By the mid 1800’s, the world’s hunting fraternity had learned that British Columbia (BC) harbored one of North America’s most magnificent big game populations. Local hunters started guiding services to meet the demand for quality big game hunts. Guiding licences were first issued in 1913 and guiding territories were established in the late 1940s. In 1961 legislation provided guide outfitters with the exclusive rights to guide non-resident big game hunters in a specific area. This exclusivity of the guide outfitter certificate became the foundation of the guide outfitting industry in BC. The certificate constitutes property and is part of the estate of a guide outfitter.
Guide outfitters developed an understanding of wildlife and wildlife habitat within their guiding territory. This ownership increased the sense of responsibility and was the beginning of wildlife stewardship. The success of this model was recognized and quickly adopted in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The big game populations in BC are healthy and growing due, in part, to the science-based wildlife management policies that were developed by government in cooperation with guide outfitters.
They enjoy showcasing British Columbia and derive great satisfaction from their clients’ enjoyment. More than 5,000 hunters come to BC each year and spend more per day per capita than any other visitor to our province.
The guide outfitting industry is an important contributor the health and well-being of rural economies. Our industry provides 2,000 jobs in BC’s backcountry and generates approximately $116 million in revenue each year. Most guide outfitters derive their primary source of income from their family-run guide outfitting business. A guide outfitter is an entrepreneur with the leadership qualities; business acumen and organizing ability necessary to assist clients achieve their specific objective in British Columbia’s outdoors.
The Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) was established in 1966 to represent the guide outfitting industry to government and advocate for science-based wildlife management. Today the association represents 60-70% of the guide outfitters in BC, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.