I recently wrote a letter to Paul Robichaud appealing calibre restrictions for varmint hunting and Sunday hunting restrictions, mainly siting outdated laws and beliefs as my argument (compared to other province and state regulations). This was the response I received today, just thought I would post it for others that are interested in these subjects to see. If there are any mistakes I apologize, I had to retype the letter as it was in a pdf file that I couldn't copy paste from or upload.
Thank you for your email expressing your concerns about Sunday hunting restrictions and about calibre restrictions for hunting coyotes during certain hunting seasons.
In 2008, the provincial government undertook a review of its legislation pertaining to firearms use on Sundays and consulted numerous stakeholders involved in this issue. These stakeholders included hunters, landowner groups, public agencies, hunting groups, non-hunting groups, aboriginal groups and the public.
Amendments made to the Fish and Wildlife Act were a direct result of this consultation process. Since these changes have only been in effect since 2008, the provincial government is not prepared to propose further modifications to this legislation at this time.
The current calibre restriction that applies during the varmint hunting season and small game hunting season was enacted in 1986. It is intended to reduce the opportunity and ability of poachers to kill big-game animals, specifically, moose and deer.
The restriction to allow only centrefire rifles of less that 0.23 calibre is a compromise between those hunters who wish to have a long-range hunting implement and liberal hunting seasons for the medium-sized coyote; and those hunters and the public who are concerned about illegal harvest of wildlife and only want hunting to take place during the traditional fall hunting seasons.
In addition, the 10-week spring bear hunting season allows bear license holders to hunt both bears and coyotes while using a larger-calibre firearm, which also provides some opportunity for large-calibre, long-range varmint hunting.
With the proper hunting licences, hunters can use large-calibre, centrefire rifles to hunt coyotes for more than 17 weeks of the year, with the remainder restricted to smaller calibre, centrefire rifles.
The Fish and Wildlife Act authorizes private landowners, without a license, to hunt ( with any calibre firearm) coyotes on their private lands, on any day throughout the year to prevent damage to their private property.
The department of Natural Resources believes the current regulations allow many opportunities for hunters to kill coyotes while restricting opportunities for the illegal harvest of big-game animals.
I take note of your concern about poachers using small calibre firearms to avoid law enforcement. Conservation officers rely heavily on tips from the public and would readily welcome reports of suspicious activity, either through a local office of the Department of Natural Resources or through the N.B. Crime Stoppers tip line at: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Thank you for your concern about the protection of New Brunswick's wildlife resources.
cc: Hon. Paul Robichaud, Minister of Natural Resources