Hunting can be an individual passion or something passed down from generation to generation but, despite your skill level, there is always a possibility of hurting someone.
Ross Davidson, a master instructor who teaches the Canadian Firearm Safety Course throughout the Nechako Region, says there used to be a high number of people getting shot during hunting season but those numbers have dwindled since he began teaching the course.
“People were mistaking Johnny Smith for Bullwinkle and now instead of flying by the seat of their pants, people are going out and learning the proper way being taught by professionals. You can’t shoot a moose without a gun and you can’t possess a gun without a Possession and Acquisition License,” said Mr. Davidson.
To acquire a gun legally in Canada a person needs a PAL License. To get a PAL you must pass the Canadian Firearm Safety Course, which consists of approximately 12 hours of in class learning and a practical exam to show the instructor that you know how to safely handle a gun. You are also required to submit your spouses name so they can be asked about your temperament along with two other character references. This federal license is applicable in every province but Quebec, and is renewable every five years with an updated photo.
“But you cannot get a license and tags without a hunting number, and you cannot get a hunting number without the Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) course,” said Mr. Davidson, a course he also teaches once a year. “It’s your key to the hunting world of this province.”
The CORE course is offered at the CNC in Fort St. James and Vanderhoof in the fall and is a provincial educational tool for persons aged 10 and up interested in hunting. The program is a 23 to 26 hour course teaching participants about conservation, ethics, laws and regulations, outdoor survival, firearm safety, and identifying animals.
“Knowing what an animal looks like is one of the most important parts of hunting,” says Mr. Davidson. “Provincial and Federal regulations tell hunters exactly what they can hunt and it is the hunters job to identify the animal before they shoot.”
Hunting is also regulated in accordance to regions the land falls under.
Each region is cut into management units and has its own rules and boundaries. Within those boundaries hunters are allowed to hunt certain game at certain times with certain methods. All the regulations can be found in the BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, which stays current for two years. This hunter’s bible can be found at the hardware store where tags and licenses can also be purchased.