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Ontario's Hunting Education History.

Firstly, the primary purpose of the Hunter Education Program (OHEP) is to help interested hunters to develop knowledge and very important skills necessary to make them safe and ethical hunters.

To be successful one must understand the importance of:

Safe and proper firearms use and handling of firearms (including archery equipment)

Respect wildlife, respect private property and all other users of the outdoors.

In addition, try to understand the role regulated hunting  plays in the management of this very precious resource (wildlife)

Hunter safety training is of major concern in North America, as early as the late "forties" the National Rifle Association of America (NRA)  recognized the importance of hunter training resulting in  expanding existing  format to  include their firearm safety course and materials to envelope hunter training.

The state of New York in 1949 became the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate safety training for young first time hunters, a prerequisite for a hunting licence.

Only clubs affiliated to the Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers during the early "fifties" supported any form of hunter safety training. Their example were quickly followed by other clubs and individuals wishing to make the sport of hunting a safe one.

Ontario led the way in 1957 by becoming the first Canadian province to establish a voluntary and broad based training course for prospective hunters. These courses were based on the materials available through the NRA and became mandatory in 1960.

In 1968 mandatory written and practical testing became the norm. Today, and individual 12 years of age can take these courses with conditions applied.

Every individual wishing to hunt and own firearms must first successfully complete both the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and the Hunter Education Course.

Alberta says NO to hunt farms

EDMONTON — Agriculture Minister Jack Hayden said the province will amend Bill 11 to make certain Alberta does not unwittingly sanction controversial hunt farms.

Hayden made the announcement Monday after ethical hunting advocates suggested the proposed Livestock Industry Diversification Act puts the province on a “slippery slope” toward permitting the farms, which were banned in 2002.

“We will be putting forward an amendment to clarify the position,” he said. “There will be no hunt farms. ... That was the position the government took in 2002, and it has never changed, and it hasn’t changed today. There will be no hunt farms for deer or elk.”

Hunt farms, also known as hunt ranches and harvest preserves, allow clients to shoot domestically raised deer and elk inside a fenced ranch.

Nine years ago, the Tory caucus nixed a controversial proposal to allow the farms, which are legal in Saskatchewan and some other jurisdictions throughout North America.

At the time, then-premier Ralph Klein publicly called the estate hunting industry “abhorrent.”

Hayden said the government conducted a cross-ministry study and undertook extensive public consultation in 2002.

“The conclusion of that study was that (Albertans) did not want hunt farms for elk and deer,” he said, adding the province has no plans to revisit the issue.

Alberta Fish and Game Association vice-president Martin Sharren said his group raised the alarm because the bill contains a section that gives the minister the power to override any other clause — including the section that bans hunt farms.

The organization worried the section opened the door to a minister one day approving hunt farms.

“A true hunter prides himself or herself on the fair chase,” he said. “The animal has an opportunity to escape, which it’s not going to have inside a hunt farm.”

“These things are basically pen shoots. You walk in the back 40 waving a bucket of oats, and they’re not going to run away. They’re tame.”

Glenda Elkow, chair of the Alberta Elk Commission, said her organization continues to lobby in favour of hunt ranches but does not believe Bill 11 will get them any closer to their goal.

“Our position on hunt ranches is that they are a very important market to our industry,” she said. “We would like to have them, of course we would. Why should I have to send my animals somewhere else?”

“The government of the day has said no.”

Elkow said most elk ranchers in Alberta ship their animals to hunt farms in Saskatchewan and elsewhere in North America.

“We are shipping these animals out of the province, and Alberta is missing out on an economic opportunity that is worth millions of dollars,” she said.

The date for the bill’s second reading has not yet been set.

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