Possible Changes For Caribou Hunting In Quebec And Labrador


Published: October - 2010

As we write this in late September, the 2010 hunts for caribou in Quebec are winding down. As far as we can tell, it's been pretty much business-as-usual for Quebec's caribou outfitters this season, though there's clearly been a decline in the number of outfitters offering caribou hunts and an equally steep decline in the number of hunters heading north since the heyday of caribou hunting a decade or more ago (more on this in a moment). Outfitters hunting the George River herd are reporting good numbers if not top quality trophies. Outfitters hunting the Leaf River herd had some trouble early on with a delayed migration, but seem to have been getting animals with good antler growth as the season progressed. If you want to see where the caribou have been recently, go to http://www.mrn.gouv.qc.ca/english/wildlife/maps-caribou/maps.jsp for downloadable maps of the recent position of collared animals within the herds.

It's definitely NOT been business-as-usual across the border in Labrador. As E-mail Extra subscribers are already aware, all caribou hunting in Labrador has been suspended pending the final outcome of a 2010 census of the George River herd.

While the actual census results were very tightly controlled at this writing, we've heard from a source we trust that, based on the 2010 census, the maximum estimated population for the George River herd is 100,000 animals. We've also heard a low figure of possibly only 45,000 animals. But we have it on good authority that the final number will come in between 75,000 and 100,000 animals. A Quebec newspaper has reported the 75,000 number. We must stress that these are not official census results, just the figures we've been able to pry through locked doors. But, especially given Labrador's reaction, we have every reason to believe these figures are accurate.

A little background is in order here. It's long been known that the George River herd has been in decline since an estimated high of 800,000 or more animals in 1993. By 2001 the estimate was down to under 400,000. This is not unexpected. Caribou, like........(continued)

 
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