As of April 1, the cost to renew your angling and hunting license will be rising.
With an average increase of 10 to 15 per cent, resident anglers can expect to pay $2.34 more for their license, while hunters will cough up an additional two to five dollars, depending on the species they’re licensed for.
Considering the long-term benefits the levy will generate for the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) – an additional two million dollars is anticipated – it’s a small price to pay, says Michael Short, host of Let’s Go Outdoors.
“Unlike my tax dollars, which go to general revenues, the extra funds paid on my license are handed over to the ACA, where they’re put into programs that directly benefit hunters and anglers,” he says. What’s more, he adds, this is the first increase of such fees in eight years.
Though the number of licensed hunters and anglers has grown in recent years, Short says this extra levy will go directly to the ACA to further its conservation work. Once received, it will fund programs that directly benefit hunters and anglers, as well as hikers, bird watchers, and yes, even those with an affinity for picking blueberries.
A few of the benefits expected:
- The fish-stocking program will ramp up, which means more fish and a wider range of species.
- Hasse and Isle Lake, located within Parkland county, may be areas of focus by the ACA to bring fish stock.
- Pheasant hunters will have more opportunities to hunt as there are plans to increase the number of birds raised and released throughout the province.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. Short says he believes it’s land conservation that is the cornerstone of what the ACA and other conservation groups are trying to zero in on.
“Within the next 26 years, Alberta’s population could climb as high as 7.3 million. Add to this the pressure on cities and towns to expand into the land base to accommodate these numbers with new residences, schools and other services we’ve come to appreciate, and [it becomes clear] that our footprint on the land is ever increasing,” he says.
It’s these reasons and many more that the work being carried out by organizations like the ACA, Alberta Fish and Game, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is so critical.
Short says that to date the ACA has purchased 756 properties representing just under 300,000 acres, all of which encourage Albertans to hunt, fish, bird watch and berry pick, while the Alberta Fish and Game Association has over 100 properties representing 41,000 acres. He adds that given the pressures from developers, agriculture, and the oil and gas sector, future outdoor activities may be limited to these conservation sites.
“Once again it’s going to be the hunters and anglers who will lend their voice and concern over how we are utilizing our land base,” he says. “And like me, they are willing to put their money down.”