April, 12, 2006
Delta Opposes Mandatory Outfitting in Saskatchewan
WINNIPEG, Manitoba—Delta Waterfowl has come out in opposition to a proposal by the Saskatchewan Outfitters Association that would require non-residents to utilize a licensed guide or host while hunting in the province.
“Delta Waterfowl sees this move as a threat to Saskatchewan’s hunting heritage,” says Delta’s Vice President of Policy for Prairie Canada Robert D. Sopuck. “Mandatory outfitting for non-resident hunters would not only create a monopoly situation for the favored few who are outfitters, but would jeopardize access to hunting lands for resident and non-resident waterfowl hunters alike.
“We understand there’s a role and a need for outfitters,” Sopuck added. “Some folks could not access hunting in Canada without them. However, the SOA’s proposal is not a balanced solution. The needs of freelance hunters from the United States, outfitters and Canadian residents must be equally and fairly considered.”
In February of 2005, the outfitters association published a paper entitled “Mandatory Bird Outfitting” in which it proposed that non-residents would be required to hunt with either a paid guide or be accompanied by an unpaid hunter-host. Hunter-hosts would be residents who could accompany two hunters for six days every second year, and would not be allowed to charge for the hunt and could not carry a gun.
The paper portrayed illegal outfitting as a major problem on the prairies, a contention that was disputed by Dr. Robert Bailey, Delta’s Vice President of Policy for Canada. Says Dr. Bailey, “The outfitters have no factual, third-party information to support their claim of illegal outfitting, or to show how widespread the practice may be.”
Sopuck says Delta opposed a similar proposal by the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association, which was rejected by the Manitoba government, and continues to oppose a similar proposal by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society. “We commend Manitoba for its foresight, and encourage Saskatchewan and Alberta to follow suit,” Sopuck said.
Sopuck and Bailey agreed the economies of rural communities across the province would be hard-hit by the loss of income from “freelance” resident and non-resident hunters, despite SOA claims to the contrary.
Darrell Crabbe, Executive Director of the 25,000-member Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, concurred, saying, “It is indeed ironic that the outfitters are using an economic argument for their proposal when studies have shown that the contribution to the Saskatchewan economy by resident hunters and non-resident, non-guided hunters is already very significant. The SOA proposal puts that at risk.
“The outfitters’ proposal represents the slippery slope whereby hunting could be priced out of the reach of the average Saskatchewan resident,” says Crabbe.
For more information, contact John Devney at 888-987-3695.