The Weyburn Wildlife Federation (WWF) is reminding hunters and firearms owners that they can turn their unwanted firearms, antlers, used hunting and fishing equipment into habitat for wildlife.
Larry Olfert, Past President of the WWF, said the program was started by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) a number of years ago and it runs year-round.
"They collect unused, unwanted firearms from legal gun owners and we have an auction once a year with these firearms and we sell them to licensed gun owners. The money is used to buy critical wildlife habitat."
The Habitat Trust program has been around for a long time, Olfert said. "What we do is we raise money through donations from branches and individual donations, and we collect antlers and sell them to craft companies and whatnot once a year, as well as the guns. All this money goes to buy critical wildlife habitat."
"Anything we buy is used for hunting as well as sightseeing. They've got geocaching set up on a lot of different parcels of that habitat grassland, and just for viewing wildlife photography," Olfert said.
Anybody can get permission to go on this land, Olfert relayed, "If you're a WF member, it's written right on your card. You have permission to access habitat trust land on foot only. And if you're not a WF member, then you just have to contact central office (email@example.com) and they will provide you with written permission to go and do whatever you'd like to do, so long as it's legal activity."
There's parcels of land all over the province. "We have a piece of land over by Griffin in the Griffin R.M. It's five quarters and there are smaller parcels around two quarters, but this particular piece was donated by the landowner," Olfert shared.
He explained this particular piece of land was willed to them, and they follow the conditions that the landowner stipulated. "This one is no hunting, so it's still good for wildlife to live on. We've also had photographers out there, and there's two geocache points on this piece of land."
They also bought a lot of land up along the forest ridge just for critical wildlife habitat, because it's very important, Olfert said.
Olfert advised that anybody that wants to turn in an unwanted firearm, can contact any executive member of the WWF or any other branch as they're all involved in the program. "We'll come and pick them up, you don't have to bring them to us. Then we'll arrange transport to Moose Jaw."
The SWF does not accept handguns or prohibited firearms.