WHEREAS hunting from undeveloped road allowances has been identified as a matter of enforcement and public safety by concerned county residents; and
WHEREAS hunting from undeveloped road allowances within rural areas may result in trespass and conflict with adjacent landowners; and
WHEREAS hunting from undeveloped road allowances that may result in trespass on adjacent lands and other potential negative consequences needs to be addressed; and
WHEREAS hunting within the Province of Alberta is regulated through the provisions of the Wildlife Act; and
WHEREAS current legislation governing hunting does not prohibit access to undeveloped road allowances for hunting, or discharging of a firearm along or across an undeveloped road allowance; and
WHEREAS legislation currently does not address hunting from undeveloped road allowances and the need to obtain permission from an adjacent landowner(s);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend Section 51 of the Wildlife Act so as to prohibit the discharge of a firearm from or cause a projectile from a firearm to pass along or across an undeveloped road allowance unless a person has consent of owner(s) and/or occupant(s) of land(s) located directly adjacent to the undeveloped road allowance.
Municipalities are often approached by resident(s) seeking support and guidance on how to control and /or stop an issue of specific concern; in this case, that concern is the need to prohibit the discharge of firearms from or across an undeveloped road allowance. A Rocky View County resident, with support from other members of the public, has been actively advocating for legislative change restricting hunting from undeveloped road allowances; and, in doing so, has been in contact with and has received information from a variety of sources, including hunting based interest organizations. The county understands that these groups include Hunting for Tomorrow and Alberta Game Management Advisory Group (AGMAG). The county has not been in direct contact with these organizations.
Hunting within the Province of Alberta is regulated through the provisions of the Wildlife Act and is typically enforced by Fish and Wildlife Officers. Municipalities, through Community Peace Officers, have limited authority regarding the enforcement of hunting regulations; however, municipalities do have authority under the Municipal Government Act to adopt bylaws addressing firearms and no shooting zones.
Amendments proposed by this resolution are not intended to address the merits of hunting from undeveloped road allowances, or to restrict hunting from undeveloped road allowances, but rather to address one of the key issues associated with hunting from an undeveloped road allowance, the matter of trespass onto adjacent lands, which is a matter of public safety. Of concern for many agricultural landowners is trespass by hunters onto adjacent private land, where permission to hunt has not been obtained. Specific concerns include hunters trespassing onto agricultural lands to retrieve a wounded or dead animal. This could result in many forms of conflict, including but not limited to scaring or injuring livestock, and damage to fences. Trespass onto private lands by hunters may result in conflict between a private landowner and a hunter when the hunter is retrieving a dead animal from private lands and permission has not been obtained from that landowner to be on the land. Amendments to the Wildlife Act addressing the need to obtain consent from a landowner(s) or occupant(s) of lands adjacent to an undeveloped road allowance would enable an enforcement action to be taken, when or if conflict occurs.
Other sections of the Wildlife Act address hunting in proximity to residences and buildings (Section 52), protection of livestock (Section 29) and hunting at night (Section 28), in addition of other matters. Amendments to the Wildlife Act have been limited to Section 51, addressing hunting from undeveloped road allowances and the need to obtain permission from adjacent landowners.
The definition of a “road” for purposes of hunting is contained within Section 51 of the Wildlife Act, as follows:
51 (1) A person shall not discharge a firearm from, or cause a projectile from a firearm to pass along or across,
(a) a highway designated as a provincial highway under the Highways Development and Protection Act , or
(b) any other road that is paved, oiled, graded or regularly maintained in a municipal district or prescribed area.
(2) In subsection (1), “highway” or “road” includes, as well as the travelled portion of it, a width of land on either side of the travelled portion, including the inner two sides of a divided highway, that extends,
(a) if there is a fence parallelling the travelled portion that separates the adjacent lands from the travelled portion, to the fence,
(b) if there is an identifiable ditch alongside the travelled portion and there is no fence separating the travelled portion from the adjacent lands, to the edge of the ditch that is further from the travelled portion, or
(c) if there is no such fence or ditch, to a distance of 20 feet from the edge of the travelled portion,
and also includes the whole of the remaining area between the 2 travelled portions of a divided highway at any location where the distance between the 2 nearest points on the innermost edges of the 2 travelled portions is less than 200 yards.
(3) Subsection (1)(b) does not apply to a person hunting game birds with a shotgun under the authority of a licence authorizing the hunting of game birds.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.