Contributor Bob Lampert spots the resident Roosevelt elk herd lingering near Schmuck Road on Oct. 12. An influx of elk in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District has created problems for area farmers. (Black Press photo)

Forests ministry to conduct aerial elk count

Bulkley Valley-Lakes District landowners can expect low level helicopter flights first week of March

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will be conducting an elk count in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District during the first week of March.

Mark Wong, a biologist with the ministry’s fish and wildlife division, said landowners can expect to see low level helicopter flights over the area from Witset to Francois Lake starting March 2 and continuing through the week, weather permitting.

The project is designed to give the ministry a better idea of the elk population in the area to better inform policy decisions.

“As more elk have come in, we’re seeing increased conflict with landowners in terms of the elk getting into the feed and silage and hay to wrecking fences and in some cases injuring animals as well,” he said.

READ MORE: Bulkley Valley farmers welcome proposed changes to ALR

Two years ago, in an effort to mitigate the conflict, the ministry began opening limited entry hunting (LEH) seasons during the winter to help push the animals away from agricultural lands and give resident hunters an opportunity to harvest the meat.

“The proposed series of short, LEH seasons is patterned after similar regulations established for Mule Deer in the Francois Lake area in the mid-2000’s, which appear to address the bulk of the socio-agricultural issues in those areas,” the original proposal stated.

“This approach is intended to disperse the elk and reduce the damage associated with extended periods of occupation on individual farmlands; with hunting activities targeted at keeping elk on the move and to introduce human threat responses in the elk which will also keep elk moving around the landscape.”

Wong said previous counts in 2016 and 2018, which relied on landowners reporting if they saw elk on their properties on a particular day, indicated a minimum population of 200 animals.

This year’s aerial survey will attempt to get a better idea of the minimum population size and composition of the herd by covering a broader area over a longer period of time.

The survey will use two helicopters, one out of Smithers ranging from Witset to Houston, and one out of Houston ranging out to Burns Lake and Francois Lake.

Wong said the ministry’s protocol is to be the least disruptive to wildlife, livestock and people as they can be.

“We’re not going to be hovering over anybody’s homes or anything like that, but we just wanted to get the word out, so people know what we’re doing,” he said.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Wildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

Canfor extends Houston, Plateau mill closures

COVID-19 continues to dampen lumber demand

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

B.C. jails grant early release for close to 100 inmates due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read