It's the time of year that many people in southeast Saskatchewan have been waiting for: the 2012 hunting season.
Ducks and geese were open season as of September 1. Archery season for white-tail deer, the draw mule deer season, and a draw elk season for Zone 32 north of Oxbow, also started on that date.
Draw moose seasons will run from October 1 to 14 and November 1 to 14. Mule deer season for muzzleloaders begins October 1, and rifle season for mule deer starts November 1.
Pheasant season starts on October 1. The rifle season for white-tail deer starts November 15.
Local conservation officer Ryan Kreinke said he expects there will be an increase in the pheasant population compared with last year. He's optimistic the numbers for other species will also be higher.
“With an easy winter, I think our white-tail population is going to be a little bit up over last year, but it's still at an all-time low in the area,” said Kreinke.
It's hard to tell where the duck and geese numbers will be, he said. The local population is relatively stable. Northern migration routes will determine how many ducks and geese will be in the area later in the fall.
Kreinke said there are a couple changes for hunting season this year. One change for trappers is positive, he said. If they're shipping their pelts out of the province for sale, they no longer have to pay a fur royalty.
Also, hunters who travel to northern Saskatchewan must place salt for hunting purposes in a leak-proof container in provincial forests, provincial parks, recreation sites and unoccupied Crown lands.
“If you're going to be hunting down here on private land, you just need permission of the land owner before placing salt or salt products,” said Kreinke. “And then it's recommended that you put them in a leak-proof container.”
There are concerns with salt quantity, he said, and whether it could pose an environmental hazard.