From Cranbrook to Corner Brook, there’s good news for hunters in every province and territory. Across Canada, the most popular animals with big-game hunters are deer, elk, moose and caribou. While deer and elk populations are mostly doing well nationally, moose and caribou are facing challenges. The outlook is also spotty for less common big game, such as pronghorn antelopes and mountain goats and sheep. So reveals our annual game forecast, based on interviews with provincial and territorial wildlife managers.
The major challenge for our favourite animals is winter, when food can be in short supply and of poor quality. Then there’s the threat of deep snow, extreme cold or a late spring, all of which can take a toll on both young-of-the-year and breeding-age animals. The legacy of a really severe winter can be far reaching, too, often requiring several years of relatively benign winters for game populations to recover. That situation can be seen in 2018’s hunting prospects in several jurisdictions. Still, black bears, for example, are relatively abundant almost everywhere in this big country, as are coyotes and wolves.