Yukon Bison Hunt Expanded

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Environment Minister Dennis Fentie announced that the annual Yukon bison hunt will provide more harvesting opportunities by expanding the hunting area, lengthening the season and increasing the number of permits.

"The government has approved significant changes as recommended by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and endorsed by the wood bison technical team. Our current estimate is a minimum of 700 wood bison. We have calculated that the herd grows at a rate of approximately 15 to 20 per cent per year," Fentie said.

Changes to the hunting regulations will help control population growth, increase hunting opportunities and create a favourable gender ratio. Changes include the following highlights:

  • • Almost all hunting sub-zones from the Haines Junction area, east to Teslin and then north to Stewart Crossing, will be open to bison hunting;
  • • Each of the two bison permit hunt seasons will be extended by one month;
  • • Hunters, who take a cow rather than a bull, will now be able to apply for a bison permit the next license year, rather than waiting five years. However, these hunters will only be eligible to receive a permit if there are permits left over after the lottery; and
  • • The department has the authority to issue up to a maximum of 1,000 permits in a season, rather than 250; yet, it does not mean 1,000 permits will be issued each year. The change will give wildlife managers the administrative ability to determine and set harvest limits each year.

"We hope hunters will take advantage of these changes to the bison hunt regulations. In return for the reward of a successful hunt, hunters will also play a crucial role in helping to keep the bison population at an ideal level," Fentie added.

Overall, more hunting permits will be issued this year with a total of 281, up from 244. Licensed hunters will be able to apply for 155 permits this year, up from 132 issued last year. More permits will also be issued by and to the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, area outfitters, the Department of Education and the Yukon Fish and Game Association.

Environment Yukon will begin offering the bison permit hunt applications on Monday, June 18 with a submission deadline of 4 p.m. on Friday, July 20.