Hunters wanting to head out to the fields this big game season should mark their calendars for May 1st.

On that day, Saskatchewan will open the draw for 2021’s big game hunting licenses. This year, the province is encouraging hunters to get in early because 2020 saw a record number of applications. Over that year, Environment Minister Warren Kaeding says, there were 115,000 applications. 

Kaeding also adds that due to good game population numbers, there may be more opportunities to hunt elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer in certain zones. However, other draws for some animals receive a high number of applications versus the number of licences available.

In these cases, the odds of being drawn will be low, even for applications in the top priority pool. Hunters can use The 2021 Big Game Draw Supplement for info on seasons and quotas for draw species, as well as advance notice of any changes to this fall’s regular big game seasons.

This year’s application process will be largely the same as last years, with details on priority pools, wildlife management zone quotas and detailed application instructions all ready to go online.

Hunters should be aware of COVID-19 restrictions

The province adds that hunters should be aware of how COVID-19 restrictions may impact their season.

This is mostly in preparing to follow all public health orders that may still exist in the Fall. However, the province does have an option for people who may not get to hunt at all due to COVID-19. 

By putting in a Zone 99 application, the applicant can maintain their pool status without being drawn for a licence. This can be advantageous especially if someone is in a higher draw position.

Applications to be approved when summer begins

Draw results will be available through residents’ Hunting, Angling and Trapping Licence accounts in mid-June, with the exception of pronghorn, which will be available in mid-July. Hunters should check there, as the province puts this responsibility to not miss their license on them. Application fees are not refundable.

Successful applicants can purchase licences through their HAL accounts beginning August 1, 2021.

Hunters have until 11:59 PM on May 25 to submit their online applications.