2012 hunting forecast: Saskatchewan
Deer: With some pockets of lower densities, whitetail populations are decent across much of farmland Saskatchewan. Forest deer numbers are just beginning to recover after significant winter mortality in recent years. For most wildlife management zones, one either-sex licence will be available for residents. Opportunities for antlerless white-tailed deer licences will be limited to WMZs 47, 54 and 55, and all urban zones. The best hunting opportunities this fall will be in the northwest corner of the province. The popular mule deer areas include much of southwest Saskatchewan. Additional either-sex archery mule deer seasons are in place for a number of zones.
Moose: Moose hunting opportunities in farmland regions continue to increase. New quotas will be offered in a number of southern wildlife management zones, including 17, 28, 32, 36, 38, 41 and 42. There will also be both either-sex and antlerless seasons in many areas. There are many farmland moose zones that have very high success rates, with several areas exceeding 90 per cent. Moose numbers in the forest zones are also healthy. Overall, hunters can expect good to excellent opportunities in both the regular and draw seasons.
Elk: Elk populations are also growing across Saskatchewan’s farmland. These increasing populations are providing more opportunities for resident hunters. This year, nine more zones are being opened for limited either-sex draw licences in WMZs 1, 13, 14, 21, 22, 31, 34, 35 and 41. Moose Mountain Provincial Park will again be a top choice in the big-game draw for elk hunters, especially if they’re interested in a non-trophy animal, managers say.
Bears: Bear populations appear to be stable, and hunting pressure on this species is moderate. Expect a quality hunting experience for bears across the southern edge of the provincial forest.
Upland birds: There’s evidence to suggest upland bird populations have been declining, and this trend corresponds with changes in habitat. Increased moisture across the province could also have a negative impact on upland opportunities this year. That said, you can find birds in the forest and parkland areas.
Waterfowl: Duck and goose populations are expected to be similar to or higher than last season. High precipitation rates over much of the province have resulted in prime wetland conditions with high prospects for an excellent breeding season. Strong duck numbers are expected thanks to good water levels across the province.