Ravens, wolves under new rules

Regulatory amendments will change how farmers and landowners can deal with problem ravens and wolves in Saskatchewan.

The amendments mean landowners would no longer need a permit to deal with ravens. Currently, they need permits to kill the birds, which might be damaging grain bags or harming or killing newborn livestock.

Farmers have been complaining about the increasing numbers of the birds, and resolutions at Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities conventions have requested that something be done.

Wolves will be designated as a big game species in certain areas, allowing hunters to target them in places where livestock predation is a problem.

Environment minister Ken Cheveldayoff said the area around Weekes, in wildlife management Zone 49, has been identified for a wolf hunt pilot project, based on high numbers of livestock losses and documentation by Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp., which administers the big game damage compensation program.

“The ministry will focus on areas where we know we have problems, and we will continue to explore other opportunities as more information becomes available,” Cheveldayoff said.

The amendment doesn’t create a general wolf hunting season, and a hunt would happen only where traditional control by trapping hasn’t worked, according to the ministry.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation supports the amendments.

“We recognize that effective wildlife management requires science-based, active management on both game and predator species to provide additional licensed opportunities for hunters to harvest animals whose numbers are creating serious wildlife and livestock issues,” executive director Darrell Crabbe said in a news release.

Trappers will still be able to trap wolves; the predators will have dual designation as big game and fur bearer, similar to black bears. Hunters who take a wolf using a big game license will also be able to sell the pelt.

Other proposed amendments will relax the dress regulations for hunters to allow hunting vests, allow all-day use of all-terrain vehicles instead of afternoons only and allow Canadian resident white-tailed deer hunters to use an outfitter.

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