A double-barrel of good news for moose hunters was announced Nby Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup – better odds for long-time unsuccessful applicants and a major increase in licences for this fall's hunt.
"To say New Brunswickers are passionate about moose hunting is an understatement,'' said Northrup. "Last year, we had almost 63,000 residents apply for just over 3,500 licences, so our government is pleased to take these actions to improve the odds for long-suffering applicants and increase the overall number of licences by more than 20 per cent.''
The new pool system fulfils a commitment in Putting New Brunswick First to improve the odds in the moose draw for hunters who have not had their names drawn for more than 10 years.
Under the system, for every five years applicants who have applied unsuccessfully to the moose draw since 1994, they would move into a new pool where their chances in the draw would triple.
New hunters or those who have been drawn within the past four years will be in Pool 0, with a single ballot in their name.
Hunters who have been unsuccessful for at least five years will be in Pool 1, with three ballots in their name.
Anyone who has been unsuccessful for at least 10 years will be in Pool 2, with nine ballots in the computerized draw.
Pool 3 is for those who have been unsuccessful for at least 15 years. Applicants will have 27 ballots.
"Compared to the system now in place, the success rate for applicants who have failed to get drawn for the last 10 years will double under our new system,'' said Northrup. "There are still going to be many more people applying for a moose licence than available licences, but this improves the odds for New Brunswick hunters who have waited a long time for a chance to take part in this hunt.''
The minister announced other changes to the moose draw, all of which will be in effect for this fall.
The legal hunting age for the "designate" moose hunter will be reduced to 16 from 18, and RCMP members and regular members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are New Brunswick residents will be eligible for "designate" hunter status.
Northrup said the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation worked with Department of Natural Resources' staff to develop the new pool system, and the federation has endorsed the new system.
The minister also announced the number of available moose licences for New Brunswick residents will be increased by almost 800 to more than 4,350.
"This has been accomplished by adding licences in wildlife management zones where we have seen a high number of moose/vehicle collisions,'' he said. "Our goal is to reduce accidents while providing more opportunities for moose hunters. This increase will not reduce the current population in those zones but will control the rate at which the moose population is growing.''
The application period for the residential moose draw begins May 16.