Quebec Takes Steps to Protect George River Caribou Herd

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Mr. Serge Simard, Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, has announced a series of precautionary measures that he intends to implement for the George River migratory caribou herd during the forthcoming hunting season.

The survey performed in the summer of 2010 confirmed that the herd now comprises only 74,000 animals, and that its numbers are declining. "If we are to manage the species responsibly, the current situation demands that some decisions be made and concrete steps taken," said Minister Simard.

The following measures will therefore be applied to the George River herd for the 2011-2012 hunting season:

  • A 50% reduction in the number of permits sold by outfitters (using 2009 as the reference year).
  • Subdivision, along the 67th Meridian, of Zone 23 into a Western section and an Eastern section, so that the George River and Leaf River herds can be managed separately.
  • Closure of sport hunting in the Southern section of Zone 23.
  • Limitation of sport hunting in Zone 24 to the activities of the zone's existing outfitters only.
  • Reduction of the current hunting period (August 1 to October 31) to a period covering August 15 to October 2, 2011 in the Eastern section of Zone 23.
  • Closure of sport hunting in 2012-2013 in the Eastern section of Zone 23 and in Zone 24, subject to the biological information collected in 2011-2012.

Leaf River herd

In the case of the Leaf River herd, Mr. Simard said the hunting periods announced in the press release of February 25, 2011, will be adjusted for operational reasons in order to facilitate the transportation and reception of hunters and to offer a better access to hunting activities. In Zones 22A and 22B, the period will cover November 15, 2011, to January 15, 2012. In the Western section of Zone 23, the period will cover August 15, 2011, to October 2 2011.

"The migratory caribou herds in Northern Québec will not be able to grow without the collaboration of everyone concerned," said Minister Simard. "The survival of the species, which is of importance to the entire population of Québec, can only be ensured by combining our efforts and implementing measures that have a significant impact on sport hunting harvests. All these measures will be reviewed in 2012-2013, in light of biological and harvest-related data."

The decisions that have been made were based on the need to achieve a balance between the survival of the resource, the Aboriginal lifestyle, and the expectations of hunters and the outfitting industry.


groovy mike's picture

Let's hope for the best for these herds

I am glad to see that the Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, has announced measures to protect the remains of the declining Canadian caribou herds. 

I’m going to start looking at moose hunting options in the eastern Canadian provinces over the next few years.  As long as I’m looking, I’ll be checking out the black bear and caribou hunting options too. 

It would be a shame to see the herd decline to a point where sport hunting would not be possible or unthinkably that the Quebec herds' survival might even become endangered.

I’m hoping too that Minister Simard’s measures will allow the herd to re-grow to some of their former glory and numbers well over a hundred thousand or even 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.  I agree that 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, then managed for optimum sport hunting as well as whatever other considerations come into play including subsistance hunting and tribal needs.  Let's hope for the best for these herds.

hunter25's picture

If the herd has really

If the herd has really declined as much as the research Jaybe found is true then I think they need to look at other reasons besides hunting as to why this is happening. Unless they have far over hunted them which is highly unlikely, there are far bigger problems to figure out.

It did also mention the aboriginal lifestyle also, so I have no idea how many they will kill but a guy on another site last year stated he had legally killed over 20 himself some of which he sold for profit.

 I would like more information though as a lot of these news articles don't give us the whole story.


jaybe's picture

Wow - the estimates for this

Wow - the estimates for this herd seem to be on a serious decline. I was checking on some other websites and one showed that there were 385,000 in 2001, meaning that the present number of 74,000 is a tremendous decrease in size.

It sounds like a good idea to restrict the number of tags in some areas and halt all hunting of this herd in others, but I wonder why they waited until the animals' numbers got this low from what they had been running for quite a long time.

Here's hoping that these measures will allow the herd to repopulate to a more appropriate size.