The George River caribou hunting season in Labrador is scheduled to close half an hour following sunset today (Tuesday, March 20). The closure applies to all areas for which an open season was declared during the 2011-12 big game hunting season.
“We are committed to our ongoing research and monitoring efforts to assess the cause and current rate of the decline that is still occurring within the George River caribou herd,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Environment and Conservation. “Over the next few months, our government will undertake consultations with Aboriginal groups, the Government of Quebec, and other relevant stakeholders regarding future conservation measures, including the possible establishment of a Total Allowable Harvest for George River caribou for the 2012-13 season.”
Prior to the start of the 2011-12 caribou hunting season in Labrador, population estimates indicated the herd was approximately 50,000 animals. As a result, a number of new harvest management measures were implemented in December 2011 for the 2011-12 hunting season. The overall length of the hunting season for resident licence holders was reduced from eight months to three months; licence sales were restricted to Provincial Government offices only to allow for more efficient monitoring of sales; the fee for a Labrador caribou general licence was reduced from $27 to $13.50 to reflect the change in the bag limit which was reduced from two to one caribou; and, a herd health monitoring program was implemented, requesting all harvesters to collect biological samples from each caribou taken.
Minister French also noted that hunters who participated in this year’s Labrador caribou hunt and provided biological samples to the wildlife division office in Labrador are to be commended for their efforts.
“The information collected from the biological samples returned to our office for analysis are extremely important for helping us monitor the health of the George River herd,” said Minister French. “Conservation is a collective effort of all stakeholders, and the number of returns of these samples certainly speaks to the effort put forth by hunters in the region.”
Hunters who provided biological samples will have their names placed in a draw for prizes. The draw will occur in April 2012. As well, all caribou hunters are reminded to submit their completed licence return and unused tags within seven days of the close of the season.