MORGAN MODJESKI, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
A recently announced wolf hunt in several of Saskatchewan’s wildlife management zones aimed at decreasing the predation of livestock has upset some First Nations leaders.
The hunt, announced on Oct. 12, will run until March 31, 2017 and will be permitted in nine wildlife management zones in central Saskatchewan. An unlimited number of licenses for the hunt will be distributed, but hunters must be Saskatchewan residents in order to partake.
In a news release, Kim Beaudin, president of the Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan (CIPS), said the organization feels the hunt is a “blunt approach to a complex issue,” adding that based on his understanding, consultations about the hunt with indigenous organizations have been lacking.
Beaudin said because the wolf has spiritual importance in First Nations communities across Canada, more consultation should have taken place, adding he’s heard concerns from at least one board member in the Prince Albert area.
“The wolf is a very strong leader,” he said Monday, adding he feels the province has ignored its duty to consult with indigenous populations.
The CIPS wants to see “the province being proactive and supporting efforts to protect and restore wolves,” the release stated.
A Saskatoon StarPhoenix request for an interview with a representative from the Ministry of Environment about the CIPS’s concerns was not accommodated by deadline.
An Oct. 12 release from the ministry said the hunt will help reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock along the provincial forest fringe.
“Livestock predation by wolves is an ongoing problem for producers in areas near the provincial forest,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said in the release.
“Allowing a hunting season in these areas will remove some wolves and cause others to be more wary of moving into open areas where livestock are present.”
The release noted hunters are required to report their hunt results within 14 days of the end of the season. Those who do not comply with these conditions will be unable to buy licences until the information is reported.
Licences for the wolf hunt cannot be purchased online, but must be picked up at ministry offices around the province, including Meadow Lake, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina, according to the Ministry of Environment.
In the release, the ministry reminded hunters that wolves are a big game species and regulations around clothing requirements, gun type and baiting are all in effect.