Generating over a half billion dollars each year, and providing thousands of Saskatchewan residents with jobs, heritage activities like hunting, angling, and trapping play a huge part in Saskatchewan’s economy and overall quality of life.
People come from all over the world to experience the abundant fish and wildlife resources Saskatchewan has to offer. With over 70,000 licensed hunters (10,000 of which come in from out of province), and over 220,000 licensed anglers (not including an estimated 42,000 senior and 60,000 youth anglers, who don’t require licenses), we are looking at nearly 350,000 people taking part in these activities in our province each year.
Saskatchewan is an especially desirable location for heritage activities due to the rich wildlife and game species we enjoy here. The diversity of fish and wildlife in our province is no accident. In fact, 30% of the money brought in from hunting and angling licenses go to the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund. This fund supports the sustainable management of our fish and wildlife resources through fisheries enhancement, land acquisition and habitat management. With over a quarter of license fees being cycled back into the conservation and management of natural resources in the province, the fund assists in maintaining the prosperity of wildlife species and their habitats, and continues to make access to these resources possible.
It’s important to note that heritage activities represent some of the only activities that move money out of cities and in to rural centres. Small towns all over the province are facing economic declines as talented youth migrate to larger centers in search of work, and rural dollars funnel into larger box stores and away from small town shops. Encouraging economy in our provinces small communities helps increase overall quality of life for the people living there.
Not only do hunting, trapping and fishing boost our economy, they also provide a better quality of life for the people who call Saskatchewan home. Hunting promotes physical activity in both young and old, which is associated with reducing the risk of developing several diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Time spent in nature also reduces stress, which further promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens the immune system, and helps reduce fatigue and depression. What’s more, it provides this benefit to many people who might not otherwise seek out regular physical activity, allowing options for those who might not be into the gym or team sports.
Finally, heritage activities help people form a connection to nature, promoting environmental behaviors and values that help strengthen conservation efforts in the province. Conserving our natural spaces and creatures is a crucial endeavour. While the beauty of nature and wildlife are examples of the intrinsic value we receive from the care and maintenance of our natural world, conservation of our environment also has a huge instrumental value to the people of Saskatchewan. Ecological goods and services such as pollination, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration are critical to continued life and business here on the prairies.
For those who don’t identify as members of the hunting, angling and trapping community, it can be easy for the immense economic and ecological value these activities bring to our province to go unnoticed. From helping to maintain our lush and diverse ecological landscape, to bringing money in and moving money around the province, heritage activities provide huge benefits for the people of Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is proud to represent over 33,000 members, a large number of whom are heavily involved in hunting, trapping and fishing in the province. If you have any questions about the outdoor recreational industry, or would like to know how your business could help support conservation efforts in the province, we’d love to hear from you. Visit us at www.swf.sk.ca or give us a call at 306 691 8812.