REGINA – Changes to wildlife laws in Saskatchewan will make it easier for landowners to deal with ravens and wolves.
Officials from the Ministry of Environment said wolves are causing problems for livestock owners in certain parts of the province and the government is designating them as a big game species to allow hunters to target problem animals in those areas.
The change will not create a general wolf hunting season but will instead focus on areas that meet established criteria and will only be considered after traditional control methods have failed.
The first area named for the wolf hunt pilot project is the Weekes area within wildlife management zone 49 due to high livestock losses and documentation by Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation.
“The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) supports these amendments,” said Darrell Crabbe, executive director of the SWF.
“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.”
Government officials said giving wolves big game designation will allow them to test the effectiveness of using licences to control wolves in localized areas.
Trappers will still be able to trap wolves as the change will give wolf a dual designation as a big game animal and fur bearer. Hunters will be able to sell the pelt of any wolves harvested under their hunting licence.
A second change will allow landowners to shoot ravens without a permit.
Cattle and grain producers have raised concerns after ravens have killed or injured newborn livestock or damaged grain bags after re-colonizing agriculture parts of the province in recent years.
Other changes to wildlife laws will relax dress regulations for hunters, enable Canadian resident white-tail deer hunters to use the services of a Saskatchewan outfitter and harmonize rules for using ATVs for hunting.