Reducing Elk Damage on Winter Bale Yards

Res #: 17-22A
Number: 17
Year: 2022
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

WHEREAS Elk damage on stored feed is increasing as well as the size of elk herds damaging feed storage yards; and
WHEREAS finding additional feed and supplements is becoming increasingly difficult to replace due to damage sustained by the elk herds consuming winter feed rations.
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to increase the length of the cow elk season to include mid-September to December and allow unfilled tags to be used in January and February to hunt in feed storage yards where elk are a problem.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the provincial government shares with RM ratepayers, elk and deer populations in each wildlife zone, tags issued and filled, trend of population, and wildlife management plan for elk in that zone as well as crop insurance claims on feed storage yards.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

June 14, 2022

A variety of elk seasons are offered from September to January, with WMZ-specific dates aligning with the ministry’s best knowledge of elk population status. As mentioned in response to resolution 16-22A, the ministry has adjusted seasons and quotas across the province in response to changing elk populations.

In the RM of Pleasantdale, season dates are already extended to mid-January. While antlerless seasons do not begin in September, elk either-sex seasons begin September 15. The ministry will continue monitoring elk populations and evaluate hunting season dates each year, adjusting or maintaining season dates as necessary to achieve elk management goals.

The ministry shares wildlife population estimates and trend information, as well as licences issued and filled through the online publication of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Management Report and Hunter Harvest Survey results. The most recent information is being compiled and SARM will be notified through the Wildlife Advisory Committee when it has been posted.

The ministry is also in the process of developing a ten-year elk management plan to ensure sustainable populations in Saskatchewan. As part of the plan development, the ministry will be engaging the Wildlife Advisory Committee for their input.

In addition to the ministry’s approach to managing populations, the most effective methods to prevent bale depredation from elk or other ungulates is to take steps to manage the attractant. Best practices to achieve this objective include fencing bale yards or building permanent grain storage structures.

Landowners experiencing wildlife damage should contact the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC). Producers can be compensated by SCIC for steps taken to prevent wildlife damage to feed supplies. The ministry has noted that SARM will be lobbying SCIC for changes to their insurance policies.

Hon. Dana Skoropad – Minister of Environment