1706372548 A predictable seasonal report for deer and elk

A predictable seasonal report for deer and elk

Before the last deer and elk hunting season, the two biologists responsible for these government files told the newspaper Newspaper that they thought we would have a great season. The recently published results proved them right.

During her interview, deer file coordinator at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, Ms. Sonia de Bellefeuille, explained that the deer population in Quebec is in very good health.

If you look at the numbers with a total of 54,951 animals, which are divided into 35,923 males, 14,902 females and 4,126 calves, she wasn't wrong. If we add the Anticosti deer harvest, we get a total of 62,042 animals harvested.

“The results of the hunting season reflect the fact that the winter of 2023 was mild. We have not experienced any harsh winters since 2019. This largely explains the good health of Quebec's deer herd. We have had excellent hunting results at the provincial level for three years in a row. »

Many people believed that the buck harvest would be too large because the hunting dates were later.

“The hunting dates haven’t really changed like a lot of people think. The opening of the hunt for this period must take place on the Saturday closest to November 8th. We went to the later date last fall. Next year the hunt starts on November 9th. There was not as large a harvest of males as some had feared. Firearm hunting season occurs before and during the rut. It's like that every year. The antlerless deer harvest was also excellent in several regions. Overall, we can say it was a great year for hunters. »


Photo provided by Julien Cabana


There have not been such rich harvests in 2022-2023 for 15 years. A total of 138,000 hunters purchased deer licenses, excluding Anticosti, a 4% increase compared to 2022. Across Quebec, hunting success was 37%, which is higher than neighboring provinces and states.

“We had a really good harvest. If we look at historical trends, we are really lucky to have such good moose harvests in Quebec,” said biologist Laurent De Vriendt, who is in charge of the file at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks.

Asked about several hunters' concerns about the elk population, he replied: “When we look at the numbers, we certainly see that there are regions where the elk population is decreasing and others where it is increasing.” It can vary from year to year vary year. I understand people's reaction because their reference point is often the place where they hunt. Often it is the unlucky ones who prevail, not the successful ones. As for the weather, it is certain that bow and crossbow hunting had lower harvests as heat played a role in certain areas. The moose moves much less. »


Looking at the numbers, according to the registered animals, more than 22,600 animals were captured. This number is divided into 12,595 males, 7,339 females and 2,362 calves. It is certain that this is a decrease compared to the last approval in 2021.

“We believe this decline is due to regulatory changes in two popular areas. In 2021, 2,128 females were collected in Zone 2 and 443 females were collected in Zone 27. If we add these numbers to this fall's harvest, we get almost the same number. For this reason we can say that the moose harvest in Quebec is stable. »

He also wanted to point out that work on the winter tick and its effects is still ongoing. Looking at the numbers, elk remains the most popular big game among hunters, with 170,500 licenses sold, including 2,504 to non-residents. The zones with the highest hunting success are 1 and 29, with corresponding values ​​of 21% and 16.6% per hunter and 42% and 33.2% for a group of two hunters, respectively.


The spring turkey hunt attracted a record number of fans with 22,653 licenses sold. Hunting success was 31% for the first turkey and 11% for harvesting a second turkey. For Quebec as a whole, fall hunting success was 14%. The areas where hunters have had the most success in the spring are Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie, Centre-du-Québec and Outaouais.

In the case of black bears, 4,820 specimens were collected in 2023. This number is split between 85% (4,120) hunting and 15% (700) trapping. The spring season is the preferred season for both hunters and trappers, accounting for 91% of the total harvest.