Limited caribou harvest proposed for resident hunters

Limited caribou harvest proposed for resident hunters
Bluenose-East caribou race through the deep snow. There has been a hunting ban for resident hunters on this herd since 2006.Photo: Environment and Natural Resources, GNWT.

Resident hunters may soon get the chance to harvest select barren ground caribou again.

The government of the Northwest Territories has proposed a limited harvest in designated zones during the 2013-2014 big game season for resident hunters when it comes to the Bluenose-East, Beverly and Ahiak caribou herds.

Current trend and population analysis along with harvest projections indicate the herds could sustain the current Aboriginal harvest as well as a limited harvest from resident hunters with minimal negative impacts.

There has been a hunting ban on the Bluenose-East herd since 2006 for resident hunters. This herd, currently undergoing a herd size survey from the departnment of Environment and Natural Resources, was not officially recognized as a distinct herd until 1999.

Resident harvesting of the Beverly and Ahiak herds closed in 2009-2010. Aboriginal harvesting of these three caribou herds is not restricted.

The most recent survey from 2010 shows the Bluenose herd numbers have increased to 122,000 animals. The Aboriginal harvest between 2009 and 2010 averaged 2,700 animals from the herd.

The Beverly herd was recorded at 124,000 in 2011 and the Ahiak herd at 71,000.

The Aboriginal harvest of these herds between 2009 and 2010 was 1,000 animals and less than 1,000 in 2011-2012, respectively.

The proposal would allow resident hunters to purchase one tag for a bull-only harvest. The tag must be used for one bull in total and cannot be used for one bull from all three herds.

The proposal has been sent to various renewable resources boards for review and recommendations to the minister of the Environment and Natural Resources.

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