Wildlife, Hunting, and Trapping - an overview
Alberta is home to 515 different species of wildlife, including 95 species of mammals, ten species of amphibians, 402 species of birds, and eight species of reptiles. Hunting and trapping are important to many Albertans and visitors for sport and sustenance, and sustainable management of Alberta’s wildlife is necessary to ensure the survival of these animals for generations to come.
In the boreal region of Alberta, big game animals targeted by hunters include the black bear, cougar, coyote, elk, moose, and mule and white-tailed deer. Game birds targeted by hunters include pheasant, ptarmigan, spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge, while hunted waterfowl include the mallard duck, Canada Goose, Ross’ Goose, Snow Goose, and White-fronted Goose.
Trapping has been part of the aboriginal way of life for centuries. An understanding of animal behaviour, combined with knowledge and craft skill, allows capture of animals for food, shelter, clothing, tools and trade (Fur Institute of Canada 2004). Trapping for furs has occurred in western Canada since the mid-1600s and continues today, with approximately 2,300 trappers in Alberta (ASRD 2008a). Alberta’s fur-bearing animals include the beaver, muskrat, red squirrel, badger, fisher, marten, mink, river otter, weasel, wolverine, coyote, red fox, lynx, and wolf (ASRD 2002a).