Tundra wolf

Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program

Program overview

In 2018, an enhanced Wolf Harvest Incentive Area was created in the North Slave region. This area overlaps with the current wintering range of the Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou herds. Increased incentives are offered for wolves harvested in this area.

In 2019-20, payment for wolves harvested in the North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Area increased to $1,200 for each wolf. For Nunavut harvesters, this includes $900 paid by the GNWT and $300 from the Government of Nunavut.

Higher financial incentives for harvesters are more likely to help support caribou recovery.

NWT Indigenous harvesters and General Hunting Licence holders are eligible for an additional $400 if the pelt is prepared to traditional standards and an additional $350 if the pelt meets the requirement of the prime fur bonus as part of the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program.

The existing NWT-wide wolf harvest incentive program will continue to support the traditional economy elsewhere in the territory using the previous financial incentives of $200 for a skinned wolf, plus $400 for a pelt prepared to traditional standards and an additional $350 if the pelt meets the requirement for a prime fur bonus as part of the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program.

How to participate in the enhanced North Slave wolf harvest incentive program? 

Wolf harvesters going into the North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Area need to register at the patrol station at Gordon Lake or Wekweètì prior to hunting.

Hunters who successfully harvest a wolf in the Wolf Harvest Incentive Area need to bring the carcass back to a patrol station where the harvester will receive a receipt that can be cashed later at a North Slave ENR office in Yellowknife or Behchokǫ̀.

The harvester may then take the wolf carcass (skinned or unskinned) home for pelt preparation or leave it with patrol station staff who will arrange for skilled skinners to prepare the pelt and arrange scientific testing for the wolves.

Resident hunters are eligible for increased incentives for the wolf carcass only ($1,200).

Additional incentives for completing surveys

To help ENR evaluate this program, all wolf hunters, whether or not they harvested a wolf, are asked to fill out a short questionnaire at the end of their trip. The questionnaire will be available at ENR patrol stations. It will ask questions like:

  • How many wolves, wolverines or caribou did you see?
  • How far did you travel?
  • How did weather affect your trip?

Return your completed questionnaire to a patrol station for a $50 gas card. ENR staff will follow up with harvesters who do not complete a questionnaire.

How much have harvesters been paid under the program?

While payments increased in 2019/20 (from $900 to $1,200 per wolf) and Nunavut hunters were able to take part in the program for the first time, the number of harvesters in 2019/20 was lower than expected and fewer wolves were harvested.

This was partly due to challenges accessing wolves in the North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Area, as most caribou and wolf populations were located far from the winter roads in 2019/20.

Results of the Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program are below:


  • Number of harvesters: 31
  • Number of wolves: 56
  • Total payments: $50,400


  • Number of harvesters: 17
  • Number of wolves: 53
  • Total payments: $58,400

What happens to the wolf carcasses collected through the program? 

Skinned wolf carcasses are studied by ENR to determine the nutritional condition, age distribution and diet of harvested migratory wolves.

ENR also reaches out to high schools and Aurora College to provide educational opportunities to students, where possible, throughout the sampling and analysis process.

What happens to the pelts?

Pelts from harvested wolves will either be prepared to traditional or taxidermy standards, and sold at fur auctions, where possible.

Harvesters opting to keep their pelts and prepare them to traditional or taxidermy standards may submit them for auction by bringing them to their local ENR office or choose to sell them privately.

How does the GNWT manage potential illegal caribou hunting and harassment during the harvesting of wolves?

The North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentives Area overlaps with the Mobile Core Bathurst Caribou Management Zone (Mobile Zone). It is illegal to hunt caribou inside the Mobile Zone.

It is also illegal to unnecessarily chase, fatigue, disturb, torment or otherwise harass wildlife, including caribou, under the NWT Wildlife Act.

Hunters are required to understand and respect the law regarding caribou harvest and harassment, and ensure they are not hunting caribou in the Mobile Zone. The location of the Mobile Zone is updated weekly, and can be viewed here.

The GNWT is committed to preventing the illegal harvest or harassment of caribou.

ENR officers are increasing educational efforts with harvesters at patrol stations and will also be increasing the frequency of aerial and ground enforcement patrols to minimize the risk of illegal caribou hunting or harassment in the Mobile Zone.

Documented cases of illegally harvesting or harassing caribou will be prosecuted, as per the NWT's Wildlife Act.

For more information

Environment and Natural Resources

North Slave Regional Office