12/11/2014 01:26 EST | Updated 02/10/2015 05:59 EST

CFB Suffield Elk Cull Planned For February

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SUFFIELD, Alta. - The province is targeting more elk in southeastern Alberta with the hope of reducing a growing herd that has been damaging crops around a military base.

The government and the Department of National Defence will allow hunters to kill up to 500 more female elk at Canadian Forces Base Suffield in February.

Earlier this year, Alberta issued tags that would allow hunters to kill up to 600 female elk on the base this fall.

Hunters who win a draw for licences will be allowed to shoot up to two animals each.

Ranchers who have been lobbying the provincial and federal governments to hold a roundup to reduce the herd to a manageable size.

About 200 elk were brought to the base in the 1990s to introduce grazing animals to the region, but the herd has since swollen to up to 8,000 animals.

Along with damage to crops, some ranchers are worried the elk could spread animal diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis to cattle.

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