ESRD is continuing the Hay-Zama bison hunting season in 2014/15

A population survey conducted in February found 501 bison in the herd and is sufficient to support continuing the hunt. The season was suspended in 2013/14 as a result of severe winter weather resulting in unusually high calf and some adult bison mortality.

A total of 105 (70 Aboriginal and 35 non-Aboriginal) licences will be issued resulting in a projected harvest of 65 to 70 bison.

Hunting seasons for the Hay-Zama bison herd began in 2008 when the population was nearing 700 animals. This unique hunt, designated for an endangered species and Alberta’s only Wood Bison Recovery Herd, is designed to contain this disease-free and free-ranging herd to the Hay-Zama area, and to ensure that numbers ranged from 400 to 600.

The lower goal of 400 bison is designed to ensure that there are enough healthy and genetically diverse adults for breeding. The upper goal of 600 ensures that bison are not forced out of the Hay-Zama range by overpopulation and risk contact with diseased bison to the east in Wood Buffalo National Park. The hunt provides additional benefits by reducing the risks to humans of bison on roads and in communities.

Since 2008, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal hunters have harvested in excess of 500 bison.

Over 9,000 Albertans typically apply annually for this limited hunting opportunity.

Updated: Jun 3, 2014