Hunting age should be lowered, group says
A hunting and fishing group is calling on the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to lower the age at which young people are able to hunt with guns — from 16 to 12.
The Newfoundland Federation of Hunters and Anglers says having a higher age limitation may deter young people from taking up hunting.
Barry Fordham, spokesperson for the group, said he doesn't want young people to lose interest.
"Hunting is not just about the killing or getting of the animal or the game," Fordham said. "It's about everything that goes along with it — the family tradition, the planning, the memories, the sharing of knowledge."
Fordham bring his son Shane, 10, hunting with him to have bonding time similar to the way he and his father hunted together.
However, he said there is already a reduction in the number of hunters out in the field.
Fordham said the group is recommending the age restrictions be lowered, along with adding adult supervision for the younger hunters who would then be able to hunt with a gun.
"It's very important to stress that we are not giving a kid a gun to go out into the field by themselves," Fordham said. "It's under strict, qualified, adult supervision."
In other provinces, 12-year-olds are able to go hunting with a gun, and can shoot small game with adult supervision in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Tom Hedderson, the minister of environment and conservation, said the province is considering a similar approach, but that they're still looking at how it works in other provinces before changing regulations here.