Canadian Forces Base Suffield
In a class by itself”
Located in Southeast Alberta, approximately 50 kilometres west of Medicine Hat, CFB Suffield has been the site of military training in the region since 1972. CFB Suffield is host to the largest military training area in Canada, conducting the largest live-fire training exercises in the country. The Manoeuvre Training Area covers 1,588 square kilometres of a 2,700 square kilometre base. The mission of CFB Suffield is to provide a world class, sustainable Range and Training Area that enables the Canadian Armed Forces, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) – Suffield Research Centre, the British Army Training Unit Suffield and other potential users to achieve their mandates through effective stewardship of all the Range Training Area, infrastructure and equipment.
CFB Suffield operates its own sewage system, water treatment system, landfill and landfarm and provides fire services to base residents and neighbouring communities. CFB Suffield is home to the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), the British Army’s premier live fire training establishment. BATUS delivers world class live fire and manoeuvre training as well as force on force exercises using state of the art simulation technology. The base is also the home of Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield Research Centre. DRDC-SRC provides the Department of Defence, the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments, as well as public safety and national security communities the knowledge and technological advantage to defend and protect Canada’s interests at home and abroad. CFB Suffield falls under the Canadian Army command of 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div).
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) - Suffield Research Centre
As the needs of DND have changed over the years, DRDC Suffield has remained a strategic defence resource. Many of the research and development activities at DRDC Suffield are unique.
DRDC Suffield offers expertise in military engineering, autonomous intelligent systems, and defence against chemical and biological (CB) agents. Key research areas include:
- Explosives threat assessment and blast effects
- Detection of land mines
- Neutralization of landmines and unexploded ordnance
- Bulk explosives detection
- Novel energetic materials
- CB detection and identification
- Medical countermeasures and toxicology
- CB hazard assessment
- Physical protection against CB agents
DRDC Suffield also offers live agent training to the Canadian Armed Forces, international military, and first responder communities.
British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS)
The prairie of Alberta has provided an excellent opportunity for the British Army to train on a large scale since 1972. The British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) is an organisation situated on one of the most sparsely populated areas of the Alberta plain.
The duration of the exercises, and size of the training area, allow all elements of a combined arms battle group (Infantry, Armour, Artillery, Engineers, Air Defence, Logistics and Equipment Support) to conduct realistic live firing training at all levels.
More about BATUS.
Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Scott
Base Regimental Sergeant Major
Chief Warrant Officer P.C. MacKeigan
Canadian Forces Base Suffield
P.O. Box 6000, Station Main
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Telephone: (403) 544-4405
Public Affairs Officer : Natalie Finnemore
- Elk Herd Reduction Program expands into National Wildlife Area - Public Notice - December 1, 2016
- Grassland firefighting top priority for CFB Suffield fire crews - News Release - May 9, 2016
- Operation WOMBLE community cleanup brings Ralston village together at CFB Suffield - News Release - April 21, 2016
- Troops practice medical evacuation procedures during Exercise PRAIRIE RESPONSE - News Release - April 14, 2016
CFB Suffield - Media Stories
Some or all of the following material originates with an organization not subject to the Official Languages Act, and is available on this site in the language in which it was written.
- Bravo Zulu to CFB Suffield fire services after Snack Shack blaze - March 1, 2016
- Elk hunt at CFB Suffield a good experience for soldiers - January 26, 2016
- Elk hunt set to go ahead Jan. 11 at CFB Suffield - January 5, 2016
Personnel Support Programs
The Canadian Forces Community Gateway is a series of linked websites (one for every base and wing) that provides a common national view of all local base/wing Non-Public Property (NPP) programs and activities including publicly-funded programs delivered through NPP. These are just some of the services available on the Community Gateway site:
- Fitness and Sports
- Recreation and Leisure
- Health Programs
- Family Services
SISIP Financial Services
What is the Elk Herd Reduction Program?
The Elk Herd Reduction Program (EHRP) is an annual hunt which has been run by the Government of Alberta since 2012. Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield is the landowner and supports the province in its efforts to reduce the elk population within the Base’s Range and Training Area. CFB Suffield is the largest military training area in the Commonwealth (2,700 sq./km), and is located approximately 50 km northwest of Medicine Hat, Alta.
Who can participate?
Hunters ages 12 and up who have received tags from the Government of Alberta, and specific First Nations Bands from Treaties 4, 6 and 7 can participate in the annual Elk Herd Reduction Program.
When is the Elk Herd Reduction Program happening?
The Elk Herd Reduction Program will take place from November 1, 2016, to January 28, 2017.
The schedule for the hunt is as follows:
- Antlered (bull) elk hunt:
- November 1-3, 14-16, 28-30
- December 5-7
- January 9-11, 23-25
- Antlerless (cow) elk hunt:
- November 4-6, 17-19
- December 1-3, 8-10
- January 12-14, 26-28
Where does the hunt take place?
Hunters will be given access to parts of CFB Suffield’s Range and Training Area. CFB Suffield is located 5 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway along Highway 884. It is approximately 50 km from the City of Medicine Hat.
Why does the Elk Herd Reduction Program exist?
Elk herds were introduced at CFB Suffield by the province in 1997. Since then, their numbers have grown exponentially, as they have no natural predators in the area. The Elk Herd Reduction Program aims to reduce the number of elk in CFB Suffield’s Range and Training Area. There is a delicate balance to be achieved in managing the elk population.
How can I participate?
Hunting tags must be acquired through the Government of Alberta. All tags for the 2016-2017 EHRP have been distributed and no more are remaining. For more information, visit AlbertaRELM.
Specific Bands from Treaties 4, 6 and 7 can participate in the program on all dates of the hunt without acquiring tags. First Nations hunters are able to harvest antlered or antlerless during all days of the EHRP.
Each day, the EHRP Co-ordinator may deny access to certain designated areas within the Range and Training Area and National Wildlife Area
What should I bring with me?
Please bring the following items with you:
- A complete, signed copy of your Range Access Permit
- Government-issued photo ID for you and any other participants
- For those who have received tags: Your WIN card, tags and any other pertinent information provided by the Government of Alberta
- For First Nations hunters: Government-issued Secure Certificate of Indian Status Card
- A reliable vehicle with four-wheel drive and a full tank of fuel (diesel fuel cannot be purchased near the Base)
- Vehicle registration and proof of insurance
- Your cellphone
- A handheld GPS and compass is recommended but not required
- Your registered rifle(s) that meets calibre safety restrictions and ammunition
- Tools to field dress harvested animal(s)
- Blaze orange clothing
- Appropriate seasonal footwear and clothing
- Bringing food and water is recommended (this can also be purchased at the CANEX store at the Base)
What is the Daily Safety Briefing?
All hunters and their helpers are required to participate in a Daily Safety Briefing. The purpose of this briefing is to provide hunters with the information needed to safely conduct hunting activities on the Base. Hunters attending multiple days of the EHRP must participate in each morning’s briefing to facilitate passage of information based on changes to local conditions, including military activities. A signed Range Access Permit and attendance at the briefing are required to be granted access to the Range and Training Area every day. No access will be granted to the Range and Training Area prior to designated hunt dates or prior to the Daily Safety Briefing.
What is the itinerary for each day of the hunt?
- Arrive at the CFB Suffield Recreation Centre for registration between 5:15-6:15 a.m. During this time, hunters’ paperwork will be processed. The doors will be closed at 6:45 a.m sharp.
- The Daily Safety Briefing will begin at 6:45 a.m. Attendance at this briefing is mandatory each day or access will not be granted to the Range and Training Area.
- After the briefing is concluded, hunters will be directed towards the correct entry gate and later into the Range and Training Area.
- All hunters must begin to exit the Range and Training Area by last light/sunset. All hunters must be out of the training area no later than 90 minutes past last light. Each day this time will be given during the Daily Safety Briefing.
Where do I go for the Daily Safety Briefing?
Each day of the EHRP, a Daily Safety Briefing will be held at the Ralston Recreation Centre in the Crown Village of Ralston. The Crown Village of Ralston is located approximately 3 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway just off of Highway 884. Signs will be posted off of Highway 884 to direct visitors to the location.
What are the rifle calibre restrictions?
All rifle calibres .338 Lapua or higher are prohibited for safety reasons. Common rifle calibres that are accepted include, but are not limited to:
- .338 Winchester,
- .300 Winchester Magnum,
- .340 Weatherby and
- .30-06 Springfield.
A hunter is permitted to bring more than one rifle during the hunt.
How much blaze orange should I wear?
All hunters must wear a blaze hunter orange article of clothing on their upper body while outside of their vehicle. For safety reasons, CFB Suffield recommends that hunters wear a blaze orange hat and vest/jacket to make sure hunters are clearly visible to one another within the Range and Training Area.
Where can I find accommodations?
CFB Suffield is a semi-isolated location and there are no hotels within close proximity to the Base. There are no areas where camping is permitted at CFB Suffield. Tents, campers, motor homes or other temporary lodging cannot be set up anywhere on Base property, including at the CANEX store or anywhere within the Crown Village of Ralston. Hunters can find accommodations in Medicine Hat or Brooks, Alta. Medicine Hat is about 50 km southeast of CFB Suffield, and Brooks is located approximately 70 km northwest of the Base.
Where can I find the Range Access Permit, and how do I submit it?
What amenities are located on the Base?
The Puck Stop is located in the Ralston Hockey Arena, which is next to the Ralston Recreation Centre where the Daily Safety Briefings will be held. The Puck Stop concession stand will be open to the public from 5:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 5:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Breakfast can be pre-ordered by Facebook message at the Ralston Puck Stop page.
There is also a restaurant that is open to the public in Ralston called the Jubilee Arms Pub & Eatery.
Are there any important regulations I should be aware of?
Base personnel are not able to assist with the recovery of a disabled vehicle during the EHRP. In the event that a vehicle gets stuck or breaks down within the Range and Training Area, Willy’s Towing is the only authorized provider who can provide emergency roadside assistance within the Base. Willy’s Towing can be contacted at 403-548-2002. Please notify Range Control immediately if you are stuck to assist the recovery company in locating your vehicle.
Which Treaties and Bands can participate?
Specific Bands from Treaties 4, 6, and 7 can participate in the EHRP.
How many helpers can each hunter bring along?
Each hunter may bring along as many helpers as required that can be safely seated in a vehicle (with a seatbelt) to assist with retrieving the harvested animal(s).
Are there age restrictions for helpers?
All hunters and helpers must be 12 years of age or older.
What types of vehicles are permitted?
All-terrain vehicles (quads, four-wheelers, snowmobiles) are not permitted in the Range and Training Area. Light cargo trailers, freezer vans or trucks are permitted for the transport and storage of the harvested animals. A vehicle pass must be issued to each pick-up truck or SUV that will be entering the Base.
How do I submit heads for Chronic Wasting Disease testing?
There will be a station set up at the Range Control Office (Building #604), where hunters enter/exit the Range and Training Area, for the voluntary submission of heads for scientific testing to track Chronicle Wasting Disease. It is not a requirement to submit an animal head for testing. For provincial biologists to acquire an accurate sample size, voluntary submissions are strongly encouraged whenever possible.
What support do military personnel provide during the hunt?
In support of this provincial hunt, Canadian Armed Forces members are responsible access control and security. Individual hunters are responsible for their safety and that of other hunters and helpers.
Am I allowed to bring my cellphone?
Yes, all hunters are required to have a cellphone with them at all times for safety reasons. Each hunter’s cellphone number must be provided to Range Control to have two-way contact in case of an emergency. Please note that cellular reception can be limited within certain areas of the Range and Training Area.
What is the Base’s photography and videography policy?
Photography and videography is strictly prohibited at the Base for security reasons.
There is one designated area near the Range Control Section where hunters and their helpers can take photographs with their harvested animals.
Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, cannot be used during the hunt and are not permitted on Base property.
Program Co-ordinator contact
The EHRP Co-ordinator can be reach weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (403) 928-7430 (this phone does not send text messages)
Is hunting allowed in the National Wildlife Area?
Yes, CFB Suffield will be allowing limited walk in, pack out (meaning foot access only, including game retrieval) hunting access to the CFB Suffield National Wildlife Area (NWA) to assist in managing the elk herd population.
The NWA is an environmentally protected and ecologically sensitive area with in the Base’s Range and Training Area in which disturbance from military training and defence research is minimized to conserve native wildlife and habitat. This area has not been accessible during the EHRP in previous years.
An Environmental Effects Determination was produced in co-ordination with the Department of National Defence, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Government of Alberta. Through this assessment, it was determined that hunting activities are not anticipated to result in significant adverse effects, and also may be beneficial by managing the elk herd population within the NWA.
How can I access the National Wildlife Area to hunt?
The selection process to participate in a walk in, pack out hunt within the NWA will be done during the daily registration process. All hunters will be asked during registration whether they want to voluntarily enter a lottery draw enabling them to hunt within the NWA during that hunt day. Interested hunters will be entered in the daily lottery draw, and will know if they are granted access to hunt in the NWA at the end of the Daily Safety Briefing.
Hunters and their helpers whom are successfully chosen during the daily lottery draw will remain in place after the Daily Safety Briefing to receive an additional NWA briefing, which enables a one-day NWA Access Permit to be issued. An additional NWA Access Permit must be signed, which will be provided during the second briefing. NWA access is only granted for one day of use and can only be used on the date of selection. A new lottery draw will occur during each day of the hunt.
Each hunting party will be responsible for bringing the required supplies (listed below) before they are granted access to the NWA.
Is there any special equipment needed to hunt in the National Wildlife Area?
Due to the remote and isolated nature of the NWA, every member of the hunting party must have in their possession:
- At least one hunting helper (there must be two or more persons in your hunting party, no individual hunters are allowed to access this area alone for safety reasons)
- A handheld GPS device (not a GPS application on a cellphone as data connectivity will be limited in areas)
- A fully-changed cellphone must be on your person at all times while on foot in the NWA, and that cellphone number must be provided to Range Control personnel for emergency communication purposes (understanding that connectivity can be limited)
- Paper map of the area (this will be provided)
- Basic survival kit for each member of the hunting party consisting of at a minimum: water for 12 hours, food for 12 hours and an emergency solar blanket
- A way of retrieving your animal (game cart/sled, rope, pack frame, etc.)
Each hunting party will have to prove that they have these items to a Range Control patroller at a designated parking area before entering the NWA.
Can I use a vehicle in the National Wildlife Area if I am selected and granted access to hunt in the daily draw?
To preserve the ecosystem in the NWA, this will be a walk in, pack out hunt and there will be no vehicle access off of main roads within the NWA. This restriction will be strictly enforced. Designated parking areas will be available on the perimeter of the NWA. Hunters and their helpers will be expected to leave their vehicles and take their supplies with them as they travel on foot throughout the NWA.
How do I contact Alberta Fish and Wildlife?
The Alberta Fish and Wildlife office in Medicine Hat can be contacted at 403-529-3680.
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