|Alberta’s professional outfitters were some of the earliest pioneers of the tourism industry in our province, with the first guided hunts taking clients into Alberta’s rugged backcountry in the late 1800s. The Alberta Professional Outfitters Society (APOS) became the delegated administrative organization for the professional outfitting industry in Alberta in 1997, handling outfitter permitting, the management of wildlife allocations, and an outfitter Code of Ethics on behalf of the Government of Alberta.|
Today our society represents 500 professional outfitters and nearly 1,600 hunting guides. The professional outfitting industry welcomes over 11,000 clients to Alberta each year, creating a total economic contribution of $328 million to the province’s gross domestic product. Our small businesses create off-season economic activity in rural communities beyond the key tourist hubs. We also contribute significantly to wildlife stewardship in our province, with over $1.1 million dollars going towards conservation initiatives since 2008 through our Wildlife Management Fund.
APOS has provided to support to the Wild Harvest Initiative® to help explore and promote the broader story about the sustainable use of wildlife. As the public scrutiny around hunting grows, it is important that we communicate a fulsome narrative around hunting, portraying more than scores and trophy photos. Advocates for sustainable use must work to build public understanding by explaining the role of hunting in conservation, all aspects of the hunting experience, and the benefits of game meat.
There is a resurgence of people who are curious about the source of the food they consume. The Wild Harvest Initiative® will be valuable in determining the economic benefit of hunting from a meat-consumption standpoint. This will have the effect of entrenching an ethic of sustainable use, but it could also help introduce a new generation and demographic of hunters.