Hunters Enjoy Successful Season in 2003
Nova Scotia hunters had a safe hunting season in 2003, Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt announced in April. "With close to 50,000 hunters in the woods last fall, there was not one firearm-related accident reported."
"Hunters in this province are well trained through our Hunter Education program. It emphasizes safe handling of firearms, which has, no doubt, saved lives and much tragedy," said Mr. Hurlburt. "Credit for this success can be attributed to our dedicated volunteer instructors who provide a valuable service to hunters, and, indirectly, to the public."
The total deer harvest was 7,301, down about 2,000 from the year before. Hunters bagged 5,516 bucks and 1,785 antlerless deer (does) during the fall hunt.
"We did expect a drop in the number of deer taken by hunters because the 2003 spring population estimate showed a decrease in the provincial herd. As a result, 4,700 fewer antlerless deer hunting stamps were issued last year," said Mr. Hurlburt. "And fewer deer licenses were sold, which would also reduce the harvest."
Lunenburg County once again reported the highest number of deer bagged at 1,600, followed by Colchester County at 704. Harvest numbers were down in all counties except Lunenburg and Yarmouth.
Although all hunters are permitted to hunt antlered bucks throughout the province, the deer population is managed through a zone system that limits the number of antlerless deer hunting stamps for does and juvenile animals based on deer numbers. Stamps were available in four of the seven deer management zones in 2003.
A new sub-zone (2A) was created last year to address the high number of deer in the Lunenburg/Bridgewater area, which were creating nuisance and safety issues for property owners and traffic. Five hundred antlerless tags were issued in zone 2A, which resulted in 223 deer being taken.
"We will announce how many antlerless deer hunting stamps will be available for the 2004 deer hunting season later in the spring, after the annual pellet count has been conducted and more is known about how winter affected the herd condition," said Mr. Hurlburt.
Preliminary statistics for the 2003 moose and bear seasons are also being released today.
Last fall was the first opportunity for moose hunters to participate in two, one-week seasons divided into four zones. Three hundred and ten hunters bagged 262 moose, for a success rate of 85 per cent.
There was also a change to the bear season in 2003. A five-week extension was added during the general season for hunting deer. Three hundred and eighty-four bears were taken in 2003 compared with 284 in 2002.
"Science-based wildlife management policies have allowed us to offer deer, bear and moose hunting seasons for many years in Nova Scotia," said Mr. Hurlburt. "Hunter support for, and compliance with, our policies and regulations help ensure that our wildlife resources are maintained for the enjoyment of future generations."