In Alberta, you can hunt some big game species by purchasing a general (over-the-counter) licence. Other species are not as straightforward and you need a special licence.
A special licence permits you to hunt a specific type of big game animal in a specific WMU. To get a special licence, you must be successful in the draw system.
Why have a draw system? Well, when a species cannot withstand the pressure of unlimited tags – or when game managers are working toward a specific population objective – the draw system helps manage hunting pressure.
Alberta’s special licence draws are based on a priority system. Generally speaking, you gain one priority point for each year you apply for the same special licence and are not successful. You want to build priority to increase your chances of being drawn. A few things to keep in mind:
If you’re unable to hunt in a given year but want to increase your priority level for future years, enter “999” as the first and only draw choice on your application. By entering “999” you’re telling the system you do not want to be drawn and that you are only applying to increase your draw priority. There are some limitations – check the current hunting draw booklet for details.
With your draws in or licences purchased, you're getting closer to heading out. What makes all the difference in the world as a new hunter? The right mentor. Check out the next article in our Start Harvesting series: Finding a Hunting Mentor.