By Ken Nowicki, Canada CorrespondentEditor Note: Good news from the Canadian north! Hunter success and trophy quality are not only up, but at all-time highs in some cases. Canadian Correspondent Ken Nowicki reports after a return visit to the Mackenzie Mountains and tells us why you want to get there sooner rather than later.
I just returned from a 30-year-anniversary trip to the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories (NWT), where I have guided and hunted for three different outfits in the past and taken four rams myself. I guess I can provide the voice of experience on hunting there, and I can tell you that the Mackenzie Mountains are still wild, the rivers there still rage, and hunting is better than ever. But you don't have to take my word for it because the recently released 2011 Mackenzie Mountain Non-Resident and Non-Resident Alien Hunter Harvest Summary Report will confirm what I'm telling you. [Editor note; you can view and download this document on our website under Web Uploads or call us and we'll fax you a copy.]
The publication lists all eight of the outfitters in the region and provides hard data on horn and antler size for animals taken and even satisfaction ratings on the overall hunting experience. Here are some highlights of the report: Hunters (including six resident hunters) purchased 251 Dall sheep tags and took 181 rams, for an overall success rate of 72 percent. The 2011 season was the 24th consecutive year where the average age of rams harvested was greater than or equal to 9.5 years. The average right horn lengths were 90.5 centimeters (35.6 inches), and hunters reported seeing more rams meeting the minimum ¾ curl than rams that did not, averaging about eight legal rams per hunt. The ram-to-ewe ratio is estimated at 91.4 to 100.
Moose tag purchases were up, with hunters buying 121 tags last season. They harvested 78 bull moose, a 64 percent overall success and the best harvest since 1991. The estimated ratio is an incredible 123.1 bulls to 100 cows, and the number of moose calves to cows is higher than the 20-year average. More hunters also bought northern mountain caribou tags (314) in 2011 than any year since reporting started in 1991. The harvest rate was also up from an average of 157 to 181, and the bull-to-cow ratio is at 35.3 to 100. There are also stats for goats, wolves, wolverines and black bears.....