Welcome changes to minimum hunting ages
LEWISPORTE, NL — For over 15 years the Notre Dame Rod and Gun Club has been lobbying for a reduction in the minimum hunting age in this province.
Club vice-president Paul Wood was glad to see that become a reality on Nov. 8.
The minimum hunting age has been lowered from 16 to 12 for small game and from 18 to 16 for big game. The youth is only permitted to hunt under direct adult supervision and must complete firearm safety training.
In the age of smartphones and handheld gaming devices, Wood sees this as a positive change in promoting an interest in hunting and safety, but also encouraging physical activity.
“The earlier you can get people involved in something the better,” he said, “and the older they get, the less interest they will have in starting.
“I think that’s one of the issues we have in Newfoundland and Labrador, in general we are not seeing young people pick up hunting in the outdoors like the generation before it.”
Wood is also a fundraising manager for Ducks Unlimited Canada.
“Hunters have been the best conservationists for many, many years and continue to do so,” he noted. “From my point of view, it will be good for the conservation movement too.
“They will learn respect firearms and respect for outdoors.”
Wood encourages people to consider membership in the Rod and Gun Club so youth can practice on the range in advance of actual hunting.
“The thing about the safety course that is being offered for the
now, compared to when I did it years ago, is that there is no practical shooting part in the test these days – there should be,” he said. “You had to show proficiency in shooting in order to get a license and that was taken away many years ago as a cost-saving measure.”
Youth can use a firearm at any age at the Rod and Gun Club range as long as they are supervised by a parent or adult.
To inquire about the club and membership call Rod and Gun Club president Justin Whiteway at The Outdoor Supply Store in Lewisporte.