Regulations for 2005 Hunting Season

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The deer hunting season will be re-opened in Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) 8 this fall. Hunters now have the opportunity to hunt antlered deer (bucks only) in this zone during the archery and firearms season.

It is the responsibility of all hunters to be aware of the regulations and bag limits before they take to the woods this fall. Hunters should read Hunt & Trap 2005, New Brunswick's Hunting and Fur Harvesting Regulations and License Information summary. This publication provides hunters with an outline of game laws and regulations.

Regulation summaries and booklets outlining the boundaries of the 27 wildlife management zones in New Brunswick are available at license vendors and Natural Resources offices (DNR). This information is also available on the website at:, Keyword: Natural Resources.

The department is continuing its efforts to help increase the New Brunswick deer population. Biologists estimate there are about 90,000 deer in the province, which is up from 60,000 in 2000. The average annual harvest is in the 6,500 range and wildlife managers and hunters alike are anxious to see deer populations grow.

"Back in 2000, we made a commitment to take aggressive action to help the deer herd grow by dramatically reducing the number of doe tags, which allowed more female deer a chance to reproduce," DNR deer biologist Rod Cumberland said. "Our deer population has responded and we have seen steady growth which has resulted in a corresponding increase in harvest."

Natural Resources has only made a small increase in the number of doe tags for hunters. This year 3,180 tags are available. In 1999, before biologists took aggressive action to grow the deer herd, 18,000 doe tags were available for hunters.

"Our hunters have supported our efforts and hopefully in the next few years, when our deer herd grows to around 120,000 animals, we will be able to increase the number of doe tags," Cumberland said. "The last two winters have been fairly good, which has also helped the deer herd grow in New Brunswick."

Bow hunters can start hunting deer on Oct. 3 and the archery only season runs until Oct. 22. The regular deer season runs from Oct. 24 - Nov. 19 for hunters using firearms and/or bows. Hunting is not permitted on Sundays.

Hunters who are 19 and younger and all first-time hunters are required to take a firearms safety and hunter education course, and all bow hunters are required to take a bow hunter education course. All first-time trappers must take a trapper education course. Anyone interested in taking a course should contact a DNR office for more information. Courses in first aid, orienteering and map and compass reading are also beneficial for hunters.

Hunters must keep firearms stored securely in their homes, under lock and key, and must keep those firearms out of reach of children at all times.

"It is illegal to discharge any firearm within 200 metres or a rifle within 400 metres of a dwelling, school, place of business or waste disposal site," said Kristian Moore, DNR's Manager of Enforcement. "It is also against the law to shoot from a motorized vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a motorized vehicle."

Migratory bird hunters require a valid New Brunswick hunting licence and a Canada migratory game bird hunting permit which can be purchased at a Canada post office. Waterfowl hunters 14 and 15 years old require firearm safety and hunter education certificates and must be accompanied by an adult.

Hunters should do advance scouting in the area where they plan to hunt. It is important to become familiar with landmarks, such as streams, ridges and roads.

Dusk falls early during autumn and a hunter may become disorientated or confused in an unfamiliar area after the sun goes down.

"It is important to check out an area to find out if the land is privately owned or posted to restrict hunters," Moore said. "If the land is privately owned and not posted, it is always wise to talk to the landowner and ask permission to hunt on the property."

New Brunswick landowners have the right to post their property for hunting, shooting, snaring or trapping. Yellow disks or yellow painted bands mean people must get permission before participating in these activities. Red disks or red painted bands mean no hunting, shooting, snaring or trapping by anyone, including the land owner. Blue discs are used on agricultural lands and prohibit use of motorized vehicles.

Well-prepared hunters always examine their hunting equipment and clothing before going hunting. Repairs, knife sharpening and other maintenance should be carried out well before opening day. Hunters should also check their firearms before the start of hunting season, making sure all firearms are clean and in good working order. There are many recognized firing ranges in New Brunswick where hunters can make sure their guns fire properly and shoot accurately.

From Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, all hunters, and guides accompanying hunters, are required to wear at least 2,580 square centimetres (400 square inches) of solid fluorescent hunter orange on their upper body, and a hat of solid fluorescent hunter orange, except when hunting waterfowl.

Many outdoor enthusiasts carry small backpacks on hunting trips. These packs should include matches, small first aid kits, whistles, candles, chocolate bars, nuts or canned food. These items may benefit hunters during emergencies in the woods.

First-time big game hunters should know how to field dress an animal and care for the meat properly. Reading magazine articles, watching videos or asking other people will help new hunters deal with this important part of the hunt.

Hunters should also be prepared to report violations against fish and wildlife resources. These violations can be reported to district DNR ranger offices or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Hunters are encouraged to carry a small notebook and pen in their backpacks to record information, such as the description of violators, nature of the offence, location, and vehicle license plate numbers.

These are a few things hunters can do to prepare for the 2005 hunting season. With fall in the air, many people are getting ready to enjoy this great recreational activity and respect the history and tradition of hunting in New Brunswick.