A major reduction in the cost for seniors to hunt drew both praise and cynicism from a Red Deer hunting association.
Ricardo Marcil, president of the Red Deer Fish and Game Association, estimated seniors make up more than 50 per cent of the association.
“Well it’s a good thing,” said Marcil, who was surprised by the news as he has been out of Alberta for a few weeks.
“To me, it’s an attempt to get votes.”
On Wednesday, the provincial government announced a drop in price for combination wildlife certificate and bird game permit, white-tailed deer licence and for partner licences.
“Not only is hunting part of Alberta’s cultural heritage; it’s a major economic driver and a wonderful pastime for thousands of Albertans,” said Shannon Phillips, minister of environment and parks. “This year, our government is proud to offer new elk- and deer-hunting opportunities, strengthen existing mentorship programs for youth, and support seniors living on fixed incomes by reducing the cost of hunting licences.”
This fall the combination wildlife certificate and bird game permit will cost seniors $8.25, down from $44.02; the white-tailed deer licence will cost $8.25, down from $39.95 and the partner licence will cost $12.
Marcil said the announcement came late in the year and noted the government had the opportunity to announce such a move in February at the Alberta Fish and Game annual general meeting, but the announcement wasn’t made then.
According to a release from the provincial government, the number of special licences will increase for elk and deer this year with 200 more antlered mule deer tags for residents in southwestern Alberta and 2,800 more antler-less mule deer tags.
The government is also partnering with the Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association to create mentorship opportunities for seniors to pass along their expertise to a new generation of hunters.
“Supporting high-quality mentorship programs helps lifelong hunters connect and share their skills with youth who are interested in hunting, but don’t know where to start,” said Robert Gruszecki, AHEIA president.
“As Alberta’s leader in providing conservation and hunter education programs, AHEIA is excited to expand our partnership with the government to support the next generation of hunters.”