Sask. wolf hunting pilot starts next week

A provincial pilot project allowing licensed hunters to help thin out the wolf packs on behalf of livestock producers in predator-ridden northeastern Saskatchewan will get underway Monday (Sept. 15).

Saskatchewan’s environment ministry said Thursday the pilot wolf hunt will run until March 31, 2015, strictly in wildlife management zone (WMZ) 49, which runs south along the forest from Carrot River to Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, then east along the forest to Hudson Bay.

There will be 100 licences available at environment ministry offices in Nipawin, Hudson Bay and Greenwater Lake Provincial Park.

Restricted to Saskatchewan residents only, the licences will be available on a first-come basis and must be picked up in person, the province said Thursday. One licence will be available per person until Jan. 1, 2015; a second licence may be purchased until March 31, if unsold licences remain.

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. (SCIC), which runs the province’s wildlife damage compensation programs for both livestock and crops, has reported an “unusually high” number of livestock predation claims in the area around Weekes, about 95 km southeast of Tisdale, Environment Minister Scott Moe said in Thursday’s release.

Wolves are suspected as the cause “in most cases,” he said. “Although the ministry supports licensed trapping as the primary control method for managing wolf populations, we hope the wolf hunt pilot will help address and alleviate the problem in this specific area.”

“The season dates should provide the opportunity to hunt a wolf when the pelt is prime, and will still allow northern trappers to use their skills and knowledge to trap wolves within the forest,” Saskatchewan Trappers Association president Don Gordon said in the province’s release.

Licence holders will be provided with a reporting sheet and required, as a condition of the permit, to report hunting results to the environment ministry. All regulations on weapon types, clothing requirements and baiting that pertain to big game will apply for this hunt, the province warned.

In “coming months,” the ministry said, it will work with SCIC, the trappers’ association, landowners and municipalities to evaluate the success of the pilot. — Network


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