Hunters hoping to bag a Dall sheep from several areas west of Whitehorse will need a permit this year, Environment Minister Currie Dixon announced Tuesday.
The areas were previously open hunts, but territorial biologists have warned that few rams are left in the area due to overhunting.
The situation is most critical around Fish Lake. Under the new regulation, there will be a maximum of one sheep-hunting permit issued for that subzone.
Fifteen hunting permits will be issued at two other subzones. One encompasses Mount Arkell and Mount Ingram. The other abuts the northeast end of Kusawa Lake.
Another new regulation protects the Chisana caribou herd from hunting this year. The herd is already supposed to be protected, but several subzones near Beaver Creek had until now been “overlooked,” said Environment Yukon.
The Chisana herd’s size was estimated at 700 animals in 2010. That’s down from 1,800 animals in 1989. Captive rearing was used to stabilize the herd from 2003 to 2006.
The herd ranges in the Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary and in Alaska’s Wrangell/Saint Elias National Park, where it’s also protected from hunting.
Other rules for hunting woodland caribou have been made consistent so that only bulls can be hunted from the Bonnet Plume, Tay and Redstone caribou herds in northeast Yukon. The bag limit will be changed to one bull, with the extended winter hunt removed.
And a mistake in the hunting guidelines has been fixed. Poor phrasing inadvertently banned hunters from transporting harvested wildlife on the Old Alaska Highway, between the Alaska Highway and Silver City.
The new wildlife regulations have been a long time coming. They were first proposed in 2010. That’s nearly a year later than when these regulations were expected to be in place.
Proposals were first floated to the public in the autumn of 2010, with an aim to having the regulations approved by the spring of 2011. But governments usually move slower during an election year and 2011 was no different for the territorial bureaucracy.
Four other proposed changes were dropped on the advice of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
The most controversial would have created a no-hunting corridor along the Atlin Road.
Grizzlies frequent the area during the summer. Roadside shootings of the animals have prompted complaints from an area resident, who says the practice is a safety hazard and unsporting.
The board recommended setting aside the restriction after it was panned by hunters at a meeting. But the board wants “the public concern with respect to roadside hunting of grizzly bears” to be addressed with another draft measure to be floated this year.
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