FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will maintain a five-day moose season for 2016, and it is examining the potential of a split season of two, three-day hunts starting in 2017.

“After speaking to many hunters, outfitters and stakeholders around the province, we have decided to keep the five-day season in place for this year,” said Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry. “There are many advantages to the five days, including the fact that it gives hunters more flexibility in when they can hunt, and it helps alleviate crowding in the woods in some areas of the province.”

Many hunters have expressed concern about a number of issues related to the hunt, including over-crowding in wildlife management zones, particularly in northern New Brunswick, as well as processing capacity issues due to a limited number of meat cutters and butchers.

The department is examining the possibility of the two, three-day seasons. They would both be held in the fall, separated by two or three weeks.

Other jurisdictions have responded to similar concerns by establishing multiple hunting seasons. Nova Scotia, for example, has a limited entry draw similar to New Brunswick, and available licences are split among three seasons.

“Many New Brunswickers enjoy this seasonal activity, and they look forward to it every year,” said Landry. “We believe the split season option is worth considering to strike the right balance between meeting our conservation objectives and improving the experience of hunters. We are considering a number of factors such as the number of moose hunting licences offered, changes to licence draws and moose populations.” 

Landry reminded hunters who were accustomed to using a Medicare card to apply for the moose draw that this practice is being discontinued.

He urged hunters who used a Medicare card last year to apply for their Outdoor Card now and link their past history to the card so that their previous applications are not lost. The more one applies and is not drawn for a moose licence, the better the subsequent chances are of being drawn.

Last year, more than 60,000 people applied for 4,592 licences. There were 3,729 moose harvested.