Residents raise concerns about firearm use in Bay Roberts
Asking for town to place signage to remind hunters of regulations
A resident of Bay Roberts has asked the town council there to help educate hunters on where firearm use is not permitted.
A letter from the resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, noted residents in the Bear Cove Road area of town heard gunshots near their homes.
According to the resident, there were at least two occasions in recent weeks when firearms had been discharged near the residential area.
The resident told The Compass shots were also heard near the sports field on Playground Road, which would appear to be in contravention of the province’s laws which stated it is illegal “to discharge a firearm within 1,000 metres of a school, playground or athletic field, or within 300 metres of a dwelling.”
He wants the town to erect signage to remind hunters of these regulations, noting as a hunter himself he was not aware of the rule about the 1,000 metre zone.
He says, based on this rule, there’s nowhere on the Bear Cove Road side of town where it is legal to discharge a firearm.
“That whole side . . . even if you’re outside the 1,000-metre zone near the sports field, you’re still within 300-metres of a dwelling,” he stated. “I don’t think these guys are down there hunting and deliberately doing anything illegal, it’s just that they don’t know the difference, which is why signage is so important for that area.”
The subject prompted discussion at the Nov. 13 council meeting.
Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman said he had spoken to the resident prior to the meeting, and while it appeared the shooting activity had eased, the resident still felt it was important to have signage in place.
“He also brought up – and this is something I agree with – that we should take into account the Mad Rock area, and our trails, to see if we can put some signage up around there, too, in order to protect hikers and anyone else using the trails,” Yetman added.
Mayor Phillip Wood questioned whether it should be the task of provincial enforcement officers, rather than town officials, to police and enforce provincial hunting regulations within the town.
“You’ve probably noticed that wildlife officers or fisheries officers are now all armed, because some of the people they deal with are armed with rifles, because they’re out hunting. Our enforcement people, of course, are not armed,” he said. “I think that’s a part of the discussion here.
“If we can do it, I’m all for it, but I think we have to make sure that this is something we can enforce.”
As for the 1,000 metre regulation, Yetman agreed that would apply to most areas of town, therefore prohibiting firearm use anywhere near Bay Roberts.
“With the number of schools, and recreation areas, the 1,000-metre rule takes into account a lot of the area right now,” added Yetman, who noted the Shearstown estuary is among the locations in the community that is protected by these regulations.
Yetman noted the end of Mad Rock trail is the only area in question regarding these regulations, as it falls outside the 1,000-metre zone.
Councillors ultimately voted to have the municipal enforcement officer examine the concerns raised by the resident, gather information and report back to council.
It is unlawful:
• unless you have a permit, to carry, transport or possess firearms or ammunition during a closed season in any area frequented by wildlife. A person travelling to a hunting area may, if he/she holds the proper game licence, transport a firearm or ammunition if the firearm is cased or securely wrapped and tied.
• unless you have a valid game licence and/or permit, to carry, transport or possess firearms or ammunition during an open season for shooting in any area frequented by wildlife.
• to carry, transport or possess, in any area frequented by wildlife, any pump or autoloading shotgun unless it is plugged or altered so that it cannot carry any more than a total of three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
• to hunt with any fully automatic rifle. Semi-automatic or autoloading rifles may be used.
• unless you have a permit, to possess in any camp, tent or summer cottage, any firearm during closed season.
• to carry, transport or possess a loaded firearm in or on, or discharge a firearm from, any aircraft, motor vehicle, snow machine, or all-terrain vehicle. A firearm is considered to be loaded if there is a live shell or cartridge in the chamber or magazine, and the magazine is attached to the firearm in its usual position.
• to discharge a firearm from or across any railway bed, highway, public or private road. to use or possess, in any area frequented by wildlife, any ammunition that has been cut, ringed or altered in any way.
• for a licensed hunter to carry or possess more than one firearm unless each extra firearm is cased or securely wrapped and tied.
• to discharge a firearm within 1,000 metres of a school, playground or athletic field, or within 300 metres of a dwelling.
• to discharge a firearm or hunt on most community pastures during the period May 1 to Nov. 30 inclusive. Check with nearest Department of Justice- Fish and Wildlife Enforcement or Wildlife Division office.
• to discharge or handle a firearm while hunting without exercising reasonable care for the safety of other persons.
Source: Department of Fisheries and Land Resources www.flr.gov.nl.ca/wildlife/hunting/ hunters.html
A resident of Bears Cove Road recently expressed concern to the town council in Bay Roberts regarding the discharging of firearms near their home, which falls within 1,000-metres of a sports field.