It is nice, it is, to get a few sunny and mild days in a row. Do be grateful. April is only the seventh-straight month with snow on the ground in Bay of Islands. May may take care of it.
The arrival in the mail this week of the 2014-2015 Newfoundland Labrador Hunting and Trapping Guide perked things up for my post-April Fool’s Day deadline.
Understandably, the fatal capture and harvest of big and small game for native sustenance and availing the sport of the hunt translates as cultural tradition and economic opportunity all in one. This year, some 300 new licences are being added for the fall and winter moose hunt, bringing the total available for the open season to more than 31,000 on Newfoundland island. Labrador offers 275 licences this year, up 10.
Licence applications for moose and caribou are directly mailed to qualified resident hunters each year. The deadline for receipt of applications at government offices this year is May 2.
For one obvious reason, the guide makes a nice fit with the province’s resource sustainability plans, informing and encouraging users to strive toward mutually-sustainable goals, even as hunters and trappers, in turn, report and share their best observations from the field with wildlife resource managers.Useful info is always welcome. And, there’s a lot to know.
Good column fodder nonetheless, the annual wildlife management guide produced by the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation is mostly 64-pages of questions and answers for registered hunters and certified trappers.
Adventurers and family folk, they go looking to licence an opportunity and field test their skills at their own most meaningful pursuits in the great outdoors. You got to get your moose, b’y!
They even allow hunting in the national parks now. Get a guide. Check it out.
More than that, though, the newest of the annual guides — which go out in the tens of thousands to hunters and trappers around the Great Island and the Big Land — even has a picture of my buddy, Jamie, on its front cover this year.
Full colour. Full gloss. Full frontal, sideways partial profile.
Yes, all dressed in new camouflage gear with matching knapsack, wearing a blaze orange baseball-style cap and toting a high-powered moose tamer slung over his right shoulder, the big man with the blonde goatee gazing the wilderness cutover, there he was, my belated April Fool; and, me, still sizing up the cover art.
The missus fell for it, too.
Indeed, it may not be friend W.J. there depicted, but he surely bears the likeness. Big boy.
Just that our Jamie mostly likes shooting wildlife with a camera.
But, speaking of bears
The hunting of black bears with rifles on the Great Island and in the Big Land north happens in both spring and fall. Licenced hunters may take two bears on a single licence that spans both seasons. The spring season on the island runs May 2 to July 5 this year. In Labrador, it is already open. Preseason bow and arrow hunts are not permitted in Labrador and only on the island in the fall season. Bears may also be snared in government-approved foothold traps.
New hunters and trappers are required to complete firearm safety, wildlife education and training courses before being permitted to acquire licences in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The provincial wildlife guide additionally provides information on the rules and regulations of hunting and trapping, lists season opening and closing dates for successful licence holders and provides species update information on small mammals, woodland game birds, waterfowl, moose and caribou, as well as bear, beaver and other furbearers, including non-indigenous coyotes and wolves.
High-tech applications can be filed online, like before, and those using the Internet to do so by the May 2 deadline will each have a shot in another draw for a crack at three hunter prize packs. Each pack includes an electronic global positioning system (GPS) tracker, a survival kit, a backpack, a hunting knife, and blaze orange hat and safety vest. Last year’s winners are pictured in the guide.
Safe, knowledgeable and responsible outdoorsmanship is promoted.
Segway to end. First comes spring, then comes summer, then comes fall. Who says you can’t have it all? Just wait ‘til the ice goes out, there about. Or, not.
Until another winter, then, we need bid one fond adieu.
Next week: The first full week of April 6-12, is Volunteer Week in Bay of Islands, as anywhere else where people give freely of their hands and time to help make everything run a little smoother for all of us. We can commend them across the nation and the world.
FYI: A volunteer is a person who freely offers to do something, or, a person who works for organizations without being paid.
Other big dates this month coincide on lunar and Christian calendars, including family birthdays and anniversaries, that eclipse occurring at the full moon Passover April 15, Good Friday April 18, Easter Sabbath, The Third Day, Easter Monday, the end of Lenten. Then, there’s Earth Day the next day, April 22, St. George’s Day the 23rd, a return to good fishing coming at the disappearing new moon on April 29th, and the anniversary of my late father George’s birth, the ‘last day of April.’
Happy and sad is April, also a time of forgiving and rebirth.
April showers bring May flowers.
Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 688-2003, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.