Implement Elk LEH opportunity on private land

Regulation Number: 
2020-05-06
Status: 
Decided
Region: 
Region 5 - Cariboo
MU: 
5-2
Regulation Type: 
Limited Entry Hunting
Species: 
Elk
Closing Date: 
January 19, 2020 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

This regulation was approved as proposed and is included in the 2020-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.

Current Regulations: 

There is currently no licenced hunting opportunity for Elk in the Cariboo Region

Proposed Regulations: 

Area

M.U.

Zone

Season Dates

Class

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Nov 15-Dec 14

Antlerless

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Dec 15-Jan 14/20

Antlerless

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Jan 15-Feb 14/20

Antlerless

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Nov 15-Dec 14

Bull

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Dec 15-Jan 14/20

Bull

Cariboo

5-02*

D

Jan 15-Feb 14/20

Bull

* Restricted to PRIVATE LAND ONLY within portions of M.U. 5-02

Rationale: 

In the Cariboo Region, elk have been managed conservatively as a recovering species with no licensed harvest opportunity available.  There are indications that elk in areas of the Cariboo region are increasing in numbers, especially in portions of Wildlife Management Unit 5-2. First Nations and stakeholder groups in the Cariboo Region have expressed an interest in developing hunting opportunities for elk. A private land LEH season established in areas of high elk concentration provides increased hunting opportunities. A conservative winter private land LEH focused season could also mitigate issues of crop depredation and property damage from elk in “conflict” agricultural areas of 5-02 D and may encourage elk dispersal from these areas. 

Any elk harvest that would occur would be managed conservatively through LEH with seasons ranging between November 15th to February 14th, an antlerless harvest rate between 0-2% for antlerless elk season, and a harvest rate between 0-5% for antlered season. These harvest rates are applied elsewhere in the province when the objective is to maintain stable to increasing elk populations.

Elk are difficult to reliably census in the heavily forested habitats in the northern Cariboo region. To better understand elk population dynamics in three major study areas (Quesnel River, Cottonwood River and Narcosli Creek), a radio-collaring study was initiated in 2014.  Subsequent monitoring aimed to determine recruitment success, survival of collared cows, and obtain a more reliable population estimate.  Elk survey results in 2015 and 2016 determined a survey estimate of 180 total animals across the Quesnel River, Cottonwood River and Narcosli Creek study areas.  Incorporating anecdotal and regional wildlife biologist input, a revised/corrected elk population estimate for these three areas was determined to be between 300 to 360 animals. As radio-collaring data suggests there is minimal movement of individuals between the 3 areas these elk groups are considered distinct population management units, with an estimated 100-125 animals in the Quesnel River area, 100-125 animals in the Cottonwood area, and 50 animals in the Narcosli area. Both the Quesnel River and Cottonwood areas fall within MU 5-02, while Narcosli falls within MU 5-14. Additional surveys were conducted in the spring of 2018 and 2019. These spring total count surveys were timed to coincide with early green up and were focused on areas where pooled radio-collar GPS data showed elk concentrations in late April and early May. These total count surveys indicate that the elk population is stable to increasing with a minimum total count of 163 elk observed in 2018, and 176 elk in the 2019 spring survey.

Additional Information: