What's New for 2012/13 Season
- The total number of licences has been increased to 300 (200 for Aboriginal hunters
and 100 for recreational hunters).
- There will be no additional licences for Aboriginal hunters.
- The bison draw application for recreational hunters is restricted to 1 applicant
per draw application.
- A partner licence is available for recreational hunters.
- Disease testing for bovine brucellosis or tuberculosis has been discontinued.
Hunters should be aware that selecting for a bull over a producing cow will ensure
the health of the herd. To learn more about how to distinguish between bulls and
Also visit the Yukon Government website at:
Historically, wood bison roamed the northern boreal forests, but approximately 150
years ago, wood bison, like plains bison, all but vanished from the landscape. In
Alberta and Canada, they are currently listed as an “Endangered Species”.
Background to Hay-Zama Wood Bison Hunt
In 1983, the Hay-Zama wood bison reintroduction program was started to re-establish
a healthy population of the wood bison in northwest Alberta. This was a part of
the National Wood Bison Management Plan to have at least one self-sustaining wood
bison herd in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories and Wood
Buffalo National Park.
The Fish and Wildlife Division, Canadian Wildlife Service and the Dene Tha' First
Nation were partners in the reintroduction program.
The original management plan called for the release of bison born in the paddock
over a two-to three-year period. The proposed releases were cancelled by 1985 amid
growing concerns and fears of disease issues associated with bison in Wood Buffalo
National Park and Alberta herds (Wentzel, Wabasca and Ronald Lake) originating from
However, a number of bison escaped from the paddock in 1994. Since that time, the
Hay Zama bison herd grew and peaked in numbers during the winter of 2008 when 652
animals were seen in 63 different groups.
In 2008, it was determined that a highly regulated hunting season would be necessary
to control the numbers and distribution of the Hay-Zama herd.
From 2008/09 to the 2011/12 season, a total of 423 bison have been harvested. Of
these, 279 have been tested for bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis and all have
been negative for both diseases.
Testing of Hay-Zama bison for bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis has been discontinued.
The most recent survey in March of 2012 found 587 bison in the Hay-Zama herd. With
a population objective of 400-600 bison an increase in licences and harvest is planned
for the 2012/13 season.
Hunters are encouraged to select bulls for harvesting. Leaving mature cows in the
population will help to ensure the herd is productive and ensure sustainability
of the wood bison population and the hunt.
Posted: Sep 20, 2012