Crisis Over Central Barren Ground Caribou


Published: February - 2007

In our November 2006 issue, we reported that the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Department of the Northwest Territories in Canada had determined that the Bathurst herd of central Canadian barren ground caribou was not only in decline but unable to sustain itself and that a possible cut in hunting permits was in the cards for 2007. Well, the ENR has now proposed that outfitter permits be slashed from a total of 1,243 to 750 permits for 2007 and to 350 permits for 2008.

At this writing, the proposal is in review before the regional Renewable Resources Board. A public hearing on the matter has been tentatively scheduled late this month or in early March to allow the general public to weigh in on the issue before a final decision is made this spring. The proposal to cut permits was announced last month, just before hunting shows around the country kicked off and as many caribou outfitters were traveling to them. We're indebted to outfitter John Andre of Courageous Lake Caribou Camps for telling us about the proposal before getting on the road to a hunting show himself. We immediately issued an E-mail Extra Bulletin informing subscribers who may be eyeing a caribou hunt in NWT this year or next that permits may suddenly become scarce.

So, what should you do if you are a would-be central Canadian barren ground caribou hunter? First of all, if you are already booked to hunt in 2007 or 2008, contact your outfitter and ask how he (or she) will handle the possible cut in permit numbers. Right now, it is not clear whether the permits made available will be allocated equally among all operators or by percentage corresponding with past use. Some outfitters plan to limit clients to only one caribou permit each, as opposed to the traditional two permits provided. Others clearly may have to cancel or postpone some clients. One bit of good news on that front is, the Northwest Territories Travel and Tourism Act stipulates that hunters can receive a reimbursement of deposits to outfitters who fail to provide services.........(continued)

 
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