Lower hunt­ing age in New­found­land and Labrador

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - Sin­cerely, Tony Chubbs Pres­i­dent, Labrador Hunt­ing and Fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion Inc.

* This let­ter was sent by the Labrador Hunt­ing and Fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion to MHA Gerry Byrne, min­is­ter for Fish­eries and Land Re­sources.

Dear Min­is­ter Byrne,

The Labrador Hunt­ing and Fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (LHAFA) rep­re­sents more than 300 mem­bers across Labrador.

Our as­so­ci­a­tion has been lob­by­ing gov­ern­ment since our in­cep­tion in 2010 to lower the hunt­ing age in New­found­land and Labrador. Per­son­ally, I have talked to every min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for this leg­is­la­tion up un­til your ap­point­ment as min­is­ter of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources. I con­tinue to lobby our MHA Perry Trimper and was es­pe­cially hope­ful when he was the min­is­ter of the newly formed Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Lands and Re­sources.

The LHAFA has put for­ward its po­si­tion of low­er­ing the le­gal age for hunt­ing in our province from 16 to 12 years of age for small game and low­ered from 18 to 16 years of age for big game hunt­ing, in com­bi­na­tion with the con­di­tions that a hunter safety course is manda­tory and that the youth are un­der direct su­per­vi­sion when har­vest­ing wildlife.

To pro­mote and pre­serve our rich hunt­ing cul­ture and her­itage, the change in the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions is nec­es­sary to as­sist the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment as well as or­ga­ni­za­tions like ours achieve our man­dates of pro­mot­ing youth out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly hunt­ing.

The Fed­eral Firearms Act al­ready per­mits the hold­ing of a firearms li­cence for youth 12 years of age or older and ac­tu­ally has an ex­cep­tion per­mit­ting youth less than 18 years old and who hunts or traps as a way of life is el­i­gi­ble to hold a li­cence if the in­di­vid­ual needs to hunt or trap in or­der to sus­tain him­self or her­self or his or her fam­ily. This per­tains to all Indig­i­nous groups through­out the province.

In or­der to con­tinue to man­age our wildlife re­sources in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner, it is es­sen­tial to en­cour­age our youth to par­tic­i­pate in hunt­ing as it is the most im­por­tant man­age­ment tool avail­able for con­ser­va­tion of our wildlife re­sources.

Our as­so­ci­a­tion looks for­ward to changes in the cur­rent Wildlife Reg­u­la­tions to bring New­found­land and Labrador on par with all other prov­inces of Canada. We will con­tinue our pos­i­tive di­a­logue with the Wildlife Di­vi­sion to con­tinue our strong col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ship and main­tain an open di­a­logue in the man­age­ment of our wildlife re­sources.

Un­for­tu­nately, with open­ing of the hunt­ing sea­son just days away, this fall we will lose an­other co­hort of our youth to col­lege, uni­ver­sity and the work­force away, be­fore they are able to learn and em­brace their hunt­ing cul­ture.

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