When Environment Minister Elaine Taylor gunned down two proposals to help preserve sheep on Pilot Mountain, it was but one of many decisions made by her during an annual review of proposals to change wildlife regulations.
In all, she accepted two-thirds of the recommendations made by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
In the place of a two-year hunting ban of the Pilot Mountain sheep, she opted for restricting the hunt with permits. And instead of banning ATV use in the alpine area of the mountain, she decided to further study the already well-documented problem of the vehicles scarring the hillside.
Beyond sheep, she approved the shooting of many more deer this year. She put on ice a plan to require fishers to throw back whoppers. And she agreed to give herself more power, conveniently enough.
Here are the other proposals and Taylor’s response:
* Rejected: Outfitter Bernard Stehelin’s proposal to require the catch and release of big lake fish. The plan would have removed the upper slot limits of lake trout over 65 centimetres, northern pike over 75 centimetres and Arctic grayling over 40 centimetres for all waters.
Stehelin fears that removing the biggest fish from waters may result in later generations dwindling in size.
The wildlife board recommended the proposal be set aside until local research is done into the matter. Taylor agreed.
* Accepted: The merging of permit hunt dates for Finlayson caribou. All permits now open on August 1 and close on September 24.
The board recommended the change to ensure animals are not wasted because meat is unpalatable during the rut. Taylor agreed.
*Â Rejected: Introduce a permit hunt for the South Nahanni caribou herd.
The board recommended the proposal be set aside until a census is conducted this autumn, a management plan is prepared, and First Nations are consulted. Taylor agreed.
* Rejected: Remove the permit requirement for hunting Dall sheep in the Richardson Mountains. The fish and game association wants an open season for hunting. The board wants a management plan to be completed first. Taylor agreed.
* Accepted: An increase in the number of deer permits released annually, to 50 from 10. The proposal was made by the Environment Department and approved by the board and Taylor.
* Accepted: Allow the Environment minister to set elk hunt seasons, permit numbers and subzones. The proposal was made by the Environment Department and approved by the board and Taylor.
* Rejected: Subdivide two game management subzones along the Natasin, or Nisutlin, River.
Current boundaries follow rivers or valleys. This made sense for regulating the hunting of mountain sheep, but not for moose, which are usually found on low land.
The board found this proposal, made by the Teslin Renewable Resource Council and Teslin Tlingit Council, to be “common sense.”
But Taylor disagreed and rejected the plan so her department could suss out the First Nation’s management plans in greater detail.
* Rejected: Allow nonresidents to hunt sheep with a special guide licence. The board opposed the plan after receiving largely negative public comments. Taylor agreed.
*Â Rejected: Allow nonresidents to hunt wood bison with a special guide licence.
Although considered to be “threatened” by the federal government, Yukon’s reintroduced wood bison population now numbers 1,100, more than twice the intended population size.
But the board opposed further opening up the hunt until a better harvest plan is developed. Taylor agreed.
*Â Accepted: Allow the minister to limit the number of special guide licences available to nonresidents. The board approved the plan, made by the Environment Department, provided that these powers be used to address conservation interests and that the board be consulted. Taylor agreed.
*Â Accepted: Add two deer permits for youth. The board recommended the plan and Taylor accepted.
* Rejected: Allow youth to be issued big game seals. The board feels adult hunters would have greater vested interest in supervising responsible hunting by youth if their own tags are being used. Taylor agreed.
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