Herd concerns postpone Labrador caribou season

Herd concerns postpone Labrador caribou season
Herd concerns postpone Labrador caribou season
The caribou hunting season in Labrador is indefinitely postponed due to concerns about the "stability" of the caribou herd. That decision was made just a few days ago by the Newfoundland/Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

The hunting season was scheduled to open Aug. 10, but a huge decline in the population brought about the decision to postpone it.

In July 2010, a census was taken on the George River caribou herd. The number of animals was estimated at 74,000 animals -- which might sound like a big number, but that's an 81 percent drop compared to 2001's 385,000 animals, let alone the all-time high of about 800,000.

Not only that, the DEC reported that ongoing research and monitoring since the 2010 census "suggest that a further population decline is occurring, despite major restrictions on harvesting that were implemented last fall." That limited hunt was strictly monitored, and if hunting is allowed this year it will be treated the same way.

The provincial government has stopped short of saying this season will be closed, in part because most hunters get their caribou in the winter. But right now, it doesn't look good.


The cause of the current decline hasn't been defined, but caribou herds go through periodic crashes that appear to start with one factor, like a fire or disease. The George River herd crashed about 100 years ago, and stayed small for decades.


It can also be related to habitat decline, as is the case with caribou in Alberta's oilsands region. That population has been declining for decades, and studies point to industrial development and fire being behind the "disturbance" of 75 percent of that herd's caribou range.

In its 2011 budget, Labrador allocated $1 million for implementation of a three-year Labrador Caribou Management Initiative, which the province hopes will result in answers. The Labrador Caribou Management Initiative...will assist us in achieving a sustainable future for this herd," said the Hon. Ross Wiseman, minister of Environment and Conservation.

"The conservation and protection of the George River caribou herd, as well as all wildlife and habitat in the province, remains a priority for our government, and we will delay the opening of the hunting season while we review the valuable input from stakeholders regarding the future management of the herd."


The caribou population in Canada is pegged at more than 2.4 million animals, but several herds are in decline. The big one is barren ground caribou, a northwestern subspecies that makes up about half the caribou in Canada. Their numbers have dropped by the mid-double-digit percent over the last 10 years or so. That's of major concern because native Canadian populations count on caribou for food, and caribou-related tourism (including hunting) brings in millions of dollars a year in tourism dollars.

Last but not least, caribou are important spiritually to native peoples.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Simms Flyweight Wader

Simms Flyweight Wader

Constructed of three different kinds of Gore-Tex fabric, the Simms Flyweight Wader is durable, breathable, and features stretch in key areas of movement and stress that happen during a day of wade fishing out on a fast flowing trout stream.

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Tackle Test 2020: Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Tackle Test 2020: Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Berkley Hit Stick & PowerBait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad

Berkley Hit Stick & PowerBait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad

The Berkley lineup for 2020 includes a new multi-species lure, the Hit Stick which is available in six different sizes ranging from 1 3/8” to 6” in length along with a variety of color patterns.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade show. ICAST

New Freshwater Soft Lures from ICAST 2020

Game & Fish Staff - July 20, 2020

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade...

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Conservation & Politics

NSSF: Modern Sporting Rifles and Today's Voter

Larry Keane - July 20, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick. ICAST

Who Won ICAST 2020 Best of Show?

Game & Fish Staff - July 17, 2020

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick.

New gear for kids and beginners from the annual fishing trade show. ICAST

New Fishing Gear for Young Anglers — ICAST 2020

Game & Fish Staff - July 16, 2020

New gear for kids and beginners from the annual fishing trade show.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier. Stories

Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Jeff Johnston - February 04, 2020

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working? Conservation & Politics

Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order

M.D. Johnson - March 30, 2020

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?

No longbeards, but entertainment aplenty with forming Texas tornado!

Texas Turkey Hunting With a Spring "Twist"

Lynn Burkhead - April 27, 2020

No longbeards, but entertainment aplenty with forming Texas tornado!

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now