Deer Hunting Season Opens

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The regular deer hunting season opens on Friday, Oct. 31, and Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt is urging hunters to make safety a top priority.

"Thousands of hunters will be heading into the woods this weekend for another deer season," said Mr. Hurlburt. "I encourage all of them to make safe hunting their number one priority. I also ask that hunters take extra care and precautions in those areas where trees have been knocked down and weakened as a result of Hurricane Juan."

Mr. Hurlburt stressed the importance of hunters obtaining the proper training, permits and licenses required to hunt in Nova Scotia. More than 52,000 people contributed to the rural economy of Nova Scotia last year through hunting and trapping activities.

All first-time hunters living in Nova Scotia are required to take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course provided by the Nova Scotia Community College and the Nova Scotia Hunter Education Course co- ordinated by the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Bowhunters are required to take the International Bowhunter Education Program sponsored by the Bowhunter Instructors Association of Nova Scotia.

Hunter education has been mandatory in Nova Scotia since 1980. The delivery of these courses relies heavily on many volunteers across the province. Instructors schedule courses at various locations based on student applications received by the federation and the association.

"Our hunter safety record over the past number of years has been very good and is reflected in the low number of fatalities and accidental injuries," said Mr. Hurlburt. "The dedication of these volunteer instructors has made it possible for us to carry out this important program for new hunters."

The Department of Natural Resources has made a change to the wildlife regulations that provides an opportunity for licensed bear hunters to hunt bear during the deer season.

Detailed information on changes to the 2003 hunting season can be found in the 2003 Nova Scotia Hunting and Furharvesting License and Summary of Regulations booklet produced by the Department of Natural Resources. Information is also available on the department's Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/natr.

The public is urged to report illegal hunting activities to the local Department of Natural Resources office or call 1-800-565- 2224. The regular deer season closes on Saturday, Dec. 6.