HISTORY OFA PHEASANT HUNTING RESOLUTION (January 9/12)

At meetings of the local wildlife association and in this column, I’ve mentioned various times I’d like to see one pheasant season for the entire province. As it stands now, the pheasant season opens October 1 outside the Annapolis Valley and on November 1 in the Valley.

The later Valley season originally was set to keep hunters out of farm fields and orchards during the prime harvesting period. There’s no argument here that this was a good idea. A few hunters were giving everyone a bad name by ignoring the right of landowners to control who hunts on their land and when they can hunt.

Let’s fast forward. Eventually hunting regulations were changed to require permission to hunt on cultivated land. This should have been good enough to keep hunters out of orchards and farm fields during the harvesting period. With this change I figured a shorter Valley season shouldn’t have been necessary.

More than a few members of the Kings County Wildlife Association apparently agreed with me. About a year ago the vice-president of the Association introduced a resolution that in effect, requested a pheasant hunting season from October 1 to December 15 throughout the province. This resolution was passed by the membership and was taken to the annual general meeting of the Federation of Anglers and Hunters last March. The resolution was approved there and then was placed with the appropriate government department for consideration.

It is highly unlikely the government will agree to have a province-wide pheasant season opening on October 1. However, while the government was considering the resolution – it still is at this time – the Kings County Wildlife Association had second thoughts. Apparently worried about their image as a conservation group, some of the senior members of the Association decided that passing the resolution wasn’t a good idea. Opening the pheasant season on October 1, ran the reasoning, would cause too many hunter/farmer conflicts at harvesting time, despite regulations requiring permission to hunt on cultivated land.

Even though I’d like to see the same season province-wide for pheasant hunting, I agree with this. Maintaining good farmer/hunter relations is important. We’ve reached a reasonable balance in the Valley and to use a cliché, upsetting the applecart now wouldn’t be a good idea.

Meanwhile, the pheasant resolution sits somewhere on a government desk and the Association ponders what action, if any, it can take to make sure it dies there. I believe it will die there anyway and there’s no need to panic. There’s no sensible reason for opening the pheasant season an additional month in the Valley counties, even though some hunters would like to see it happen. From a conservation point of view, given the current status of the pheasant population, it might make better sense to look at a shorter season in the Valley and elsewhere in the province.

That decision, of course, is up to the Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists.

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