2004 Hunting Season Regulations

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The New Brunswick hunting season is underway, and it is the responsibility of all hunters to be aware of the regulations and bag limits before they take to the woods.

Hunters should read the Hunt 2004 - Hunting and Fur Harvesting Regulations and Licence Information summary. The summary provides hunters with an outline of game laws and regulations. Regulation summaries and booklets outlining the boundaries of New Brunswick's 27 wildlife management zones are available at licence vendors and offices of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This information is also available on the DNR website at: http://www.gnb.ca/0078/.

Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1981, and all first-time hunters are required to take a firearms safety and hunter education course, and all bow hunters are required to take a bow hunter education course. All first-time trappers must take a trapper education course. All hunters are encouraged to participate in a course and can contact a DNR office for more information. Courses in first aid, orienteering and map and compass reading are also beneficial for hunters.

Firearm Safety/Hunter Education students between 13 and 16 years of age will receive free manuals courtesy of the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund. The cost of the manuals is normally $10.70 per student.

It is illegal to discharge any firearm within 200 metres (muzzle loaders and archery gear are legal after 200 metres) or a rifle within 400 metres of a dwelling, school, place of business or waste disposal site. It is also against the law to shoot from a motorized vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a motorized vehicle.

Anyone who plans to hunt in New Brunswick should know the season dates and bag limits for the species they will be hunting. Hunters must keep firearms stored securely in their homes, under lock and key, and must keep those firearms out of reach of children at all times.

Migratory bird hunters require a valid New Brunswick hunting licence and a Canada migratory game bird hunting permit which can be purchased at a Canada post office. Hunters 14 and 15 years old need firearm safety and hunter education certificates and have to be accompanied by an adult.

Once hunters know the season dates and bag limits, they can decide when to hunt, which wildlife species are available and select a hunting location.

It is important to check out an area to find out if the land is privately owned or posted to restrict hunters. If the land is privately-owned and not posted, it is always wise to talk to the landowner and ask permission to hunt on the property.

New Brunswick landowners have the right to post their property for hunting, shooting, snaring or trapping. Yellow disks or yellow painted bands means people must get permission before participating in these activities. Red disks or red painted bands mean no hunting, shooting, snaring or trapping by anyone, including the owner. Blue discs are used on agricultural lands and prohibit use of motorized vehicles.

Hunters should do advance scouting in the area where they plan to hunt. It is important to become familiar with landmarks, such as streams, ridges and roads. Dusk falls early during autumn, and a hunter may become disorientated or confused in an unfamiliar area after the sun goes down.

Well-prepared hunters always examine their hunting equipment and clothing before going hunting. Repairs, knife sharpening and other maintenance can be carried out well before opening day. From Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, all hunters, and guides accompanying hunters, are required to wear at least 2,580 square centimetres (400 square inches) of solid fluorescent hunter orange on their upper body and a hat of solid fluorescent hunter orange, except when hunting waterfowl.

Many outdoor enthusiasts carry small backpacks on hunting trips. These packs should include items such as matches, small first aid kits, whistles, candles, chocolate bars, nuts or canned food. These items may benefit hunters during emergencies in the woods.

Hunters should check their firearms before the start of hunting season. Make sure all firearms are clean and in good working order. There are many recognized firing ranges in New Brunswick where hunters can make sure their guns fire properly and shoot accurately.

First-time big game hunters should know how to field dress an animal and care for the meat properly. Reading magazine articles, watching videos or asking other people will help new hunters deal with this important part of the hunt.

Hunters should also be prepared to report violations against fish and wildlife resources. These violations can be reported to district DNR ranger offices or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Hunters are encouraged to carry a small notebook and pen in their backpacks to record information, such as the description of violators, nature of the offence, location, and vehicle licence plate numbers.

These are a few things hunters can do to prepare for the 2004 hunting season. With the arrival of fall, many people are getting ready to enjoy this great recreational activity and respect the history and tradition of hunting in New Brunswick.

Following is a list of hunting dates and bag limits:

- Oct. 1 - Nov. 6 - Regular fall season for black bear and coyote, open for resident and non-resident hunters. (Season closed on Grand Manan and Campobello islands.) Bag limit is one bear of either sex. No bag limit for coyote. Non-resident hunters are only permitted to hunt in the wildlife management zone indicated on their licence.

- Oct. 1 - Dec. 4 - Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse season (archery and firearm), open for resident and non-resident hunters, including minor hunters. Daily bag limit is six grouse with a possession limit of 12.

- Oct. 1, 2004 - Feb. 28, 2005 - Varying hare season, open for resident and non-resident hunters, including minor hunters. The daily bag limit is 10 varying hare with a possession limit of 20.

- Oct. 1, 2004 - Feb. 28, 2005 - Varying hare, groundhog, coyote, crow and cormorant (only when there is an open season for migratory birds) season open for resident and non-resident hunters, including minor hunters. No bag limit.

- Oct. 4 - Nov. 20 - Deer archery season for resident and non-resident archers. The bag limit is one antlered deer or one antlerless deer by authorized permit holder. Special provisions apply to archery hunters who harvest a female deer during the bow season on Grand Manan Island - please consult the 2004 hunting summary for further details.

- Oct. 25 - Nov. 20 - Regular deer season for resident and non-resident hunters. The bag limit is one antlered deer or one antlerless deer by authorized permit holders. Hunters who harvest a deer during archery season are ineligible to hunt during the regular season, with the exception of archery hunters who harvest a female deer during the bow season on Grand Manan Island. Antlerless deer may only be hunted by New Brunswick residents in zones where they have valid permits.

- March 1 - Sept. 20, 2005 - Varmint season for resident and non-resident hunters. Groundhog, coyote, cormorant and crow are the species covered by a varmint licence. No bag limit.

- April 19 - June 26, 2005 - Spring black bear and coyote season for resident and non-resident hunters. (Season closed on Grand Manan and Campobello islands.) The bag limit for black bear is one. Hunters are permitted to harvest only black bear not accompanied by one or more cubs. There is no bag limit for coyote.