By Cole Parkinson
This week marks the start of the ninth annual Taber Pheasant Festival.
The week-long event begins on Oct. 19 and runs until Oct. 26, with events every day for hunters and non-hunters to enjoy.
The novice hunt kicks things off on Oct. 19 and 20, which allows all new hunters, young and old, to try pheasant hunting for the first time.
Instructors and volunteers from Alberta Hunter Education Instructors Association (AHEIA) and ACA offer proper firearm handling, clay target shooting instruction, and one-on-one mentoring to ensure a safe, hands-on learning opportunity.
The regular hunt follows starting on Oct. 21 and goes until Oct. 26.
The five-day hunt is for draw-winning hunters to gather their hunting group of four and their faithful hunting dogs on one of 40 privately owned sites within the Municipal District of Taber. Eligible for up to three time slots during the festival, hunters can harvest up to two birds each, following normal hunting regulations.
All hunters are required to carry a WiN card, wildlife certificate, valid bird license and pheasant license to hunt in the Taber Pheasant Festival. M.D. of Taber CPOs and Alberta Fish and Wildlife will be partnering to monitor events and prevent non-licensed hunters from hunting at festival hunts.
The Town of Taber will be hosting a kick-off hunter lunch on Oct. 21 which is free. It goes from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Taber Community Centre.
That night at Tank 77 (Heritage Inn), the Game to Gourmet Culinary Tasting event starts at 7 p.m. Professional chefs will be preparing a number of different pheasant-based dishes to all in attendance and tickets are $15 a person.
October 23 sees the Scotch tasting event also at Tank 77 starting at 7 p.m. Scotch tasting is free and chicken wings are on for a special price.
The final event for the festival is the Pheasant Festival Celebration Dinner and Silent Auction on Oct. 24. The event is at the Taber Community Centre with tickets at $50 per person and cocktails start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. Limited space is available and those interested are asked to purchase tickets in advance.