Elk were reintroduced to the Cypress Hills in 1938; however, the herd grew to considerable size due to a lack of natural predators.
In 1978, the first annual elk harvest took place inside the park. The decision to introduce a management hunt was based on a study that established a carrying capacity of 700 elk in the Cypress Hills area.
Each winter, an aerial survey is conducted to determine the actual number of elk in the Cypress Hills. This survey is taken before calving season. To compensate for calving and natural winter mortality, the herd size from the aerial survey is increased by 27%.
If the herd estimate is over the established carrying capacity, a harvest through a limited "hunting authorization" draw is scheduled. The four day per week harvest occurs from mid-October until the end of November. Harvesting does not take place when elk numbers are lower than the threshold of 700.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park - Alberta is a protected area under the Alberta Provincial Parks Act. Since the park is open to the general public for other activities throughout the hunt, hunters are required to follow special regulations for the safety of the hunter and other park users.
To participate in the Elk Management Hunt, all drawn hunters require a firearm discharge permit.
The following campgrounds are open:
Within the Park, the Elkwater Lake Lodge & Resort offers 48 suites, 6 cabins and 11 condominium suites. Amenities include an indoor salt water pool and hot tub, conference centre, dining room, lounge, and on-site designated relaxation areas.
12-34 Café & Pub/Elkwater Fuel Stop
Licensed café, gas, diesel, propane fuel, and souvenir items.
Camp Cookhouse & General Store
Licensed restaurant, grocery store, and laundromat (coin operated).
Buglers Restaurant (lower level of Elkwater Lake Lodge & Resort)
Coin operated Located at the Camp Cookhouse & General Store
Open during store hours.
For more information, contact the Visitor Centre at 403-893-3833.