Understanding the Hunting Regulations

As hunters, it’s our responsibility to know and follow Alberta’s hunting regulations.

Regs Matter, Here’s Why

Alberta’s incredible diversity of habitats means an equally exciting array of wildlife. Each region—whether it’s prairie or boreal forest—is specifically managed for wildlife populations and hunter harvest. By following the rules in the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations we can continue to put wild game on the table for generations to come.

Indeed a Must-read

Every year a new set of Hunting Regulations is published to capture changes in game management. Be sure to read the most current issue so you know the latest rules. If you don’t understand the rules, you are risking infractions. Even breaking the law accidentally is poaching. So please, get familiar with the regulations you need to know!

Understanding the Sections

The diversity and abundance of wildlife we enjoy does make for a thick set of regulations for hunters to digest. Once you understand the steps and sections laid out in the regulations, finding your necessary pages becomes much easier.

GENERAL REGULATIONS explains why we have rules and laws to protect hunters and wildlife. Understanding the dos and don’ts of hunting is what general regulations are all about. This section also helps guide you to public lands and parks and protected areas, and provides direction for the rules on occupied and private property.

BIG GAME REGULATIONS helps you identify different big game species and provides information for how to leave evidence of sex and species once you’ve harvested an animal. Need information on properly tagging your animal, taking your animal to a butcher, or bow hunting permits? This is where you’ll find that.

BIG GAME SEASONS are the heart of the regulations. Maps guide you to areas of the province you want to hunt, where you can single out a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) to focus your days in the field. You can then look up any species to determine season dates, harvest for male or female animals, decipher the bow hunting and general seasons, and find what opportunities require a Special Licence Draw.

GAME BIRD REGULATIONS AND SEASONS are laid out by species and WMU. You can look at ducks, geese, grouse, pheasant, and other birds and determine WMU, season dates, and daily and possession limits. This is your go-to section for information on the Spring Snow Goose season and Merriam’s Turkey Special Licence.

You will also find information in the regulations on:

  • Licence requirements for first time hunters
  • Licencing for youth, landowners, hunters with disabilities and non-residents
  • Report A Poacher
  • Common licence mistakes
  • Use of vehicles, including off-highway vehicles

While the Regulations are printed as hard copy for easy reference, you can also find them online at www.albertaregulations.ca. The regulations are updated annually and available in early summer, so be sure to read through to see what may have changed since the previous year.

Questions about the regulations? Contact your Fish and Wildlife District Office listed in the regulations and at http://albertaregulations.ca/huntingregs/inquiries.html.

Once you’re confident with the regulations, your next step is to identify and purchase the licences you need. We outline the basics in the next article in our Start Harvesting series: Understanding Hunting Licences.