The booklet circulated at the Federation of Anglers and Hunters annual convention (held last month in Bridgewater) is interesting reading; containing resolutions member groups of the Federation bring to the convention, the booklet tells you what some of the latest thinking is when it comes to fishing and hunting.
Citing a great scarcity of rabbits, for example, the Queens County Fish and Game Association presented a resolution requesting a shorter hunting and snaring season, November 15 to January 31. The Queens County Association also presented a resolution requesting clarity on the law regarding illegal feeding of wild ducks and geese. It is not generally understood that this it is illegal to feed wild waterfowl, says the Queens County Association; and mixed messages about its legality is being received by the public from Natural Resources and the Canadian Wildlife Service.
These are typical of the resolutions on fishing and hunting that often come out of the Federation’s annual convention. For the most part, however, the resolutions are a wish list. Being okayed at the Federation convention doesn’t mean any changes, additions or whatever in the fish and game regulations and seasons addressed by the resolutions will ever come to pass.
What really makes really interesting reading are annual reports from wildlife groups and Federation associated clubs that are published in the booklet. The reports usually review conservation and fish enhancement projects taking place around the province and other activities that benefit game and fish. From the reports, we can see that much good work on our behalf is being done by wildlife associations and clubs affiliated with the Federation.
Now we come to the reports distributed at the convention by the wildlife division of Natural Resources. It was no surprise when it was noted in the report (using Canadian Wildlife Service statistics) that there’s a long term decline in the number of woodcock hunters. Back about 30 to 40 years ago almost every shotgunner I knew hunted woodcock, either avidly or at least a few times a season. Nowadays, I’d be hard-pressed to name three or four serious woodcock hunters.
The DNR report also confirms what every upland hunter already knows – that pheasant harvests are declining rapidly, especially in some of the usually prime hunting areas in the Valley. While no figures are available for the season that just ended, Natural Resources says that in the 2011 season the harvest was down in Kings County by about 48 percent and in Annapolis County down 68 percent.
When harvest figures are tallied and calculated for the 2012 season I believe we’ll see another drop in the pheasant harvest. This opinion is based on talking with hunters up and down the Valley and on spending a lot of time last fall in the pheasant coverts.