Hunting is the art of killing or trapping wild animals with the intent of using them as food, extracting their products or taming them. Hunting can also act as a means of pest control, although this practice is rare in the modern world. Trapping is the art of capturing animals using a metallic, wooden or fabric trap. Most nations have developed hunting guidelines that differentiate between lawful hunting from poaching. Illegal trapping and killing of the hunted or endangered species is known as poaching and is punishable by law.
For individuals to be eligible for hunting, they must complete a provincial or state hunter education course and be issued with a Certificate of Competency in Hunter Safety and Firearms. After completion of the course, they must acquire a hunting license that permits them to engage in lawful hunting. Youths aged below 13 years are not eligible to take the course. However, hunting on private property is exempted from this requirement. Kids who are aged twelve years or less are granted an exemption, but they must be issued a hunting license and be accompanied by their guardian or parent. Hunting a furbearer is not subject to age limit, although youths below 15 years can only hunt under the directive and supervision of adults.
A person who attempts to trap or traps furbearers such as coyote, beaver, fisher, mink, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, muskrat, skunk, raccoon, opossum, river otter and red fox under the authority granted by a Furbearer Permit are required to possess a Certificate of Trapper Education issued by the department or authorized designee of the department.
Lawful hunting and trapping are regulated by the state through various rules and regulations. Any hunter who fails to observe these hunting guidelines may face a jail term or have his hunting certificate cancelled.
The main general trapping guidelines include the following:
- Bag limits are not subject to restriction, except for river otters.
- All snares and traps must be examined, and all trapped game animals removed once each day.
- All foot-encapsulating or foothold traps set on land should have not less than two swiveling points.
- The covering of foothold set on land must be practiced.
- Submerged foothold traps must not contain an inside jaw spread exceeding 8-1/4 inches.
- Deadfalls are illegal
- The setting of foothold traps with an inside jaw spread exceeding 5-3/8 inches is prohibited.
- Foothold traps exceeding 5-3/8 inches but not more than six inches can be used provided their swiveling points are at least three and the surface for gripping exceeds 5/16 inch.
- No snares or trap shall be set within a distance of 150 feet of people’s occupied residence without giving clear advice to the residents.
- Body-gripping traps set in a tile, den, burrow or any other place on land must not contain a jaw spread with an inside diameter exceeding 5 inches.
- Body-gripping traps that contain a jaw spread with an inside diameter exceeding 5 inches, but not more than 7 inches, can be used to capture aquatic animals by setting them in a natural body of water.
- Body-gripping traps containing a jaw spread with an inside diameter exceeding 7 inches should be entirely submerged and should only be used during river otter or beaver season.
- All captured furbearers must be released instantaneously at the site they were captured or killed immediately, which reduces them to hunter’s possession.
- It is not permitted to disturb a legally laid snare or trap or interfere with a furbearer or game animal trapped by another person without his consent.
- All fresh baits shall be completely covered.
- The gripping surface of traps shall not have teeth.
General Hunting Regulation
According to the general hunting regulation, it is unlawful to:
- Conduct hunting activities while drunk or under the influence of narcotic drugs.
- Trap or hunt game birds or mammals on a privately owned land without permission of the owner. The right to hunt on another person’s property shall be null and void unless it is made in writing.
- Hunt game birds and animal on Sunday unless the hunter has been granted exception by the state through written edict.
- Hunt other animals rather than deer, immediately after the Deer Firearms Season begins, except sea duck found in the Sea Duck Zone.
- Carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle, including ammunitions in a muzzleloader or magazine ready to fire.
- Display or carry a loaded crossbow in the vehicle. A loaded crossbow means a cocked crossbow with a bolt or arrow in the firing position.
- Shoot across, on or from any public road.
- Trap, hunt or shoot at a target within a distance of 150 yards of a camp or residential building without permission of the occupant or owner. In some regions, this distance is limited to 100 or 50 yards.
- Discharge firearms within 300 yards of a learning institution while hunting. This prohibition is only effective when the building is occupied or during school hours. Institutions such as universities, colleges, and home schools are excluded in this safety zone.
- Cast artificial light rays from a vehicle on orchards, woods, fields, livestock, wild birds or mammals, buildings or dwellings. In some regions, hunters intending to take a photograph are exempted from this prohibition provided that they are unarmed and it is not past 9:00 pm. However, foxes, coyotes, raccoons or opossums may be hunted at nighttime by use of light or a dog, although this activity can only be conducted on foot during open season.
- Shoot a target on state properties except in selected areas.
- Trap on state properties without permission in written form issued by the controlling agency.
- Hunt without some form of identification.
Crossbow Safety Tips
If you’re using a crossbow, then follow these safety tips.
- Maintain an effective range of 40 yards.
- Before you pull the trigger, be certain of the arrow’s hit point.
- It is risky to climb or walk with a cocked crossbow loaded with an arrow.
- Examine your target’s background visually before shooting.
- If the animal is alert or excited, refrain from shooting.
- If you have doubt about the shot or the animal you are shooting is not visible enough, do not shoot.
- Your crossbow should not be loaded or cocked when not in use.
Firearms Safety Tips
With any sort of firearm, safety is paramount.
- Handle every firearm with absolute caution whether loaded or not.
- Always examine the barrel and action to ensure that they are free of any obstructions and that the gun has ammunition of the required size.
- Never pull the trigger if you are uncertain of the target. Before you shoot, always confirm the identifying feature distinguishing your target and what lies beyond the target.
- Refrain from unnecessarily aiming a firearm at anything you come across in the woods.
- Firearms must be transported in cases to the hunting area.
- Unload guns after hunting and return them to cases for safe transportation.
- Never jump into a ditch or climb a tree with a loaded gun.
- Refrain from pulling the gun by the muzzle.
- Always lock your gun using a trigger lock.
- If you intend to use firearms in hunting, avoid consumption of alcohol or narcotic drugs.
A tree stand should be used carefully and in the right way to prevent accidental falls that can cause injuries. Tree stand accidents constitute a high percentage of hunters’ injuries in most regions of the world. When transitioning from a gadget used for climbing to a tree and vice versa, an accident is likely to happen if the hunter is not cautious. Hunter’s injuries can also be caused by a tree stand failure or incorrect installation of a newly bought stand.
The following are some vital tree stand safety tips:
- Ensure that your tree stand is well crafted and follow the manufacturer’s directions during its installation. Also, ensure that you only climb healthy trees.
- Inspect tree stands and replace any weak and worn out part before engaging in hunting activities.
- Always use a tree stand or climbing device when climbing a tree.
- While climbing a tree, it is recommended to use a fall restraint system.
- While in a tree stand, a full body safety harness should be used as part of a fall restraint system, rather than a waist rope or belt.
- Since platforms or steps might be slippery in sleet, rain or snow, it is advisable to wear boots fitted with non-skid soles when hunting.
- Rather than carrying hunting items when climbing, use a haul line to fetch them into and out of the stand. Firearms should be unloaded and any broadhead covered while raising or lowering crossbows or firearms during the haul.
- Never hunt from a tree if you’re feeling drowsy.
- Always create awareness about your hunting plan. This can be done by giving a map to another person depicting all the areas you intend to hunt. If you’re hunting alone, leave your hunting plan in your vehicle or at your camp since rescuers might need it in the case of emergency.
- Carry a survival pack containing a cell phone, flashlight, whistle, and a first aid kit.
Individuals who intend to hunt or trap game animals and birds on private property must obtain written permission from the property owner. However, they shall be liable for any damage they cause to the private property while hunting. On the other hand, the landowners are not liable for any damage or accidental injury inflicted on the hunter, whether or not they had issued the hunter with written permission to hunt on their property. If the property boundaries are posted in a conspicuous manner, it becomes illegal for any hunter to trespass without the consent of the landowner.
In most countries, the state is responsible for regulating hunting and trapping to prevent extinction, endangerment, and extirpation of game animals. The pursuit, capture, and release of aquatic animals and vertebrates such as fish for food or any other use is known as fishing, which is not classified as hunting. Gathering or foraging products from various plants including aquatic plants is also not categorized as hunting. However, there are rules and regulation put down by each state to safeguard aquatic species. In summary, hunters should conduct any hunting activity with due diligence and follow the hunting regulations. This will enable them to have a safe hunting experience and prevent them from breaking the law.
However, before you go hunting, you may want to check out the area with either a trail camera, hunting camera or wildlife camera. That way, you can see what is in the area before you go hunting.