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ESPN Outdoors 2005-2006 Whitetail Forecast

10/5/2005

(Editor's note: No survey form has been received as of yet from Alberta wildlife officials. Data listed below is gleaned from the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division's Web site and from the 2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast. Check the "2005 Guide to Alberta Hunting Regulations" for specific dates and details.)

Season dates:

  • Archery: The archer deer season can start as early as late August in some Alberta wildlife management units (WMUs) and runs as late as late November. Check the "2005 Guide to Alberta Hunting Regulations" for specific dates and details.

  • Muzzleloader: N/A.

  • Youth/disabled: N/A.

  • Firearm: The firearm deer hunting season has started as early as Sept. 1 in some Alberta WMUs and can run as late as Nov. 30 depending upon the WMU being hunted. Check the "2005 Guide to Alberta Hunting Regulations" for specific dates and details.

  • Special antlerless: Check the "2005 Guide to Alberta Hunting Regulations" for specific dates and details.

Resident license fees: (Canadian dollars) Resident whitetail deer, $33.25; resident antlered whitetail deer special license, $33.25; resident youth whitetail deer, $7.75; resident special antlered whitetail deer partner license (youth), $11.50; bowhunting permit, $8.50; and various special and/or antlerless deer licenses varying in price from $10 to $36.99. (Note: Prior to purchasing any license, each hunter must possess a valid WIN (Wildlife Identification Number, available for $8 and good for five years) and a Wildlife Certificate which costs $24.35 (or $7.75 for a Resident Youth Wildlife Certificate.)

Nonresident license fees: (Canadian dollars) Nonresident Canadian whitetail license; $119.73; nonresident Canadian antlered whitetail deer special license, $119.73; nonresident Canadian bowhunting permit, $15.75; nonresident alien antlered whitetail deer special license, $184.18; and nonresident alien bowhunting permit, $22.50. (Note: Prior to purchasing any license, each hunter must possess a valid WIN (Wildlife Identification Number, available for $8 and good for five years) and a Wildlife Certificate, which costs $24.35.)

Bag limit: No answer this year - in the past, one antlered deer according to the 2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast.

Hunter education/bowhunter education required? Primarily, for first-timers only. The 2003/2004 ESPNOutdoors.com Whitetail Deer Forecast reported that if a hunter is 12 or 13 years of age, before obtaining any license, they must successfully complete the Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education Program and have the written permission of your parent or guardian. Bowhunter safety education is not required

Population for 2005: No answer this year, but the 2004 population was listed at 250,000 whitetails.

Season forecast: While no answer has been received this year, a year ago, Alberta wildlife officials indicated to ESPNOutdoors.com that the forecast for whitetail deer hunting during the 2004 season was very good

And since little appears to have changed in the past year, the guess here is that Alberta hunters can expect more of the same in 2005.

Of course, there are few, if any, bad years in this Canadian all-star province for whitetail hunting. In fact, there are few, if any places on the North American continent where deer hunting is better year in and year out than it is in Alberta.

A number of mild winters in recent years have reportedly caused the province's whitetail deer population to increase substantially over the last few years. That means that Alberta hunters should see plenty of whitetails this fall while hunting.

But the numbers that really make Alberta famous isn't its herd of nearly 250,000 deer. It's the huge numbers that get added up on the world-class monster buck antlers that are tagged by hunters each fall.

In fact, while Saskatchewan is the current home to Milo Hanson's 213 5/8 inch (net) Boone & Crockett Club world record typical whitetail, many whitetail deer aficionados believe that Alberta just might be the best bet to produce a new world record typical whitetail.

That's because places in the world have the potential to produce a "stop the presses" world record trophy whitetail buck like Alberta, Canada does.

With a good sized deer herd and plenty of world class monster bucks to boot, don't be surprised if this is a good year of deer hunting in Alberta, perhaps even with a monster whitetail big enough to stop the presses - and then some!

2004 harvest: 38,000 deer (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Bow harvest: 950 deer (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Muzzleloader harvest: N/A.

Firearm harvest: 37,000 deer (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Number of licensed deer hunters: 58,000 residents (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Deer hunter success rates: 42 percent (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Number of bowhunters: 12,500 (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Bowhunter success rates: 16 percent (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Number of muzzleloader hunters: N/A.

Muzzleloader success rates: N/A.

Number of firearm hunters: 52,200 (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Firearm success rates: 42 percent (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Top counties/regions: The central portions of the province are top choices for deer (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Top public-hunting spots: The east central portion of the province is the top region to look in (2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast information).

Testing conducted for chronic wasting disease?: No answer this year - the answer was yes in the 2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast.

Units/areas that tested positive for chronic wasting disease: In the 2004/2005 ESPNOutdoors.com Deer Forecast, wildlife officials in Alberta indicated that they have not had a positive test of a wild deer in the province. (Note: The Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Web site identifies Alberta as one of 12 states and/or provinces where CWD has been detected in captive game farm animals.)

Province record typical: 204 2/8 inches, taken by Stephen Jansen near Beaverdam Creek, Alberta, in 1967.

Province record non-typical: 279 6/8 inches, taken by Neil J. Morin near Whitemud Creek, Alberta in 1991.

Province record archery typical: 206 7/8 inches. (Note: While the Pope & Young Club's panel scoring decision a couple of years back significantly lowered the score of Wayne Zaft's Oct. 8, 2001, whitetail, the Alberta Bowhunting Record Book continued to list the deer as the province's record with a score that the ABRB has accepted at 206 7/8. The previous and/or current archery record typical whitetail [depending on which record keeping system one adheres to] in Alberta is a 197 1/8 inch typical taken in 1991 by Don McGarvey.)

Province record archery non-typical: 241 2/8 inches, taken by Dean Dwernuchuk near Cochrane, Alberta in 1984.

More information: Check the Alberta Department of Environmental Protection Web site or call (780) 944-0313. To report a poacher in Canada, call (800) 642-3800. In the U.S., dial (780) 944-0313.

Did you know? Even with Wayne Zaft's massive Canadian whitetail having its final Pope & Young Club score reduced a couple of years back from its pending world record status, there is little doubt that Alberta is one of North America's top trophy buck hotspots … For the record, the Zaft buck remains atop the Alberta Bowhunting Record Book at 206 7/8-inches (net). The Oct. 8, 2001 whitetail also remains atop the Buckmasters BTR records system as that scoring system's world record regular buck at 205 7/8-inches … The province's non-typical archery record buck was taken in 1984 near Cochrane, Alberta by Dean Dwernuchuk. The buck ranks as the #14 all-time Pope & Young non-typical buck … Just how good is Alberta's trophy buck hunting potential? Well, consider that a quick glance at the Boone & Crockett records shows that Alberta has owned as many as three of the Top 25 typicals and three of the Top 15 non-typicals in the B & C Club record book … The ADEP Web site indicates that moose and white-tailed deer seasons in WMUs 300-308 have been aligned with the elk and mule deer season … The supplemental antlerless white-tailed deer license has been added to a number of WMUs and a number of WMUs will be issued with a second tag … The Foothills Deer License is now valid from Dec. 1 to 20 (Monday to Friday only) … The ADEP Web site indicates that an antlered white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose or elk is one having an antler exceeding 10.2 cm (4 in.) in length … It is unlawful in Alberta to discharge a weapon at a big game animal while it is swimming … It is also unlawful in Alberta to be accompanied by a dog while hunting big game or allow a dog to pursue big game except when hunting cougar under the authority of a cougar license … The ADEP Web site indicates that the whitetail rut in Alberta usually occurs in November … The site also indicates that the results of the rut, or mating season, can be one or two spotted fawns being born to each doe the following spring … The ADEP Web page indicates that Alberta's white-tailed deer are found in the province's wooded river flats and coulees of the prairie or in aspen groves in the parkland and southern boreal zones … Their range is expanding westward into the foothills, mountains and northward further into the boreal zone … Whitetails generally browse on forbs, choke cherry, saskatoon, and other shrubs in Alberta. In addition to food, brushy patches in the province also provide good cover, in which even the largest whitetail is difficult to see.