Updated

Questions have arisen on the elk hunt based on CFB Suffield’s expansion into its National Wildlife Area. This is not a new hunting opportunity and no new licences are being issued, this season’s hunt is fully subscribed. The Suffield news release refers only to expanded land access for those who have already been successful in obtaining special licences though the regular draw process held in June 2016.

To date, 930 elk have been harvested inside CFB Suffield. Additional elk have been harvested from the hunting opportunities in Wildlife Management Units in the surrounding area outside of the base. Hunting opportunities will continue to be allocated using the regular special licence draw procedure which will open in June for the 2017 hunting season.

Since 2012, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), in partnership with Canada's Department of National Defence, has provided elk hunting opportunities at Canadian Forces Base Suffield (CFB Suffield) in southeastern Alberta.

  • Elk herds at CFB Suffield are estimated to number about 4,574, based on a survey flight completed in March 2016.
  • Hunts surrounding the base for the 2016-17 seasons began on September 1, 2016, and will continue until January 30, 2017.
    • 145 antlered elk licences will be issued.
    • 270 antlerless elk licences with 2 tags each (540 tags) will be issued.
  • Hunts within the base will begin on November 1, 2016, and will continue until January 28, 2017.
    • 600 antlered elk licences will be issued.
    • 600 antlerless elk licences with 2 tags each (1,200 tags) will be issued.
  • The total number of elk harvested in 2015-16 was 1,600 animals.
    • 681 antlered elk harvested.
    • 919 antlerless elk harvested.

For further information on the CFB Suffield Elk hunt, see:

Suffield Elk and Bovine Tuberculosis

Concerns have been raised about the possibility of bovine tuberculosis in the large population of elk associated with Canadian Forces Base Suffield (CFB Suffield).

Alberta's Chronic Wasting Disease program, examines the lymph nodes of submitted wildlife. Through this program we are able to passively monitor for bovine tuberculosis. We have not seen abnormalities that would suggest that bTB is in Suffield elk.

The original elk on CFB Suffield were translocated from Elk Island National Park in the late 1990s and all animals relocated from the park were tested for bovine tuberculosis and found to be disease free.

Elk Island National Park has implemented a continuous bovine tuberculosis surveillance program since the 1970s, and bovine tuberculosis has not been detected in the park since the early 1980s (detection in a wood bison that came to Elk Island National Park from Wood Buffalo National Park in the mid 1960s).

Bovine tuberculosis does occur sporadically in cattle (last case prior to the current finding was in cattle in British Columbia in 2011) and Canada’s national surveillance program generally finds infected cattle before the infection spreads. Investigations are focused firstly on the infected cattle and repercussions to the livestock industry, but Environment and Parks' wildlife disease experts are engaged to understand the finding and assess the risk, which is typically minimal.

Bovine TB can infect humans but does not readily transfer to people. The risk of infection in wild game is very low. To date, there is no evidence of bovine tuberculosis in elk in Alberta.

Precautions hunters can take with their harvest are available at:

Related Information

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Updated: Dec 12, 2016