Tundra wolf

Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program

What is the enhanced North Slave wolf harvest incentive program?

An enhanced Wolf Harvest Incentive Area has been 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.

As of January 24, 2020, payment for wolves harvested in the North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Area has increased to $1,200 for each wolf. For Nunavut harvesters, this includes $900 paid by the GNWT and $300 from the Government of Nunavut. This incentive represents a significant increase in financial incentives for harvesters and is 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.  

What were the results of the 2018/19 enhanced incentive program?

There were 1,057 wolf tags sold in the North Slave Region for the 2018/19 harvest season. This is almost three times the number of wolf tags sold the year before (372 tags in 2017/18). Much of the increase in wolf tags in 2018/19 was due to hunters taking advantage of the wolf incentive program.

There were 56 wolves taken by 31 hunters as part of the enhanced incentive program. Hunters were paid $900/wolf, for a total of $50,400. Four other wolves were harvested or removed from the incentive area in 2018/19, but were not part of the program. Seven wolves were harvested outside the new harvest area.

Analysis showed that 95% of the wolves harvested from the incentive area with food in their stomach had eaten barren-ground caribou. This suggests the incentive program is effective in focusing on wolves associated with wintering barren-ground caribou.

What changes were made for the 2019/20 harvest season?

The following updates are being made to the program for 2019/20:

  • Tag and harvest fees have been waived for all licensed wolf hunters.
  • Wolf harvest incentives have been increased to $1,200, effective January 24, 2020. For Nunavut harvesters hunting within their asserted territory in the NWT, this includes $900 from the GNWT and $300 from the Government of Nunavut.
  • New survey of wolf harvesters. To help ENR evaluate this program, all wolf hunters will be asked to fill out a short survey at the end of their trip. The survey will be available at ENR patrol stations, and hunters who complete the survey will receive a $25 gift card.
  • Nunavut hunters will be able to participate in the enhanced incentive program within their asserted territory in the NWT that falls within the Wolf Harvest Incentive Area.
  • The North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Area has been updated for the 2019/20 harvest season based on the wintering location of Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou. The new map can be found above, as well as in the updated field guide for the Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program.

How can harvesters 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 will then have the option of either taking the wolf carcass (skinned or unskinned) home for pelt preparation or leaving it with patrol station staff, who will arrange for skilled skinners to prepare the pelt and for scientific testing of the wolves.

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

What happens to the wolf carcasses collected through the program? 

Skinned wolf carcasses are necropsied 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 scientific 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 that opt to keep their pelts and prepare them to traditional or taxidermy standards will be able to submit them for auction by bringing them to their local ENR office, or may 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 Wildlife Act.

Where can I get more information?

Environment and Natural Resources

North Slave Regional Office

1-867-767-9238

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