest lands not available for agricultural development other than grazing. In general, the Green Area is public land outside the parkland and prairie regions, or roughly in the northern half of the province and within a strip running along the Rocky Mountains and foothills.
Hunter Host - an adult resident who is the holder of a valid Hunter Host Licence. To obtain this licence, the adult must hold a valid WiN and be eligible to hold recreational hunting licences. A Hunter Host may not provide services for gain or reward, or accept a fee for services, directly or indirectly. The licence authorizes the holder (usually a relative or friend of the hunters to be hosted) to host a maximum of two non-residents (Canadian) or non-resident aliens* named on the host's licence to hunt wolf, coyote and big game throughout the province.
* Non-resident alien hunters are referred to Outfitting and Guiding Requirements for additional conditions and restrictions.
Loaded Firearm - A firearm in or on a vehicle, aircraft or boat is considered loaded if it has live ammunition in the breech, chamber or magazine. Cartridges are permitted in a magazine that is not attached to the firearm.
Non-resident (Canadian) - a person who is not a Resident (see below), but who makes his or her home and is ordinarily present in Canada, and who has lived in Canada for the 12-month period immediately preceding the relevant date.
Non-resident Alien - a person who is neither a Resident (see below) nor a Non-resident (see above).
OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) - any motorized vehicle designed for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh or swamp land, or on other natural terrain. (Exceptions: motor boats, as well as four-wheel-drive vehicles and motorcycles registered in accordance with the Traffic Safety Act.) Among OHVs, include the following kinds of vehicles when they are designed for cross-country travel as described above:
- four-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicles,
- motorcycles and related two-wheel vehicles,
- amphibious machines,
- all-terrain vehicles,
- miniature motor vehicles,
- snow vehicles,
- minibikes, or
- any other means of transportation that is propelled by any power other than muscular power or wind.
Partner Licence - a licence issued to an eligible hunter that allows him or her to hunt a specific species in a specified WMU and season under the direct authority of a Special Licence held by another hunter successful in a draw.
Resident - a person who either
- has his or her only or primary residence in Alberta and
- is a Canadian citizen or is admitted to permanent residence in Canada, or
- has lived in Canada for the 12-month period immediately preceding the relevant date; or
- is on full-time service with the Armed Forces of Canada and would, if an election were held under the Elections Act (Canada), be eligible to vote in Alberta under that Act.
Special Licence - a licence obtained through a draw process, or for Non-resident and Non-resident Alien hunters, through an Outfitter-guide. It permits hunting of a specific type or class of game only in specific areas during a specified season. Click here for details.
Weapon - a firearm or any other device that propels a projectile by means of an explosion, spring, air, gas, string, wire or elastic material or any combination of those things.
White Geese - snow and Ross' geese.
WMU - Wildlife Management Unit, a geographical area prescribed in legislation.
WiN - Wildlife Identification Number, a permanent registration number issued to each hunter and angler.
The following defines the month abbreviations used in this guide:
A – August S – September O – October
N – November D – December
J – January F – February M – March
Ap – April Ma – May Ju – June