Changes to Wildlife Act

Department of Natural Resources

August 31, 2005 9:54 AM

Recent changes to regulations under the Nova Scotia Wildlife Act will help reduce the risk of dogs becoming accidentally captured during the trapping season.

The changes clarify rules about the control of dogs in wildlife habitat, increase the distance allowed for setting traps near dwellings and require dog-proof enclosures on smaller-sized traps.

These changes are effective immediately.

Another change, which requires that all traps be marked with a unique identification number, will be implemented Oct. 15, 2006, so trappers can get their new Wildlife Resources Cards with the identification numbers.

"Hunting and trapping are long-standing, traditional activities in rural Nova Scotia. The Department of Natural Resources recognizes the need to maintain humane and practical tools and methods for these activities," said Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt. "We also want to balance those needs with the interests of other outdoor recreational users, including people who are accompanied by their dogs."

As a result:
-- Traps may not be set within 274 metres (previously 182 metres) of a dwelling, school, playground, athletic field or place of business without permission of the owner or occupier or the written authorization of a conservation officer for the purposes of trapping nuisance wildlife. This is not necessary if a box trap or submarine trap is used.

-- Body-gripping traps (conibear type) larger than 12 centimetres (previously 16 centimetres) may only be used if they are at least 153 centimetres (five feet) off the ground, in or over water, or in a dog-proof enclosure.

-- It is now illegal to set most traps within 15 metres of the travelled portion of a public road or a publicly operated walking trail. This is a new regulation.

-- By Oct. 15, 2006, all traps must be marked by the trapper's unique identification number.

-- Dogs in wildlife habitat must be under the control and in the sight of their owners or handlers unless they are being used for hunting as allowed under the Wildlife Act and regulations.

Existing regulations already state that traps may not be set on cultivated land without permission of the owner or occupier unless a box trap or submarine trap is used and that a person may not trap on private forest land without permission if the owner has posted signs which prohibit trapping without permission.

For more information contact officials at a regional office of the Department of Natural Resources.


     The province has introduced new trapping regulations to

address public concerns about accidental capture of dogs in traps

set for wildlife.

     The changes to regulations under the Wildlife Act

increase the distance trappers must keep between their traps and

nearby homes and pathways, require dog-proof enclosures on

smaller traps, and state that all traps must bear a unique

identification number by October 2006. Another change clarifies

the rules requiring control of dogs in wildlife habitat.

     Hunting and trapping are important traditional activities in

rural Nova Scotia, says Natural Resources Minister Richard

Hurlburt. However, these activities must be managed in a way to

ensure a balance with the interests of other recreational users,

including people accompanied by their dogs.


Contact: Mary Anna Jollymore
         Natural Resources

         Tim Dunne
         Natural Resources