Elk Population Management

Res #: 8-21A
Number: 8
Year: 2021
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

WHEREAS the elk population has increased over the last few years in areas of the province; and

WHEREAS landowners continue to be burdened with crop in storage bags and piles, fences, infrastructure, grazed pastures, and compensation is not provided; and

WHEREAS diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease can spread rampantly through large herds and the possibility of mutation of the disease increases which could impact cattle health; and

WHEREAS Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation compensates producers for damages for the lost crop but does not compensate for costs for obtaining and hauling replacement feed where swathed grazing areas are lost; and

WHEREAS the groups of elk are in herds of 40 or more.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Environment to increase the season for antlerless elk tags for zones with high and increasing elk populations; better manage herd populations so financial impacts to agricultural and cattle producers are reduced, overall health of the elk population is improved, and the risk of increased predator populations (ex. wolves) is reduced; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM lobby Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation to include coverage on crops in bags until at least January 31.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

April 20, 2021

Concerns listed in the resolution will be raised during the elk hunting season setting process, along with data from Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation, aerial surveys, hunter harvest surveys, cooperative wildlife management surveys, field reports from Ministry of Environment staff, and other stakeholder interests. The Ministry of Environment aims to maintain ecologically sustainable populations within suitable habitat, while minimizing human-elk conflict and providing recreational opportunity.

In response to growing populations, the ministry considerably increased elk hunting opportunities in 2019. This included a 25 per cent increase in quotas and additional antlerless hunting seasons in the parkland and grassland regions. In 2020, further increases in quotas were implemented for several wildlife management zones, including antlerless quotas. For 2021, further quota increases in specific wildlife management zones are being considered. The ministry will continue to monitor populations and increase hunting opportunities as necessary to address concerns.

The Honourable Warren Kaeding – Minister of Environment, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment