The central prairie province of Saskatchewan is about to begin a temporary wolf hunt, starting Monday.
Last winter was long and harsh and took its toll on wildlife. For wolves, a traditional prey, the whitetail deer, suffered greatly and the populations have crashed.
Wolves have sought new prey, and migrated from the forest into central Saskatchewan farmland where livestock is easy prey.
Don Gordon of the Saskatchewan Trappers Association said the neighbouring province of Manitoba began its own wolf cull to deal with a falling moose population. He says this pushed more wolves into Saskatchewan.
The province is issuing 100 licences to hunters allowing them two wolf kills each until the programme ends in March next year. The cull will take place along the forest fringe in east central Saskatchewan.
Mike Gollop of the Saskatchewn Environment Ministry, says it’s likely few wolves will be killed. He’s quoted in the Saskatchewan Leader-Post newspaper saying, “We want to see if there is any impact on the predation in this particular area. It’s the first crack at this, so we don’t know the numbers we’re working with.”
Open to Saskatchwan residents only, it’s the first time the province will issue wolf licences to those who are not licenced trappers. They will also be allowed to sell the pelts. Quality pelts are worth between $200-$300 each.
The province estimates the wolf population at between 3,000 and 4,000 animals.
Don Gordon says taking a few wolves out of specific area should not have an effect upon the food chain.