Labrador Caribou Hunt on Indefinite Hold

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The caribou season was slated to start August 10th this year. The current population of caribou continues to decline, so the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation has decided to postpone the season.

In 2001 the population was at 385,000 and a survey in July 2010 found the population to be at 74,000 caribou. With the dramatic decline, in the latest provincial budget, $1.9 million was allocated for a three-year Labrador Caribou Management Initiative. It involves data collection with regards to the herd to help better understand what might be affecting the population numbers.

By postponing the season and giving the researchers more time they are hoping to figure out a management plan that will enable the caribou herds to survive. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs agrees that the survival of the herd is most important to all Labradorians. From The Telegram.

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groovy mike's picture

'Indefinite' hold is kind of a scary thought - Yikes!

Indefinite hold is kind of a scary thought isn’t it.  That almost implies that there won’t be any caribou hunts there any time soon.   Yikes!

 But with that dramatic decrease in the caribou herd population it makes sense to postpone the caribou season this year.  Why the heck has the caribou herd population nose dived?  Is it due to disease? Is it loss of feed due to some climate change or plant blight? Caribou probably are one of the species most susceptible to decline due to habitat loss.  If there is no reindeer moss, then there are no caribou.  So I think that should certainly be a consideration that should be factored into herd management.  All this talk of teh artic sea ice melting and how it is affecting teh habitat of teh polar bear and walruses, I have to think that teh same warming (from whatever source) is affecting the artic flora too.  Is that impacting teh caribou population?  It must in some way.  Someone at the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation must have a theory as to what is at work here.  It would take a heck of a lot of hunting by humans and wolves to reduce the caribou population from 385,000 to just 74,000.  That’s a loss of over three hundred thousand caribou!  With the dramatic decline of the caribou numbers, the very survival of the herd is in question.  It makes me wonder if they are they seeing similarly frightening decreases in the caribou populations of the neighboring provinces of Quebec or nearby Newfoundland.  Has anyone heard about the herds in those areas? I saw a post about a plan to kill off wolves in an attempt to save teh caribou herd in Alberta too.  I am just a few hours drive from Quebec so I’ll be looking forward to additional updates as this situation unfolds. I’m hoping that the measures will allow the herd to re-grow to some of their former numbers and double that again.  I don’t think that hunting would be the cause of that significant a decline in population, but as sportsman we need to help ensure that we don’t contribute to wiping out a viable breeding population of any game we hunt. More research and a better understanding of the cause for the population decline is needed so that the herds can be more effectively first preserved.   

Thanks for sharing the article and information.  Please continue to keep us up to date.  Mike 

hunter25's picture

I don't know much about

I don't know much about caribou as I have never had the opportunity to hunt them but I always thought that this was one of the best areas to fill a tag due to the large number of animals in that area. I guess that nothing lasts forever but it's good to see that they are acting quickly to find the best possible plan to get the herds on the road back to recovery.