Covid-19 may be forcing NB Hunting regulations to move forward
It’s probably not news to anyone, but New Brunswick has some pretty backward regulations when it comes to hunting and fishing.
Every time you harvest a big game animal in NB you currently must present the entire carcass, in person to a registration station where the animal is officially recorded, and you are provided with a registration tag and meat permit. As mentioned above, this may mean needing to drive a considerable distance in the heat of late June just to register that bear you harvested. We’ve all heard horrifying tales of the hunter who harvested a big animal and lost it to the heat and spoilage. If someone in Port Elgin harvested a big boar minutes on Saturday June 15th last year, they may have found themselves driving all the way to Lyon’s Country Store in Moncton to register it, nearly an hour’s drive in each direction. By the time they arrived back to their local butcher, they could be turned away at the door.
This brings me to our point: COVID-19 has added nothing but uncertainty to our world right now. “Social Distancing” and “Planking the Curve” are the most important things to consider right now, do we really need to put ourselves and others at risk by visiting these registration stations? We don’t believe so, and it appears the Minister of Natural Resources Mike Holland agrees. He recently told us: “I’ve been wanting to bring us into the 21st century with online registrations anyway, this virus might fast forward that.”
Many other provinces and jurisdictions no longer require in person registration, instead opting for mandatory online or phone registration. These jurisdictions have found that compliance has actually increased (sometime greatly) since dropping the requirement for in person registrations. They’re finding they’ve gotten better data, and part of this system involves online meat permits… killing two birds with one stone, if you will.
Another example of a ridiculous regulation that could be solved by online or phone registration: let’s say you shoot a 200 pound Black Bear in early September, win “the lottery” and shoot a 900 pound Moose in late September, and manage to complete the “NB Grand Slam” with a 200 pound Whitetail in October. In this magical world where dreams come true, we can say after being generous with your hunting partners, you may have found yourself with 500 pounds of delicious and healthy wild game meat in your freezer on November 1st.
New Brunswick Regulations require that all wild game meat harvested in the fall hunting season be consumed or discarded by June 30th of the following year. Doing some simple math for simple folk like me, that means that you have 242 days to eat 500 pounds of meat, else risk the province considering you a poacher for having venison in your freezer on July 1st. Now my family loves our wild game, but we’re not going to eat 2 pounds a day and never indulge in the odd bucket of fried chicken. Meat Permit extensions are, of course, available by going in person to your nearest DNR office (which may mean hours of driving in some parts of the province), but the process isn’t entirely friendly. In a world of vacuum sealers and freezers, there’s no valid reason we can think of why New Brunswick hasn’t gotten rid of this antiquated rule, or at least updated it to a modern world with online permit renewals.
Minister Holland has been doing his best to update some of these antiquated regulations, recently passing legislation to dramatically increasing the number of Sundays we can hunt, working toward ending absurd caliber usage restrictions and this is just another measure we hope he can get out there sooner rather than later. For the first time in my memory, we have one of our own in the Minister’s chair, and it shows.
We will continue to try to bring you outdoor news and fun stories amidst the uncertainty, but we would also love to hear and spotlight some of your stories in this uncertain time. We’d like nothing more than to tell great outdoor related stories to take our minds away from being stuck inside and away from our friends and family. If you’d like for us to help you tell the tale of your biggest buck, perhaps a story of your daughter’s biggest fish, or if we can help to dispel that myth you’ve always wondered about; contact us and we’ll help!
Contact us and let us know!