Canadian province lowers minimum hunting age to 12

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Newfoundland has relaxed what was the most restrictive minimum-age requirement for hunters in North America, according to a recent news release from Delta Waterfowl.

Effective immediately, Newfoundland youths age 12 or older can hunt small game and ducks when accompanied by an adult, rather than waiting until age 16. Delta Waterfowl was at the forefront of the effort to pass the new rule, as part of its mission to ensure the tradition of waterfowl hunting in North America, it said in the release.

Youth hunting opportunities are more restrictive in Canada than in the United States, the release said. Whereas 39 U.S. states have no age restrictions, most Canadian provinces require hunters to be 12 years or older. The Duck Hunters Organization said that Canada's declining waterfowl hunter numbers — including a 40 percent decrease in Newfoundland since 1980 — might be attributed, in part, to young people becoming involved in other activities prior to reaching the minimum age to try duck hunting.

"Newfoundland's youngsters couldn't hunt ducks until they were nearly adults," said Jim Fisher, director of conservation policy for Delta Waterfowl. Fisher also recently aided the effort to lower Manitoba's youth hunting age from 12 to 10. "This change will encourage plenty of new duck hunters to get out and enjoy the province's ruggedly beautiful, wild landscape."

— Delta Waterfowl

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