Nova Scotians enjoy hiking, canoeing, cycling, fishing, bird watching, horseback riding, off road riding, and hunting in Nova Scotia’s natural environment. Some of these activities are regulated, with limits on where and when they can occur. Hunters must be licenced and may hunt during designated seasons. The Nova Scotia Wildlife Act states in s.71(1) that no one is allowed to go hunting on Sundays, except as provided in the Act or regulations. Mostly, hunting is prohibited on Sundays. The exceptions from the ban on Sunday hunting are fur harvesting, bear snaring, snowshoe hare snaring, and falconry. Government is considering lifting the ban on Sunday hunting for all types of hunting and is asking for your feedback. The primary reason for removing the ban would be to provide hunters additional opportunities to hunt. Improved population management could be a secondary benefit if the ban was lifted, but bag limits would remain the same.
Rules and Regulations
The Nova Scotia Wildlife Act and associated regulations establish the rules for where and when people can hunt. Public safety is an important issue and Nova Scotia’s hunting laws have established a hunter education program and minimum distances to address this concern: novascotia.ca/natr/hunt/
These safety standards are effective and will remain. Hunters must complete both Canadian Firearms Safety and Hunter Education courses where hunters learn and practice safe firearm handling and hunter ethics. Hunting accidents are rare and almost never involve non-hunters. Strong penalties for safety violations are in place and actively enforced by DNR Conservation Officers, who also respond to public concerns, and generally deter unsafe behaviour with their presence in the woods on routine patrols. Public safety and the safe enjoyment of the outdoors for all users is a priority for Government.
Sustainability of Hunting
As in other jurisdictions, hunting is integral to sustainable wildlife management in Nova Scotia and will continue to be a major conservation tool in the 21st century. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has been a proven, sustainable solution to manage wildlife. It requires maintaining wildlife as a public trust, prohibiting the unsustainable commerce of wildlife products, allocating wildlife by law, promoting the use of wildlife for legitimate purposes, preserving hunting for all, recognizing wildlife as a resource, and using science as the basis for management and policy. Nova Scotian hunters contribute towards biodiversity conservation by purchasing Wildlife Habitat Stamps which fund programs for the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitats. Hunting is also a significant economic activity in North America, and generates millions of dollars of revenue in Nova Scotia for retailers and service providers through the responsible use of this resource. For these reasons, it is important Nova Scotia is ensuring that this activity continues to be safe, healthy and sustainable.