White-tailed deer Opportunities
Population trend surveys for white-tailed deer indicate a stable or increasing trend across the province, nearing the long-term average.
Season structure remains the same in 2020 with white-tailed deer opportunities in all WMZs with additional antlerless opportunities to address locally increasing populations in WMZ 2E, 2W, 5, 6, 7E, 7W, 14W, 33, 34, 55 and the Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert WMZ for Saskatchewan resident hunters, maintaining the opportunities offered in 2019.
Recent aerial surveys show a decline in southern forest moose populations, with surveyed zones 30 to 50 per cent below the long-term average. The factors causing this decline are not fully understood; however, hunting pressure is likely a contributing factor. In response to this population decline, the ministry adjusted the regular season length to a restricted season in 2018. These dates will be maintained in the 2020 hunting season.
A population survey is planned for 2021 and adjustments will be made to future seasons, if needed, based on that information.
Draw quotas have been reduced in some forest WMZs and certain zones (56-59, 67 and 68S) have gone to bulls-only draw.
Farmland moose populations are showing declines across the grassland region, but remain stable in most parkland regions. Draw quotas have been reduced in zones where populations have significantly declined. Quotas have been increased in WMZ 48, where an increasing population has been observed.
Recent mild winters have benefited elk population growth; therefore, elk quotas have been increased in a number of WMZs. Additional antlerless elk shoulder seasons have been added in WMZs 6, 7E, 7W, 37, 39 and 43. To reach elk population objectives in WMZ 33 (including Moose Mountain Provincial Park), a two-bag limit opportunity will be available for draw antlerless elk hunters. Regular elk season dates will remain unchanged from last year.
Mule Deer Opportunities
Provincial mule deer populations continue to benefit from several mild winters and appear to be at sustainable levels. As a result, there will be increased hunting opportunities, including higher quotas across much of their range. There will also be new antlerless mule deer hunting opportunities across many of the eastern WMZs.
Antlerless licences will be offered with a bag limit of one or two deer (one or two seals), depending on the zone.
Regular archery mule deer licences will be offered in the same zones as 2019, with the addition of WMZs 11, 16-18, 31-38, 48, 49 and 55.
Pronghorn populations continue to show strong population growth across their range, with milk winter weather conditions in 2019-20. Wildlife managers are proposing increased hunting opportunities in 2020, with either-sex quotas in all eight pronghorn WMZs 1-15, 18, 19 and 23-27.
The draw for pronghorn are determined in July. The quotas may be adjusted or eliminated based on current year population estimates. Please check the listed WMZ combinations to ensure you are applying for your preferred hunting areas.
Applications for the pronghorn antelope draw are accepted during the big game draw in May; however, the pronghorn draw will not be conducted until July. Draw results are released immediately after the draw is completed and an email notice will be sent out.
Waterfowl populations remain at or above target levels across much of the province, although they may be impacted by spring and summer conditions. Season dates and bag limits remain unchanged. In 2020, the species-specific bag limit restriction on northern pintail has been removed. Northern pintail is now included as part of the daily bag limit (8) and possession limit (24) for ducks. The Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area has also been opened to sandhill crane hunting.
Upland bird populations vary across the province. Sharp-tailed grouse continue to increase and while local pockets have recovered, populations generally remain below target levels. Gray (Hungarian) partridge populations continue to increase, so bag limits have been increased in additional areas. Ring-necked pheasant populations remain stable. Forest grouse populations recently went through a low point in their natural cycle, but seasons and bag limits remain unchanged in most cases.