Prior to the settlement of North America by European immigrants, wildlife was in great abundance. First Nations people roamed freely, hunting with primitive weapons for their livelihood. When fur traders and settlers arrived on the scene, a new era of hunting began. Black powder and smokeless powder firearms replaced the bow and arrow. Within a few decades, market hunting seriously reduced buffalo and antelope herds, and the need for laws to control the wildlife became imperative.
The government of the North West Territories, of which Saskatchewan was once a part, first attempted to regulate hunting in 1883. When the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement was signed in 1930, Saskatchewan gained control of all its wildlife resources except migratory birds. Today the Provincial Wildlife Act and the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act protect our wildlife resource and regulate hunting in the province.
For these reasons, we regulate the methods used in hunting.
1. To ensure equal opportunity
2. To guard against dangerous hunting practices
3. To ensure fair chase.
Hunting today is based on a very important ground rule: wildlife belongs to all the people. Our successful conservation of wildlife and our opportunity to hunt still exist today because many people have worked hard to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to enjoy the wildlife.
Because we all have equal opportunity to hunt and enjoy the wildlife, there are lots of people out hunting. We also have to remember our landowners, their livestock, their property and the many people who do not hunt, but are out enjoying wildlife. For these reasons, we must make sure everything we do is safe and that no one will be harmed by our hunting.
At one time, hunting was part of survival and almost any way you could get an animal was considered okay because it meant food on the table. Today things are not the same. Society in general, other hunters and non-hunters regard the idea of fair chase as being part and parcel of hunting. In other words, the hunted must have fair opportunity to escape from the hunter.
REMEMBER! As a regulated user of the wildlife resource, it's your responsibility to know and understand the hunting laws.
Since hunting laws are subject to change on a yearly basis, it's important for all hunters to keep track of bag limits, season dates, and important wildlife management issues. This information is available in the Saskatchewan Hunting and Trapping Guide issued with your licence at no charge.