Nova Scotia Wildlife Act Regulation Changes

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The latest changes to regulations under the provincial wildlife act will provide greater opportunities to all Nova Scotia hunters, including youth and the disabled.

Wildlife regulations are reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources, based on requests and advice from wildlife division biologists.

"These revisions ensure that our wildlife resources are used in a sustainable and equitable manner, making life better for Nova Scotia families," said John MacDonell, Minister of Natural Resources, today, June 23.

Perhaps the most noteworthy change is the replacement of eight deer management zones by 12 new zones, which was done in broad consultation with the public, hunters and wildlife biologists. The goal is to provide greater deer-hunting opportunities in areas where there are large deer populations, bringing a number of vehicle-deer collisions and other human-wildlife conflict.

Another regulation change is a transition project which will create a non-motorized moose hunt in the Pollet's Cove-Aspy Fault Wilderness Area in Cape Breton. It will be separate from the regular moose hunt and motorized vehicles will not be permitted in the area. The hunt will be Sept. 20-25 and Oct. 11-16.

The departments of Natural Resources and Environment will use the trial to gauge hunter interest and evaluate hunting and hauling techniques before the motorized vehicles are prohibited for moose hunting in the area in 2012. Only 20 licences, awarded through a special draw, are available for this hunt. Application details will be announced in the coming weeks. Hunters who have applied for the general Nova Scotia moose draw may also enter the non-motorized hunt draw.

In an effort to attract more young people to the joys of hunting, changes to regulations will allow youth age 16 to 19 years of age to hold a guide licence. They can serve as a guide when supervised by a licenced guide older than 19. Hunters 12 to 15 years of age will now be eligible to take guide courses.

In another rule change, hunters with a disability will now be permitted to hunt on their own, providing someone is available to help retrieve game.

Other changes will:

  • double the bear snaring bag limit to two
  • repeal the mandatory registration of bait sites for hunting bears, making it consistent with the regulations for snaring bear and hunting deer
  • allow the use of camouflage orange garments while hunting (in addition to blaze orange)
  • allow the use of crossbows in all hunting situations where conventional bows may be used, except the special open season for bowhunting deer
  • allow the use of .410 slugs for deer hunting and larger shot sizes (buckshot) for hunting big game, coyotes, furbearers and certain small game, as safe alternatives in higher populated areas where animals such as deer are creating problems.