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Letter to the AEP and the Honorable Shannon Phillips;


Professional hunting outfitters are expected to be follow the Alberta Wildlife Act. 


Yesterday it was reported that Alberta-based Bear Bonez Outfitters, believed to be affiliated with the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society (APOS) [1], an organization largely funded by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) under Minister Shannon Phillips [2], had been charged with a flagrant violation of the Alberta Wildlife Act [3].  near Fort McMurray [4]. This after another report just 10 days ago on 31August2018 of Rugged Outfitting Inc [5], believed to also be affiliated with APOS, who were fined and banned for flagrant violation of the Alberta Wildlife Act.

Prior to that , there are at least some 10 additional instances of other Alberta professional outfitters being named in serious multiple violations of the Alberta Wildlife Act ,  including Chris Brophy and his partner Michelle Hazeloh [6] ,  Big Knife Outfitters [7] , Dollard Dallaire [8]  , Visneskie and Sophie Goupil [9] , Pat Garrett [10] , Blake and Cordell Shmyr [11] , Michel Blanchett [12] , Gary Padlesky, Christopher Dumbleton and William Machura [13] , Chad Stryker [14] ,  and Logan Hunt [15 ] . In sum, there is a total of 12 instances of Alberta professional outfitters being caught and named however that may only the tip of the iceberg. It is very possible and quite likely that other instances have occurred that simply did not get published or did get published but have been wiped off the internet. Furthermore, according to Alberta’s Report-A-Poacher program, less than 10 per cent of poaching cases are detected [22].  It is purported that one of the aforementioned offenders stated'the wildlife laws are being broken all the time and the chances of getting caught are so remote' ...  'there are only two officers in the Spirit River area - the area's so big, good luck catching anybody. " “'They have to see you do it. If I get charged, prove it man. See me in court.'

It is abundantly clear that a scandalous percentage in the professional hunting industry in Alberta, scoff at the Wildlife Act, and may be engaging in illegal behavior or know of others who are practicing illicitly. Why is this happening and why is very little being done to holding professional outfitters responsible to the fullest extent?  I call on Minister Shannon Philips to promptly commence a full and in-depth investigation of the wild west attitude displayed by the professional hunting outfitter industry in Alberta and to take the necessary remedial measures.

One remedial measure that our nonprofit is strongly advocating as an effective first step is for is the complete banning of trophy hunting defined as the killing of wildlife primarily for ego, fun and/or profit. Where hunting goes, oil and forestry was not far behind [23]. However, at this stage, oil and forestry really do not need trophy hunting as a means to further their own interests. Hunting and trophy hunting, have become redundant and simply plain bad optics for industries and governments already tarnished by environmentalists.

Trophy hunting makes no sense whatsoever from a scientific perspective.  Peer Reviewed Evidence Based Science (PREBS) studies have found that trophy hunting of the fittest and biggest specimens causes genetic damage to species [16], and that the targeting the older wildlife, as hunters justify, decays the passing on of essential ancestral knowledge to future generations [17].

From an economic perspective, hunting is a big loser. The amount of revenue generated by hunting and trophy hunting exceeds the costs to research, regulate, administer, and to enforce the practice. Hunting in Alberta is subsidized by the Alberta taxpayer.  Conversely, normal tourism and eco-tourism have been found to inject serious money into the tax coffers. Why does Alberta not transition from hunting to much more lucrative eco-tourism as has been done successfully elsewhere [18]?

From a democratic and moral perspective, hunting and particularly trophy hunting is elitist.  In Alberta, only 3 % of the population are hunters [19], over 80 % of Albertans disapprove of trophy hunting as morally repugnant [20] (the majority of Albertans do support sustenance hunting), and a study in Quebec found that 70 % feel animal rights are an important election issue [21] .

All things considered, why does trophy hunting continue to be such a sacred cow in Alberta when it is such a liability?  It’s time that Alberta politicians and bureaucrats address that question. 

I ask for a considered reply on my request for an investigation.  




















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