So, having completed my CORE course and received in the mail my CORE certificate of completion, I thought I was ready to go hunting. Not so. I now have to go to the government agent in order to get my ‘hunter number’. At first I was confused, because I had thought that the reason for the CORE course was to get your hunting license. But I was wrong. What that piece of paper allows you to do is go to a government agent and get a ‘Hunter Number’. Please note, this is still not your hunting license; no, this is yet another piece of paper that allows you to purchase the actual hunting license–which still doesn’t allow you to hunt.
So… I went to the government agent in town to get my hunter number. This was fairly easy and straightforward. When I asked if I could now buy the species tag, I was surprised when the gal said, “No. You first need to purchase a hunting license.” OK, what is the hunter number for? “That allows you to buy the hunting license.” OK, so what was the CORE certificate for? “That allows you to receive the hunter number. ” Confused? So was I.
She explained that she, too, didn’t quite understand why there is a two tier system in order to get the hunter license (the CORE and the Hunter Number), but she did laugh and say, “That part is free.” For the actual hunting license, I would have to pay. I was pleased to find out that I could also purchase my hunting license and species tag there. Originally, I had thought I would have to make another trip to the mercantile store to get that. But first, I must fill out a whole other set of paperwork that needs to be registered by the agent before receiving that. Who knew it was so complicated!
Having waded through the red tape this morning, I am now the proud owner of my hunter number, a hunting license (good till March 2009), and a mule deer species tag, all for the price of around $50. (This of course, does not include the money for the CORE course or the Firearms Acquisition Licensing course and exams.) I am too late this year for any LEH tag (limited entry hunting), where you put your name in to a lottery type thing and hope your name is drawn. I’m not entirely sure how that all goes down yet; some things will have to wait until next year for me to get my head around. Right now, I’m just hoping to get an actual hunting date nailed down with my hunting coach and friend, Clarence.
Interestingly, what I also learned at the government agent’s is that foreigners do not have to put their names into the lottery for the limited entry hunting species tags: they simply pay for whatever they want to hunt. If it is a bear they want to hunt, they simply fill out the requisite paperwork, sign on the dotted line, and pay for the privilege; and that privilege will cost you about $1100 plus GST in the case of a grizzly bear, according to the government agent. Having just filled out a mountain of paperwork for my license, I doubt that this fee will even cover the cost of the paperwork involved in filling out the ‘non-resident’ license. It does beg the questions: How much is the life of a Canadian bear, or moose, or wolf, worth? Are we to reagrd them like all our primary products (wood, oil, gas) and sell them at bargain basement prices? And, why do we not allow everyone to ‘buy’ their way in to a species hunt? It is a cumbersome, inequitable and illogical system.