Fisheries and Land Resources
November 8, 2017

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources:

New Regulations Increase Access to Hunting

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to inform this house about historic changes to the provincial Wildlife Act and Regulations that provide more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the opportunity to share in the experience and benefits of hunting.

These changes, which support inclusion, improve access and encourage participation in hunting, were implemented after consultation with provincial hunting and trapping organizations and participants in the Program for Hunters and Anglers with a Disability.

Mr. Speaker, the minimum hunting age has been lowered from 16 to 12 for small game and from 18 to 16 for big game, which align our age requirements with other jurisdictions in North America. In recognition of the need to prioritize hunter and public safety, a youth is only permitted to hunt under direct adult supervision and must complete firearm safety training.

These amendments are providing opportunities to mentor young hunters and trappers, giving them the essential skills and knowledge to foster a hunting culture where safe firearm use is the top priority. Mr. Speaker, safety must always be paramount. Proper, responsible and effective firearms training among our youth results in safe firearms practices that continue for a lifetime.

Improvements to the Program for Hunters and Anglers with a Disability now permit a designated hunter to remain within 800 metres or line of sight, whichever is greater, of the hunter with a disability. In addition, persons with disabilities now have priority access to big game as a result of changes to the Problem Moose Policy.

Mr. Speaker, Government has also taken action to enhance the hunting experience for all hunters in the province by establishing earlier application dates for the 2018-19 big game draw.

I am confident these transformative changes will be well received by hunters throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and help us achieve our goal of encouraging greater participation in cultural and recreational activities that we can pass along to our children, and grandchildren.

Thank you.

2017 11 08                              2:30 p.m.