Fisheries and Land Resources
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
November 30, 2018

Provincial Government Announces Quotas, Outlines New Initiatives for 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Season

The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, today announced details of the 2019-20 hunting and trapping season, including initiatives to enhance conservation and increase participation in hunting and trapping throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

New initiatives for 2019-20 include:

  • Re-introduction of caribou on Grey Islands: A maximum of 15 caribou from the St. Anthony herd will be relocated to Grey Islands to re-establish a resident caribou population.
  • Youth Hunter Program big game licence draw priority pool: Youth applicants (age 16-17) will be entered into the big game draw at a higher priority pool (pool 5). This initiative will foster more youth participation and increase the likelihood of receiving a licence to enable youth hunters to participate in supervised hunting.
  • Brass snare wire education program: the department will provide hunters with information regarding the best brass wire brands for retaining snowshoe hare, and will identify the vendors that sell these brands.

Changes for the upcoming season include:

  • A decrease of 100 moose licences on the Island of Newfoundland, for a total of 29,160 moose licences, including 17,650 Either Sex; 11,035 Male Only; and 475 Not-for-Profit. In Labrador the quota remains unchanged at 369 licences, bringing the total provincial quota to 29,529 licences. As in previous years, the number of licences for the 2019-20 season is set at a sustainable level based on most recent population estimates.
  • Closure of Caribou Management Area 69 (Northern Peninsula) as announced in 2018-19.
  • An overall caribou quota reduction of 27 licences (related to the closure of Caribou Management Area 69) for the Island of Newfoundland, for a total quota of 575.
  • Change in the opening date for Zone 11 (Northern Peninsula) for all furbearers (except mink and lynx) to October 20, 2019.
  • Gros Morne National Park will reduce moose quota by 125 licences (including 25 fewer NFP) with a quota of 500 ES.

For more information on these initiatives, season and application dates, and moose and caribou population estimates, please see the attached backgrounder.

“Re-establishing a lost caribou population on the Grey Islands will enhance the conservation status of this species in Newfoundland and Labrador. Enabling youth hunters to enter the big game licence draw system at a higher pool supports our commitment to fostering greater interest in hunting and mentorship of youth hunters. Best management practices – including the use of higher-quality 22-gauge brass wire for snowshoe hare snaring – minimize the impact on threatened Newfoundland marten. These initiatives are part of the Provincial Government’s commitment to managing wildlife species effectively – with conservation always at the forefront of planning – to support inclusion, and to increase participation in hunting and trapping.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources

“The Provincial Government continues to streamline its game planning and licensing processes and develop enhanced conservation initiatives that improve access to outdoor activities for the benefit of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, for those who visit our province to partake in our world-renowned hunting resource, and for those who earn their livelihoods from the great outdoors.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

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Season Dates
Big game hunting season for moose, caribou and black bear begins in Labrador and in the western region of the island on the second Saturday of September (September 14, 2019). Hunting season starts on the first Saturday of October (October 5, 2019) in the eastern portion of the island. Bow hunting begins August 31, 2019 for areas opening on September 14, 2019, and on September 21, 2019 for areas opening on October 5, 2019. The season closes December 31, 2019 (with the exception of national parks).

Small game and wolf/coyote season dates and bag limits for the Island and Labrador remain unchanged. Furbearer season dates remain unchanged, with the exception of Fur Zone 11 on the Northern Peninsula, where opening dates for the trapping of furbearers (except lynx and mink) will revert from a November 1 opening date to October 20.

Application Dates: Big game applications will be mailed out on February 25, 2019, and the deadline to submit applications is March 29, 2019. Notifications will be released on May 1, 2019.

Reintroduction of caribou to the Grey Islands: In 1964, eight caribou were relocated to the Grey Islands. The population expanded to a maximum of 575 animals in the 1990s, but recent surveys suggest the herd is now near zero. A coyote population that existed on the island is likely responsible for the herd’s demise, but recent survey work suggests coyotes are no longer present. The St. Anthony caribou herd is performing well and will not be impacted by the transfer of caribou.

Improving the big game draw priority pool for youth hunters: The Youth Hunter Program was established beginning in 2018-19 hunting season. The minimum age requirement to shoot small game, coyotes and other furbearers is 12, and the minimum age requirement to shoot big game is 16. Youth hunters are only permitted to use a firearm under supervision of a qualified adult. New hunters, including youth, are currently entered into the Big Game Licence Draw System at priority pool 8; entering at pool 5 will increase the chances of receiving a licence and hunting while supervised.

Promoting supply and purchase of high-quality snare wire: Legal trapping of snowshoe hare has caused non-targeted mortality of Newfoundland marten and other species. Best management practices include using 22-gauge brass wire for snowshoe hare snaring to allow trapping techniques that minimize the impact on marten. While legislated wire has been tested and deemed appropriate, not all snarers are aware of the most effective wire brands. The department will identify and promote wire types that have a proven track record at meeting both objectives: releasing non-target species while retaining sufficient numbers of hares.

Moose and caribou populations: Government uses several tools to monitor moose and caribou populations, including aerial surveys, hunter returns, and applied research projects.

The department has completed 12 Moose Management Area (MMA) surveys since 2015, which provide a strong overview of population numbers, currently estimated at 111,100 animals. Aerial surveys are completed from January to March; based on the average rate of recruitment when calves are born in May (22 per cent), the population will increase to approximately 134,200 by the start of the hunting season. A number of calves will die due to natural mortality, and in the fall 18,000- 20,000 adult moose will be removed from the population via hunting, leading to a stable population number in the following winter.

The island’s caribou population is estimated at 29,400 animals. The Middle Ridge herd, which includes approximately 35 per cent of the Island’s total caribou, has increased in recent years, while the southern portion of the Northern Peninsula and the south coast areas have declined. The St. Anthony herd is doing well; however, the Avalon herd has declined. Low calf recruitment appears to be the major issue preventing herd growth compared to adult mortality, which is comparable to historical levels. A robust monitoring and survey schedule ensures management strategies avail of the most up-to-date information available.

2018 11 30                              1:05 p.m.