Hunters should be watching for May 1

After a record-setting year for applications in 2020, Saskatchewan's big game draw is set to open for 2021 on May 1.

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

"The big game draw continues to be extremely popular with hunters in this province," Environment Minister Warren Kaeding said.  "In 2020, the ministry received almost 115,000 applications and we anticipate another busy year."

While the draw opportunity is provided in anticipation of the fall hunting season, applicants should be aware of the unpredictable circumstances around COVID-19, and should be prepared to follow all public health orders.

"The ministry continues to work with the hunting community to improve the process and encourages all hunters to apply early," Kaeding said.  "Game populations in many areas have been doing very well.  This means that there will be increased hunting opportunities for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer in certain zones."

The 2021 Big Game Draw Supplement provides Saskatchewan resident hunters with information on seasons and quotas for draw species, as well as advance notice of any changes to this fall's regular big game seasons.

The application process remains largely unchanged.  Information regarding the application, priority pools, wildlife management zone (WMZ) quotas and detailed application instructions are available at www.saskatchewanlicences.active.com.

Apply early and use the online residency verification tool to avoid complications.  Draws for several species receive a high number of applications compared to 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 who are concerned about being unable to hunt because of the pandemic may wish to consider submitting a 'Zone 99' application.  This allows the applicant to maintain their pool status without being drawn for a licence.  Hunters should be aware there is no refund for big game draw application fees.

The big game draw is administered through the Saskatchewan Hunting, Angling and Trapping Licence (HAL) system.  Clients can submit, review and update their applications, check pool status history and purchase a draw licence through their HAL accounts.

Draw results will be available through HAL accounts in mid-June, with the exception of pronghorn, which will be available in mid-July.  Applicants are responsible for checking their own draw results.

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

For information on your HAL account or assistance with completing an application, please call 1-888-773-8450.  If you have questions about your pool status or hunting in Saskatchewan, call the Ministry of Environment's Inquiry Line at 1-800-567-4224.

Additional information about the big game draw is available at saskatchewan.ca/hunting.

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