What wildlife makes up Saskatchewan's identity? It's a fun question to pose, especially after learning about Africa's "Big Five" of the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo.

Is the animal that doubles as the Saskatchewan Roughriders mascot on the list? What about the flock that makes their way back home after winters down south? 

Below is a list of qualified candidates to crack the top five. Cast up to five votes below, and keep scrolling to learn a thing or two about Saskatchewan's most populous animals.  

Information/photos via Ministry of Environment 2024 Big Game Draw Supplement


Moose.png Kicking off the list of competitors, Moose are definitely worthy of a spot within the "Five" (Photo via Saskatchewan Big Game Draw PDF)

Moose are trending towards a declining population in many forested wildlife management zones, It's a decline consistent across western Canada according to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, with predation, overharvest, increased access and health-related factors leading to lower moose abundance. In 2025, some WMZ's will be drawing only bull moose seasons to address the population issue.

"A University of Saskatchewan lead research project is monitoring 65 radio-collared cow moose in the eastern forest to understand factors influencing survival and habitat selection of moose. For 2024, the November regular moose season (Nov 20-24) has been eliminated in WMZs 55-59 and 63-69.


Elks ministry of environment.png Elk are another worthy big game in the province (Photo via Saskatchewan Big Game Draw PDF)

Elk populations are known to bring "ample hunting opportunities" according to the Ministry. In zones where population growth has occurred, there has been an increase in antlerless hunting opportunities. In spots where the population has declined, such as the northeast, select zones are being replaced with a bull-only regular season and antlerless draw quota.

"Antlerless elk is a cow or 2024 calf. The head of an antlerless elk must accompany the carcass."

Mule Deer

Mule deer.png Can Mule deer crack the list over whitetails? (Photo via Saskatchewan Big Game Draw PDF)

The population for mule deer has been declining across the province, mostly due to severe winters, and drought conditions. As a result of this quotas surrounding antlerless mule deer are being reduced in many WMZ's. It is noted that there have been no changes made to either-sex draw mule deer quotas.

"In 2025, the ministry is considering moving from a draw antlerless mule deer licence to a quota-limited antlerless mule deer licence that can be purchased over the counter."


Pronghorn.png Theres a good chance you have come across a pack of these "speed-goats" (Photo via Saskatchewan Big Game Draw PDF)

Over the last decade the pronghorn population has shown strong growth, but looking at the last calendar year, there was a substantial drop in both population size and fawns overall. That's why the Ministry's pronghorn quota moved from 625 to 555 licenses, a number that could stay until the current population recovers. Ground surveys getting underway in July will confirm the status of the populations, leading to a delayed draw for pronghorn licenses.

"Check the listed WMZ combinations to ensure you are applying for your preferred hunting areas. Results will be posted on the HAL website and an email notice will be sent out once the draw is completed."

Richardson's Ground Squirrel

gopher final.jpg While prairie dogs might be a more appropriate name for the list, gophers are a Saskatchewan staple (File Photo)

As Saskatchewan as they may be, gophers are considered a pest in the prairie province. The government has instituted the "Gopher Control Program", a hopefully long term solution that covers the costs of registered gopher control products. The program also introduces ways to attract predatory birds and encourage natural predation of rodents.

"Recently, there have been changes to how producers can manage certain rodents, such as Richardson’s ground squirrels. Strychnine was deregistered by the Government of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and, as of 2023, can no longer be used in Canada."