While most American wingshooters feel confident that Covid will be far less disruptive to the 2021 domestic hunting season, confidence drops significantly when it comes to Canada. More US hunters head north to shoot waterfowl than anything else, and most are still in the dark about what’s in store for the coming season. To help shed light on the subject, we spoke with Dan Frederick, one of the owners of Ameri-Cana Expeditions, in Alberta. Ameri-Cana is one of the top waterfowl outfitters in North America and a Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge.
Shooting Sportsman: How did Covid impact your 2020 season?
Dan Frederick: The biggest impact was that the virus prevented our US guests from making it to our lodge. We had only Canadian guests last year. In a normal year our lodge is practically full for all six weeks of the season. Last year we were open for only two weeks and were only at partial capacity.
SSM: What is it going to be like for the 2021 season?
DF: No one is 100% sure yet, but we like our chances of being back to normal in time for our September 1 opener. For starters, the vaccination programs in both the US and Canada are progressing in such a way that our guests and staff likely will have received their doses by the end of July. Canada is currently reassessing its border policy every 30 days. Most of us are betting on the restrictions for US hunters being lifted as a result of the June or July reassessment.
SSM: Border restrictions aside, what kind of a season are you anticipating regarding the quality of the hunting?
DF: That question is the easiest one to answer! The hunting is going to be awesome. It always is. Ameri-Cana hunts where the Pacific and Central flyways overlap. That means we consistently get huge numbers of birds as well as a great variety of them. Our US guests don’t have to worry about that part.
SSM: Will you be implementing Covid precautions at your lodge in 2021?
DF: I cannot give an exact answer until we see what the situation is leading into the season, but I think we will. We will probably keep some of the things we put into place last season for our Canadian hunters. Our goal will be to keep everyone safe without hindering the high level of comfort and relaxed ambiance that are enjoyed so much by our guests.
SSM: What advice do you have for hunters on how to proceed with a tentative booking for the coming season?
DF: Contact your outfitter sooner rather than later. I tell people to call or email me right away so we can get the discussion going. I can advise on availability, keep guests posted on the lifting of border restrictions and accommodate them with a Covid-friendly payment schedule. (For example, balance payments for US guests will not be due until the border restrictions are lifted.) We fully expect a flood of US hunters wanting to come and hunt with us once the border is opened. The guys who contacted us beforehand will be the ones who get to go.
Find out more about Ameri-Cana Expeditions as a Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To contact Ameri-Cana Expeditions directly, call 780-469-0579 or email [email protected].