New Brunswick Offers Hunting and Trapping Courses

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Hunting and trapping enthusiasts are reminded that conservation education courses are available through the Department of Natural Resources.

"The Department of Natural Resources, through its network of more than 300 dedicated volunteer instructors, offers a variety of courses that are often mandatory in order to participate in these activities in a safe and enjoyable manner," said Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles.

Courses currently offered include firearm safety/hunter education, bowhunter education, and trapper education. A nuisance wildlife control operators course is also available for those interested in providing nuisance wildlife control services to the public.

In order to meet provincial licensing requirements, the firearm safety/hunter, bowhunter, and trapper education courses are mandatory for first-time hunters and trappers, all bowhunters, and all persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1981. The firearm safety component of the firearm safety/hunter education course is required under federal law in order to obtain a firearms licence to own, borrow, inherit or purchase a firearm, or to purchase ammunition.

Courses are open to youth and adults. To participate in the trapper education course, youths must be at least 10 years old at the time the course is delivered, and at least 13 for the firearm safety/hunter and bowhunter education courses. Conservation education courses offered in New Brunswick meet the training requirements of other provinces and American states.

Courses are offered through local Natural Resources offices. Depending on the location, courses may be held at the office itself or at some other suitable facility within the community.

Most courses are classroom-based and include the opportunity for hands-on learning. A typical firearm safety/hunter education course consists of five to six evening sessions scheduled over a two-week period. Trapper courses are 17 hours long. Bowhunter courses are about eight hours long, and are usually completed in a single weekend. Students 18 or older may be eligible for a home study or challenge option for the firearm safety/hunter education course. Only experienced bowhunters may take a challenge option for bowhunter education. Contact Natural Resources for details. Some courses are followed by a field day where participants have further opportunity for hands-on learning activities.

Course fees vary from $40 to $95, depending on the type of course and the participant's age when the course is offered. Student manuals are $10.60 each. Youth 16 or younger may participate in the firearm safety/hunter, bowhunter and trapper education courses for $40, and have their student manuals provided at no cost through a program funded by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

More information may be obtained by writing to the Allocation and Education Program, Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Natural Resources, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1; by calling 506-453-2440; or by faxing 506-453-6699. A list of Natural Resources offices and information on various courses may be found online, http://www.gnb.ca/.