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.
Question: Can I hunt within the Park?
The only hunting, outside of treaty rights, that occurs within the Park is through the Elk Management Hunt which occurs through a limited hunting authorization draw.
Question: I am hunting outside the Park. What do I do if I shot an animal and it runs within the Park boundary?
Before entering the Park to retrieve your animal, you must contact a Conservation Officer at 310-LAND.
Question: Am I allowed to use an off -highway vehicle or ATV in the Park?
No. As per Provincial Park regulations, off-highway vehicles are not permitted.
Question: What do I need to do to be able to hunt Elk in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park - Alberta?
Apply for the special draw license for the Cypress Hills Elk Hunt. If you are successful in your draw, obtain the appropriate license. You are required to obtain a Firearm Discharge Permit.
Question: I am hunting in the Elk Management Hunt. What if the animal I shoot is located a far distance from any road access?
Contact a Conservation Officer for direction at 310-LAND.
Question: Am I allowed to hang my animal in the Park?
No, this is not permitted.
Question: What hunting regulations apply?
Alberta Hunting Regulations are in effect. Visit https://www.albertaregulations.ca/huntingregs/ for detailed hunting regulation information
Question: What times of day am I allowed to hunt?
As per Alberta Hunting Regulations, it is unlawful to hunt any wildlife or discharge a firearm between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise. Sunrise/sunset tables are available online: http://www.albertaregulations.ca/huntingregs/suntable.html
Question: How do I obtain information on the land owners surrounding the Park?
Landowner maps are available from the Cypress County office located in Dunmore. (403) 526-2888 or online: https://albertaparks.ca/media/6495969/cypress_hills_pp_hunt_map.pdf
Question: Where can I get a map of the Park?
Park maps are available at the Visitor Centre open Wednesday-Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm and at the Park Administration Office. Topographical maps are available for sale from the Visitor Centre.
Question: How do I find out where Elk sightings have occurred?
Conservation Officers have available maps of kill sites from previous hunts. Throughout the week, access to these maps is available at the Park Administration Office. Conservation Officers may also be able to provide information.
For more information, contact the Visitor Centre at 403-893-3833.