New Brunswick bear hunt extended by two weeks

Changes to the New Brunswick Fish and Wildlife Hunt that take effect Sept. 1 will extend the firearms bear hunt by two weeks and allow successful hunters to buy a second licence.

Guide says longer hunt will boost revenues, control nuisance bears

A New Brunswick hunting guide says an extended hunting season will help control New Brunswick's nuisance bear population.

People who want to hunt bears in New Brunswick this fall using firearms will have an extra two weeks to do so.

The government is also going to allow hunters who have already harvested a black bear to buy a second hunting licence.

"This will also assist in controlling nuisance bears from a growing population,” said Dale Clark, president of the newly formed New Brunswick Professional Outfitter Guide Association.

Clark thanked the provincial government for the impending changes to the Fish and Wildlife Act and predicted they will be good for his industry.

“A five-day moose hunt and a two-week-longer bear season will make New Brunswick a desirable destination for hunting and fishing," said Clark.

The availability of a second licence for successful hunters will increase revenue and tourism, he said.

The government says the bear hunt supports the outfitting industry, which is worth $4 million to $5 million a year to the provincial economy.

The government says an estimated 10 to 15 per cent of hunters who have harvested a bear say they are willing to buy a second licence.

In the case of non-residents, the purchase of a second licence will depend on availability from an outfitter or guide or from the Department of Natural Resources.

The New Brunswick Wildlife Federation also requested a longer bear hunt.

"Because of the increase in bear numbers in recent years, we believe that the harvest of a second bear will be beneficial," said president Charles Leblanc.

Leblanc noted that members of the federation play a key role in managing the bear population, but asked the department to continue close monitoring so the best scientific data is used to maintain the valuable natural resource.

“New Brunswick has a healthy and increasing black bear population estimated at more than 16,500 animals," said Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud, "which makes these changes to the hunting season possible.” 

The bear hunt will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, but the last week in September will be restricted to bow and crossbow hunting. That will coincide with the annual moose hunt.

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