Every summer, outfitter associations from across North America get together to discuss common issues and to share ideas. This year’s meeting took place July 7 to 10 in Kananaskis, Alberta, where representatives from eight provinces and four states discussed everything from seal and sage grouse to Supreme Court decisions. The annual North American Guides and Outfitters Associations Workshop is sponsored and facilitated by Safari Club International.
Outfitter associations from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec ,New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Montana, Alaska, Nevada and New Mexico all provided updates on what’s happening with the industry in their jurisdictions, before the Canadian and American groups broke up on Day 2 to discuss issues in their own countries. The Canadians, collectively known as the Canadian Federation of Outfitter Associations (CFOA) covered topics such as CWD, CITES export permits for wolves, Aboriginal title to non-treaty lands, Transport Canada’s new boat rental policies, and the legal hunting age in Newfoundland.
Meanwhile, the American associations formalized their umbrella association, the Professional Outfitters and Guides of America (POGA), passed the organization’s bylaws, elected officers and voted to apply for membership in the American Wildlife Conservation partners to gain a national voice for the industry. Outfitter liability insurance was also discussed.
Perhaps the farthest reaching project coming from the meeting was the defining of industry core norms and goals. Extending beyond the two day meeting, a group of two Canadians and two Americans volunteered to edit ideas from the group and to publish to the group their results in a timely manner.
Safari Club International’s Guides and Outfitters Committee has sponsored these workshops since 2001 with the locations of the meetings alternating every other year between Canada and the United States. The workshops are intended to promote networking and cooperation between the associations from both countries with a goal of furthering ethical hunting practices, conservation and professionalism among their members.– Paul Turenne, Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association