Crossbows in NB for 2011

At the NBWF AGM in Moncton (April 2010) the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Wally Stiles announced that he would take the steps necessary to make crossbows legal for hunting for all species of game as soon as possible.

This had been proposed by the NBWF and although there was one stipulation it was certainly good news for the Federation. It appeared that DNR was not ready to allow crossbows to be used in hunting deer during the special archery season, this was the stipulation. This is unfortunate but certainly the Federation will be working to have crossbows included in all archery seasons in the future.

Now fast forward to 2011:
The following news release was issued by the Minister’s office; this was good news since the Federation was hoping that the new Minister, the Honourable Bruce Northrup would keep this initiative on track. It is also important to note that the Minister made an announcement supporting this news release at the NBWF AGM in April 2011.

Legislation introduced to permit crossbows used for hunting

01 April 2011

FREDERICTON (CNB) – A bill to legalize the use of crossbows for hunting was introduced in the legislative assembly today by Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.

“Under these amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Act, New Brunswickers would be permitted to use crossbows for the hunting of all species and in all hunting seasons with the exception of the bow-only hunting season for deer,” said Northrup. “This is something hunters have requested, and we are pleased to make this a reality.”

The Department of Natural Resources has consulted with the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation and the New Brunswick Professional Outfitter Guide Association on the amendments. The intent is to permit the use of crossbows beginning with this fall’s hunting season for all small and large game animals.

New Brunswick is one of only three provinces that prohibit the use of crossbows for hunting.

The amendments would establish the rules under which the use of crossbows would be permitted in New Brunswick. They would include a minimum discharge distance of 100 metres from dwellings, which is the same distance as for other types of bows, and a requirement for crossbow hunters to complete successfully a bow hunter education course or show proof that they have previously held a bow hunting licence.

What does this mean to NB Hunters in 2011?

Since it will be late summer before this becomes law crossbow hunters will not be permitted to use crossbows during the spring black bear hunt (2011) but should be able to use crossbows during the fall black bear (archery only) season and subsequently all seasons except for the archery season for deer. Crossbows will be permitted to be used when hunting under the authority of a Varmint licence and for hunting ruffed grouse and varying (snowshoe) hare, as well as other species.

The NBWF is hoping that DNR will come up with a system to gather statistics regarding the use of crossbows and be able to identify the number of hunters and their success rates while hunting with crossbows at least for the big game species (deer, bear and moose). A recent reply from the Minister to me stated that he has proposed to allow crossbows to be used in the existing 4 week firearm season for deer; monitor participation by crossbow hunters for 2 to 3 years to determine what percentage of crossbow hunters make use of crossbows; and then make a decision whether or not to allow crossbows to be used in the archery season for deer.

It is expected that Crossbow Hunter Education Courses will be available in NB this summer. Please contact your local DNR office for more info on Crossbow Hunter Education and /or hunting regulations regarding crossbows.

This is an exciting new hunting opportunity for New Brunswick hunters and these new opportunities, while common in other provinces, are certainly not common here. Crossbows have no recoil and do not require super-human strength to pull or hold and are therefore welcomed by female shooters who dislike recoil and for any hunters who have sustained shoulder or arm injuries or even by those of us in the senior categories. Many vertical bow hunters look forward to trying crossbows although they may not totally desert their compounds or recurves. The rest is the same as hunting with vertical bows and in reality crossbows could be a great introduction to hunting with vertical bows.

Crossbow Organizations:

The NBWF would like to encourage and promote the formation of clubs and/or associations within the Federation consisting of hunters interested in hunting with crossbows. A similar group exists in NS and is in its third year. This group is the NS Association of Crossbow Hunters (NSACH). You can find their website at should you be interested.

Should you be interested in forming a similar group or simply exchanging information regarding hunting or even target shooting with crossbows please contact the NBWF Wildlife Committee Chair

N.B. Department of Energy and Resource Development…