Saskatchewan hunters with a big game license will now also be able to kill wolves, according to new measures brought forth by the provincial government.
These new wildlife laws come after traditional control methods have failed to deter wolves from slaying livestock in certain areas of the province. In the past year and a half, approximately 30 cows and more than 300 calves have been killed by wolves.
Wolves will now be considered a “big game” species for hunters in specific areas of the province. For now, the first area is the Weekes region, a rural municipality of Porcupine located 320-kilometers east of Saskatoon, which has reported high livestock losses. Still, it’s important to note that this change does not mean there will be a regular wolf hunting season.
“The ministry will focus on areas where we know we have problems, and we will continue to explore other opportunities as more information becomes available,” Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said in a news release.
Government officials will analyze the Weekes project and evaluate the effectiveness of using hunting to control wolves in specific areas. Depending on the pilot project’s results, the wolf-hunting area could be expanded to other targeted areas across the province.
Trappers will continue to be able to trap the animals, as wolves will keep its “fur bearer” status in addition to the new “big game” designation. Hunters will also be allowed to sell wolf pelts.
Meanwhile, the new wildlife law also allows landowners to shoot ravens without a permit. Ravens are known to injure or even kill newborn livestock.
Darrell Crabbe, the executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, told Global News, “We recognize that effective wildlife management requires science-based, active management on both game and predator species to provide additional licensed opportunities for hunters to harvest animals whose numbers are creating serious wildlife and livestock issues.”