PANNING THE HUNTING/TRAPPING BOOKLET (October 8/12)

I’d bet most of the summary of regulations booklets handed out when you purchase a hunting license end up gathering dust somewhere and rarely are looked at by hunters. Well maybe one or two of the report forms are utilised and season dates are checked, but that’s about it I’d say.

However, utilised or not, unread and ignored or not, the booklets are issued season after season without fail. The Department of Natural Resources apparently feels obligated to issue the booklets so hunters and trappers know when they can do their thing. The advertisements and notices may change, but for the most part the content of the booklet remain the same year after year. In other words, it’s dull reading and wasted printing on the government’s part. Except for season dates, bag limits and any occasional regulation changes, which are the necessary things we need to know, the remainder of the booklet is of little use to the majority of hunters and trappers.

One exception may be the page listing sunrise and sunset times. This is an important, useful guide. Take note, however, that the times given are for Halifax, Yarmouth and Sydney. If you hunt in the Annapolis Valley you’re left on your own (by “rough reckoning” maybe) to determine legal shooting times. But then, maybe the government figures no one hunts much between Halifax and Yarmouth.

I mentioned “dull reading.” How about confusing reading? Take a look at the descriptions of the various deer management zones and tell me a lawyer didn’t write them. Or tried to write them. After I read them and in my mind took all those “southerly” and “westerly” turns along this or that river, boundary edge or power line I was lost. Once when I tried to follow the directions I wound up beside an old outhouse on a back road.

But confusing as they are, someone did an admirable job of describing the boundaries of the management zones. I wouldn’t want to try it.

Anyway, as mentioned, the booklet is a summary and a summary only, of the regulations. A note in the booklet advises us to seek out the original Wildlife Act if we require further clarification of the regulations. As if anyone would but backwoods lawyers.

For a while now, by the way, someone has attempted to be politically correct (if that’s the correct term) when posting the bag limit and seasons on pheasants in the booklet. No more do we hunt cock pheasants in the uplands. However, there’s a season and a bag limit on “male pheasants.” Following this line, I assume we’re still not supposed to bag female pheasants.

And what happened to buck deer? Oh, they’re antlered deer now. There must have been something lewdly suggestive about the word “buck” that I missed. Otherwise, why drop it.

At least they haven’t started referring to deer as male and female. But give them time. They may yet.

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