The past winter saw below-average snowfall in south-central Yukon, with average amounts farther north. It was a relatively mild winter for the Yukon, with only a few days below -40°C. Winter ended abruptly for much of the territory when a warm system melted the snow in March, about a month earlier than usual. As this benefitted game animals, it comes as welcome news for hunters.
The Yukon’s grizzly bears are found from the B.C. border to the Arctic Ocean. They are generally more common in the south of the territory, but even there the population density is low. Resident hunters are allowed one grizzly bear every three years. Black bears are more numerous than grizzlies, and they’re concentrated in the forested habitats of the river valleys. The populations are considered stable, and the hunting regulations are generous. The coming season should be as good as any recently.
The reintroduction of wood bison in southwestern Yukon has been a spectacular success. The management objective now is to slow the growth of the population, so hunting regulations are liberal and the reward is a huge amount of prime meat.
Caribou hunters should have a good season in the Yukon. There are 26 identified mountain caribou herds, and many are in good shape and open to hunting. Several other herds can be hunted by permit only. The Porcupine herd of barren-ground caribou, meanwhile, now numbers 220,000 animals, the highest population ever recorded using modern survey techniques.
Moose are an important source of meat for Yukon residents. The good news is that moose populations are considered stable throughout most of the territory, although at lower densities than in neighbouring Alaska and B.C. Considering the huge size of Yukon bulls, most hunter harvest takes place in areas close to road access. That’s led to high hunting pressure and depressed moose numbers in the more easily accessed areas near Whitehorse, and along other major roadways; moose hunting in those areas is by permit only. Near Faro, moose are especially vulnerable, so all licensed hunters must report their kills within 72 hours. The season there closes once the target harvest is achieved.