Saskatchewan Hunters Get Another Chance at Elk

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Saskatchewan Environment is asking hunters to help reduce the number of elk in the Cypress Hills.

There will be two special elk management hunts in the Cypress Hills and the immediate area from January 15 to 27, 2007 and from February 12 to 24, 2007. Management hunts are a tool that Saskatchewan Environment often uses to reduce the number of animals in an area.

There will be 100 antlerless elk management licences available for each of the two hunts in the Cypress Hills area in what is called Wildlife Management Zone 6 and in part of Zone 7. An antlerless elk is a cow or the young of the year.

"We currently have 775 adult elk in and around the Centre Block of Cypress Hills," Saskatchewan Environment's Manger of Wildlife Management Shawn Burke said. "Our population objective for this area is about 300 adult animals. The animals move into the nearby farm and pasture land where they damage crops and animal forage while feeding. If their numbers continue to rise that damage will increase. Removing adult female animals is one of the most effective methods of reducing the number of animals."

The $20 elk management licences go on sale on January 2, 2007 and are available, in person only, and on a first-come-first served basis, from the Saskatchewan Environment office in Maple Creek. Effective January 17, 2007 licences that have not been sold will also be available by calling (306) 778-8205. To be eligible for an elk management licence hunters must be Saskatchewan residents and possess and produce a valid Wildlife Habitat Certificate.

The elk management hunt was developed after consultations with local landowners. As the hunt is outside of regular hunting season hunters must obtain written permission from landowners before hunting on private land. All other hunting regulations apply to the elk management hunt.

The heads of all animals taken during the hunt must be submitted for testing for chronic wasting disease.

Environment will examine the impact the elk management hunts have on the elk herd in Cypress Hills and will use that information to help determine the next steps necessary to control the number of animals.