HUNTER REGISTRY SEEMS LIKE A GOOD IDEA (October 7/13)

When a farmer had a problem with geese fouling up a pond he used to water his dairy herd, he solved it by calling a couple of hunters.

A friend was telling me about this last year. He was one of the hunters the farmer contacted; he says he had a great shoot – “we took a whack of geese out of the pond” – and the farmer’s problem was solved. The geese never came back.

Along a similar line, a farmer’s young apple orchard was being visited a little too often by hungry deer and trees were being destroyed. He wondered if anyone would like to cull the deer. I was one of the hunters the farmer mentioned this to. I passed word along to my deer hunting friends that they were welcome to set up a blind in the orchard if they contacted the farmer.

These sorts of situations are likely what the Federation of Anglers and Hunters had in mind when they suggested setting up a hunter registry farmers could access to help control nuisance wildlife. The idea is that hunters would be available if farmers were bothered by nuisance bears, raccoons, coyotes and deer. Tony Rodgers, the federation’s executive director, said recently the Department of Agriculture seems to be keen on the idea of a registry but nothing has been firmed up yet.

For a couple of reasons this is a good idea. Hunters, and trappers as well, need to build up rapport with landowners and having a registry could be one way to do it. Surely farmers would appreciate having a near at hand resource to call on when wildlife is a nuisance or is threatening.

The question is, how would it work? Would farmers take advantage of a hunter registry when problems arise with nuisance animals? Maybe, maybe not. Bow hunters and bear hunters tried setting up a registry a few years ago and it isn’t working; from what I hear few if any farmers have taken advantage of it.

The farmer/hunter who told me this story is still shaking his head. He called the Department of Natural Resources recently and asked why something wasn’t being done to bring back the Hungarian partridge. The answer he got was that we (“we” meaning Natural Resources I suppose) don’t introduce birds that aren’t native to Nova Scotia.

Hello? Run that by us again. Huns were already introduced here, away back in 1926. After a few stops and starts and a couple of restocking they flourished and a hunting season was opened early in the 1940s. Eventually, after about 50 years, Huns declined and almost disappeared; the hunting season was closed.

This bit of Hun history makes the response that we don’t introduce birds that aren’t native a bit ….. Well, you fill in the right word here. I’m thinking “mysterious,” or “uninformed.”

Good-sized striped bass are still being caught here and there along beaches and in tidal streams and that doesn’t surprise me. I recall that when I was growing up, most striped bass anglers never got serious until October. Today, most of the striper activity seems to take place through summer.

When I say “good-sized striped bass,” by the way, I’m talking about fish running to the 100 cm mark. Fish in this size range are being caught nowadays in the surf and in tidal streams.

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