Wel­come changes to min­i­mum hunt­ing ages

The Pilot - - Editorial - BY KAREN WELLS kwells@pi­lotnl.ca

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.

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