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About the Department
Maps & GIS Data
- The Yukon elk-agriculture conflict hunt has been established to respond to farmers’ concerns about elk impacts on agricultural properties in the Takhini River valley. The expectation of implementing this hunt is to influence elk behaviour and the animals will begin to avoid the area.
- While this is an elk harvest opportunity, the goal is to “train” elk to avoid agricultural properties by using aversive conditioning, consistent with proactive steps outlined in the Management Plan for Elk in Yukon (2016).
- Hunters for this harvest opportunity are drawn from the permit hunt authorization lottery. In July 2016, the first 100 eligible hunters were contacted by letter to inform them of their position on the elk-agriculture conflict hunt list.
- The Government of Yukon is also working with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations to identify First Nation hunters to participate in this hunt.
- The elk-agriculture conflict hunt only applies to:
- Land parcels located in the "Elk Buffer Zone"
- Land Parcels where there is a legal ability to hunt (i.e. outside of city limits, consent obtained from occupants of residences within 1 km)
- Commercial agricultural properties (i.e. eligible for compensation programs as identified by the Government of Yukon’s Agriculture Branch)
- Land parcels where mitigation action is ongoing and recent. Methods include: electric fencing, securing and protecting harvested crops from elk damage, hazing techniques like sound deterrents, dogs, and silhouettes, or any other approved preventative actions identified in the management plan.
- Agricultural properties obtained with a notice regarding potential elk conflict and damages may not be eligible.
- Grazing lands or properties with non-cultivated grass are not eligible.
- Authorized hunters must obtain permission from occupants of residences within 1 kilometre of any location where elk are to be hunted. This permission must be granted even if the residence will not be occupied at the time of the hunt. Farmers can provide information about residences and assist with written permissions in advance, to facilitate a prompt hunt. An approved template is available.
- Aversive conditioning works best with larger groups of animals, so a minimum number of elk must be present for more than 24 hours before the hunt may occur. (e.g. 5 bulls or 10 cows/calves, or a mixed group of 10). Concerns related to fewer elk or individual animals may be addressed by Conservation Officers on a case-by-case basis.
- There must be a reasonable expectation that implementation of the elk-agriculture conflict hunt will influence elk behaviour and the animals will begin to avoid the area.
- Farmers must contact a Conservation Officer at 867-667-8005, or 1-800-661-0525 after hours, with details about their elk-agriculture conflict (e.g. elk locations, potential hazards, and other relevant information).
- Conservation Officers Services Branch, the Fish and Wildlife Branch, and the Agriculture Branch will coordinate and conduct an on-site investigation of the complaint to determine eligibility for a conflict hunt. All three branches will work together to write a damage summary.
- Conservation Officers will contact eligible hunters identified on the priority list, in order, issue a Wildlife Act permit, and detail the conditions the hunter must abide by to hunt an elk.
- The hunter must complete the hunt in the time frame identified by a Conservation Officer and as specified on the Wildlife Act permit.
- Farmers can assist the hunter by providing information about elk locations, residents’ permissions, potential safety hazards, elk behaviour generally, and any information to assist with the identification of key elk for harvest.
- Hunters must also comply with mandatory reporting and submission requirements.
- Hunters are required to hunt in a safe manner and make every effort to minimize property damage or injuries to elk that are not being harvested.
Assessment and review
The Government of Yukon will track harvest numbers and locations to evaluate the effectiveness of the elk-agriculture conflict hunt on an ongoing basis. The success of this approach will be determined through ongoing collaboration between all Yukon government branches involved, as well as feedback from hunters, input from First Nations, Renewable Resources Councils, the Yukon Fish and Game Association, the agriculture industry, individual farmers, and others.
The Elk-Agriculture Working Group identified in the Management Plan for Elk in Yukon (2016, page 18) will participate in this evaluation, providing advice and recommendations on the effectiveness of the elk-agriculture conflict hunt to the Deputy Minister of Environment.
Phone (Whitehorse): 867-667-8005
District Conservation Officers