BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Hunters who head to Canada this year in search of deer, moose, elk and caribou might not be able to bring back anything but memories.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture banned all Canadian shipments of meat or livestock temporarily to protect the nation’s food supply and cattle industry after a cow in Alberta was diagnosed with mad cow disease.

The ban covers all ruminants, which include white-tailed deer and other game species.

“I spend a huge amount of time and money hunting in Canada, and now it appears I can go on my hunting trips but not bring anything back,” said Dennis Bosch of Charlotte who is planning to go deer hunting in Ontario and Saskatchewan. “Who’s going to go to Canada?”

Hunting advocates on both sides of the border are attempting to have the USDA modify the ban before hunting seasons start. Caribou season in parts of Canada begins in early August.

“I think there will be pressure brought by various hunting groups to suggest we look at this ban realistically,” said Jeff Crane, policy director for the U.S. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “The blanket ban is on all ruminants, but the disease was found in a bovine. It seems to be a little irrational to ban all this stuff.”

Steve Payne of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said different divisions of Canadian government are aware of the situation.

“We’re hopeful the issue can be resolved by fall,” Payne said. “We’re trying to work with as many people as we can to get the ban removed or lifted.

The USDA has not indicated when the ban might be lifted or revised.

Americans are vital contributors to Canada’s hunting guide and outfitting business, taking advantage of a strong U.S. dollar in a country rich with natural resources.

The cost for big-game hunts in Canada range widely, but many hunters spend at least $2,500 for weeklong deer hunts. Caribou hunts in Quebec typically cost about $3,000 for lodging and a guide.

“It would be impossible to know how much money could be lost if Americans stopped hunting here,” said Claire Poirer, who runs a fish and game outfitting business in western Quebec. “I couldn’t even get my thoughts around it.”


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