Getting Ready for Hunting in Alberta

Posted on: October 8, 2017

Hunting in Alberta is a big thing and with the season starting soon in many places around the Lakeland region we wanted to get you some tips to prepare for your season of hunting in Alberta. But getting started with this popular sport isn’t as easy as loading a gun and walking into the woods—you’re carrying a lethal weapon and ending the lives of animals that are important parts of an ecosystem.

You’ll need some serious prep work and to spend a fair bit of money to get started hunting, but once you’re out in the Lakeland’s quiet, ancient boreal forests, it’ll be worth it.

Get A Hunting Licence

There are two parts to being licenced to hunt in Alberta. First, you’ll need a Wildlife Identification Number (WIN), which can be purchased from AlbertaRELM. Your WIN is a ten digit number held on a card that confirms your eligibility to purchase hunting licences. Once you have it you’ll be able to purchase seasonal licences, some of which are specific to certain kinds of animal- bighorn sheep and goats both have a separate licence. You can find more information on My Wild Alberta.

Learn To Be Safe

Before you head out, you’ll need to know everything from trigger discipline to how to avoid bears. It’s a provincial requirement to complete an online Hunter Education course before heading out, which you will be able to access through the Alberta Hunter Education website.

Arm Yourself

It’s not a great idea to buy the biggest and scariest gun you see when you walk into a gun store, particularly for a beginner. Treat purchasing a firearm like you would buying a car: don’t buy from the first dealer you visit, always try before you buy and consider every aspect of the equipment you’re going to buy- not just how good it looks. You’ll also need a firearm licence.

Also, consider that you don’t need to have a gun—bow hunting is just as fun and bows have significantly fewer legal restrictions.

Practice Makes Perfect

With your licenced firearm (or bow) it’s time to hit the range. Some tin cans on a fence isn’t a great idea unless you have access to a very remote area (and even then be careful). A better idea is to find a local gun club or firing range, and an even better idea than that is to take a course where you can be taught how to shoot.

Know The Area (And Your Prey)

Decide which area you will be hunting in. Much of the Lakeland has a similar ecology—boreal forest and prairie land—making it easy to prepare for. Go out in the area you’ll be hunting in, or somewhere similar, and get a feel for it—go ‘hunting’ with your camera and see if you can find some of the animals that you’re hoping to hunt.

Also get to know the animals that you’re hunting. There is a lot to know about the habits of game animals, so hit the books and talk to other hunters.

Remember: not all land is suitable for hunting, so always check that hunting is allowed anywhere you plan to go.

Gather Your Gear

You’ll spend as much on equipment as you will on a gun or bow. Make sure that you’re warm and comfortable, and that you can walk long distances. You’ll also need a strong, sharp knife, which can be part of a multi-tool, and if you’re planning to bring back larger game to be butchered you’ll probably need a length of rope.

Some hunters buy trail cameras to surveil areas where animals are likely to be, others will buy blinds- temporary shelters that camouflage them, allowing them to sit while they wait. Others buy tree stands that allow them to sit in the treeline to see further. What you’ll need will depend on the environment you’ll be hunting in, so get to know hunters in your area, on or offline, and see what brings them the best results.


Hunting in Alberta isn’t something you can pick up over a weekend, it’s an art and a lifestyle that requires a serious investment of time and money. Talk to an experienced hunter however, and you’ll see why they get so excited about it.  If you want to know even more about hunting in Alberta be sure to check out our webpage here.

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