Hot off the presses! Take a look at forecasts from top states and provinces for total elk populations.
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Elk Population: 20,000
Nonresidents:$298 and must be accompanied by an Alberta resident Hunter Host or licensed guide.
Southwestern Alberta has a reputation for big bulls where elk are managed to ensure that plenty of bulls live long enough to reach their full potential. A little farther north, some impressive bulls are killed each year in the Peace River area. Warmer and drier than normal conditions over most of the province brought elk through the winter in great shape. Expect good hunting prospects this season for trophy bulls and cows. Contact: srd.gov.ab.ca/fishwildlife or (780) 944-0313.
Elk Population: 50,000
Bull/Cow Ratios: 20/100
Nonresidents: $189 hunting license, plus $277 elk tag. Must hire a licensed guide, or in certain cases may be accompanied by a resident hunter.
Coastal British Columbia saw significant snow pack but nothing terribly out of the ordinary for wintering elk. Over the central and southern portions of the province, snowfall was normal to slightly below normal. Elk herds are burgeoning in productive habitat. Elk are especially abundant in the Kootenay region, an attractive area for trophy hunters where bull harvest is limited to animals carrying at least six tines on at least one antler. Many trophy areas in British Columbia offer rifle hunting during the rut, an option that has become increasingly rare in North America, with a few notable exceptions. Contact: env.gov.bc.ca/fw or (250) 387-9771.
Elk Population: 15,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 20/100
Nonresidents: No nonresident tags available.
Saskatchewan’s elk fared well last winter. Snow pack across the province was variable but didn’t adversely affect elk populations. During the winter of 2008, two elk in the Nipawin area were found dead. Both tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), the first confirmed cases of the disease in free-ranging elk in the province. However, wildlife officials have been monitoring CWD for nearly 10 years after a mule deer in the Manitou Hills tested positive. Although the disease has the potential to adversely affect elk numbers, massive die-offs aren’t likely. CWD has plagued elk in several states, including parts of Colorado, without the disastrous effects some biologists predicted when it was discovered. Elk populations remain healthy and growing across the province, with a fine hunting season predicted for this fall. Contact: environment.gov.sk.ca or (306) 787-2897.