As we told Email Extra subscribers in a bulletin issued on May 1, the wait for an "official" ruling is over. According to a press release issued on Friday, April 26 by Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks Yves-François Blanchet, Quebec has set its caribou rules for the next two years.
In a nutshell, the press release announced that the two-caribou-per-hunter limit will remain in place for the 2013/14 season, but for 2014/15, the limit will be reduced to only one caribou per hunter. In Zone 23 West, which is the zone hunted by outfitters based in Kuujjuaq and Lac Pau, and therefore of most interest to trophy hunters targeting the Leaf River herd, the season will begin on August 17 and end on October 7, in both 2013 and 2014. A total of 804 two-caribou licenses will be available through outfitters for the 2013 season. "In light of new biological analyses, including those conducted in 2012, the [Leaf River] herd appears to be fairly stable," states the press release.
The two-caribou limit will also remain in place for 2013/14 for the winter meat-hunts in Zone 22A (where 500 permits are issued to Quebec residents by lottery), and Zone 22B (where 1,722 licenses are available through outfitters). The 2013/14 and 14/15 season in these zones is December 1 - January 30, long after most trophy animals have shed their antlers.
Starting in August, 2014, all hunters will be allowed only one caribou in any open caribou zones.
All hunting for the George River herd remains closed. The press release states: "Biological data collected in 2012 indicate that the [George River] herd has continued to decrease and now appears to number roughly 25,000 animals, compared with 74,000 in 2010. This situation leads the Ministry to maintain the closure of sport hunting over the next two years in zones 23 East,........(continued)