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What is an outfitter?

In Quebec, outfitters used to be known as private clubs. Did you know that prior to 1970, no less than 2,200 private clubs were in operation across the province? Located in the heart of vast territories that are home to fish and game, private clubs were a popular attraction for well-to-do Americans. In the 70s, many Quebec hunters and fishermen wanted to reclaim these lands and make them accessible to everyone.

Photo sepia, a group of fishermen on a gallery organizing for a fishing trip.

Group of fishermen at the private club “L’empire club”, 1947

In 1978, “Opération Déclubage” gave birth to the outfitters we know today. Contrary to zecs (zones d’exploitation controlées, or controlled harvesting zones) and national parks, structured wildlife territories are owned and operated by private enterprises.

Outfitters then

For a long time, hunting and fishing were the main activities offered by outfitters. There are two types of outfitters: PADE (pourvoiries à droits exclusifs, or outfitter with exclusive rights) and PADNE (pourvoiries à droits non-exclusifs, or outfitter without exclusive rights). PADE refers to an outfitter that has exclusive wildlife exploitation rights in a given territory, under a lease arrangement with the government. According to article 78.1 of the Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife, an outfitter is “an undertaking which, in return for payment, provides lodging and services or equipment for the practice of hunting, fishing or trapping activities for recreational purposes.”

Outfitters now

Over the years, many outfitters have evolved to become full-fledged lodges that offer not only fishing and hunting, but also a vast array of other recreational activities. Today’s outfitters offer a wide variety of vacation packages; whether you’re vacationing with family, friends or your spouse, you’re sure to find a package that suits your tastes and needs. Many outfitters are also equipped to welcome individuals with reduced mobility.

Quebec alone is home to approximately 675 outfitters, more than 75 of which are located in Mauricie. Close to 400 of these outfitters belong to the Quebec Outfitters Federation and 50 or so belong to the Mauricie Outfitters Association.

Colour photo, three men near a table preparing their rigging for a fishing trip.

Preparation for an exit on the Gouin Reservoir, 2015