Kluane First Nation supports Yukon’s decision to close Dall sheep hunt

The chief of a First Nation in southwestern Yukon said he’s pleased the territorial government is closing a Dall sheep hunting zone this summer.

“I’m very happy,” Chief Bob Dickson of the Kluane First Nation (KFN) told APTN News. “Finally, we’re seeing a partnership.”

Last week, the government announced it would close sheep hunting in a game management subzone in the Kluane area to all licensed hunters.

The closure will be in effect from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, 2026.

APTN previously reported on how KFN was urging Yukon government to implement emergency hunting closures so sheep populations could rebound.

Dickson said KFN asked the government for closures in 2023 but neither side could reach an agreement.

According to the release, the decision follows recent population surveys which show a “concerning” decline of sheep populations.

The hunting closure will focus on the Donjek sheep management unit, which shows a 63 per cent decline compared to 2015 survey.

Dickson said the game closure is a positive step forward and he hopes to see more in the future.

“I know there are other sensitive sheep populations in our area.  I think we will have to keep monitoring that,” he said.

Dickson said it’s a big ask for hunters to refrain from hunting sheep. However, he said it’s important the sheep be allowed “to rest.”

“It’s a traditional way that the First Nations have done it. I think all we’re doing is we’re trying to use other methods of bringing the sheep back.”

The release states KFN, the territorial government and other partners signed a memorandum of understanding to better protect sheep populations. They will also develop a long-term sheep conservation and management plan for southwest Yukon.

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