Barren-ground caribou calving grounds location

This map shows the movements of barren-ground caribou collared during a survey earlier this year. (GNWT ENR)

"Resident hunters" in the Northwest Territories will be able to harvest one bull from the Beverly and Ahiak barren-ground caribou herds and the Slave River Lowlands bison herd, the government has announced.

The news was announced at a press conference this morning, where N.W.T. environment officials released the results of the latest wildlife surveys.

In the Northwest Territories, non-aboriginal hunters must meet a two-year residency requirement in order to apply for a resident hunter's licence. 

Resident hunters will also be able to buy one tag to harvest a bison from the hybrid/plains bison population in the Slave River Lowlands Wildlife Management Unit. That population was estimated to include 1,700 in 2009 and is considered to be stable. However, some bison in that population are infected with tuberculosis and brucellosis.

No hunting of bison in the Mackenzie wood bison range will be permitted for the 2013-2014 hunting season. This follows large losses of bison to anthrax in 2012.

Harvest restrictions on the Bathurst caribou herd from 2010 remain in effect. A new survey is expected to be completed on that population in 2015.

Bluenose East hunts still closed to resident hunters

Meanwhile, the Bluenose East caribou herd will remain closed to resident hunters. 

Survey results released today found the the herd has dropped significantly to about 68,000 earlier this year, from just over 100,000 in 2010.

The same survey found a drop in the number of breeding females to about 34,500 in 2013, from about 51,800 in 2010.

Aboriginal hunters, who are allowed to hunt from the herd, are being encouraged “to harvest bulls only and to take only what they need to help the recovery of the breeding females,” said Michael Miltenberger, N.W.T.’s minister of Environment and Natural Resources, in a news release.