The fourth Saturday of September has been known as Provincial Hunting Day in Alberta since 2007. This day is a reminder to all Albertans of our hunting heritage and the importance of wildlife management and conservation – especially in our province.
We celebrated Provincial Hunting Day 2020 on September 26 with a free day-long event at AHEIA’s Calgary Firearms Centre. With limited capacity due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, we were forced to turn away hundreds who wished to participate.
We were lucky enough to have the honourable Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment, join in on the fun and offer some words on Conservation Education and Hunting in Alberta (Video at the bottom of this post). We were also excited to see MLA R.J. Sigurdson and MP John Barlow also in attendance for the event.
This year there was an abundance of stations to choose from, showcasing a variety of different styles and types of shooting, as well as firearms safety;
Trap Shooting is the most popular style of shooting at the Calgary Firearms Centre. A round for one person consists of 25 shots, five each from five shooting stations, the object being to score the greatest number of broken targets.
A round of skeet for one person also consists of 25 shots, the object being to score the greatest number of broken targets. One main difference from Trap is that the Skeet targets come out of two houses, a low house and high house, on either edge of the field and the shooting stations resemble a half-circle between the two houses.
5 Stand at the Calgary Firearms Centre includes 10 different machines throwing targets from every angle, including a “Rabbit” which bowls a special type of clay target along the ground. This game can completely change from a small amount of wind, and often a great 5 stand shooter is someone who is able to react and adjust quickly to different targets rather than skeet and trap, which are more about perfecting a similar, repeating motion.
Sporting Clays / Shooting from a blind
Thanks to Claude Boiteau, from Fowl Play Outfitters, participants were able to experience the thrill of shooting from blinds surrounded by decoys. A few of the Calgary Firearms Centre sporting clay machines were set to simulate birds coming in from all directions and heights.
Proper Firearm Transport
The number one priority when dealing with a firearm is safety. Participants were taught proper techniques for crossing fences, and how to properly store a firearm in transport.
The Calgary Firearms Centre’s Archery Range allowing participants to try their hand at one of the oldest sports in the world. It is believed Archery has been around for over 25,000 years.
Thanks to the Alberta Biathlon Club for coming out and setting up their digital biathlon shooting simulator. Many attendees were coached on the proper techniques, including breathing exercises, to be successful in hitting small, distant targets.
An easy station for some of the beginners and younger participants to hit a stationary target, at a shorter distance, before moving onto more challenging target shooting.
Pheasant Release / Dog Demo
We were lucky enough to be joined by Kris Marthaller, and his daughter Hannah, from Mosquito Creek Game Birds who gave participants a close look at some of their pheasants and demonstrated the skill of their dogs. Seeing a trained dog walk carefully through the grass looking for a bird and witnessing the dog freeze and drop its nose to point out exactly where the bird is hiding was one of the most impressive moments of the day!
The weather could not have been better, especially in comparison to Provincial Hunting Day 2019, which was on the same day as Alberta’s heaviest snowfall in 2019.
Thank you to our sponsors, the Alberta Conservation Association and Pheasants Forever Calgary, and everyone who participated in the event for making it one of the greatest Provincial Hunting Day Events to date! Join us again next year, on September 25th, for Provincial Hunting Day 2021!