Hunting season has started in southeast Saskatchewan, as white-tail deer for archery hunters, along with ducks and geese, have been fair game since September 1.
Estevan conservation officer Ryan Krienke said a lot of local hunters have been out already, and others are eager to get started, even though a lot of crops haven't yet been harvested, and the weather wasn't necessarily conducive for hunting, with very warm temperatures in early September.
Pheasant season, which is one of the most popular seasons in the region, starts on October 1, and it will continue until December 31. White-tail deer rifle season, which is another prominent one in the region, will run from November 15 to December 7.
But populations are down this year, Krienke said. White-tail deer, mule deer and moose appear to be quite a bit lower than normal, thanks to the harsh conditions of the past winter and the late onset of spring.
“The snow staying as long as it did took its toll,” Krienke said.
Pheasants and the upland bird numbers are stable, he said. But due to concerns about upland bird populations, the Ministry of Environment has reduced limits for sharp-tailed grouse and ring-necked pheasants from three birds daily to two. Four birds are allowed for possession.
There will still be a draw moose season in four zones in southeast Saskatchewan, Krienke said. There will be 20 for antlered moose and 15 for antlerless moose in Zone 15, which is west of Estevan; 25 draws for antler moose and 15 for antlerless moose in Zone 16, which is north of Estevan.
In Zone 31, which is south and east of Estevan, there will be 10 antler moose tags and 15 antlerless tags in Zone 31; and 15 for antlers and 30 for non-antlers in Zone 32, which is north of Highway 18 and east of Highway 9.
The season for either gender of antlered moose runs from October 1 to 14. The antlerless season is October 15 to November 14.
Also new for this year is the automated hunting, angling and trapping license, which can be obtained on-line. Those who don't have access to the internet can still secure a license via the phone or by visiting the Saskatchewan Environment office.