Bird shooting season gets going today
The 2018 game bird season gets under way today and runs until Sunday, September 23, with two shooting sessions on Saturdays - from sunrise to 9 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to sunset. On Sundays, there will only be one shooting session - from sunrise to 9 a.m.
All hunters must ensure that they have a hunter's licence from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) or any of its authorised vendors and should also ensure that they have a valid taxpayer registration number and firearm licence/user's permit.
Only certain birds are allowed to be hunted - the bald pate or white-crowned pigeon, the pea dove or zenaida dove, the white-winged dove and the long-tailed pea dove or mourning dove.
No more than 20 birds can be shot in a session, and of these, no more than 15 should be the bald pate (white crowned pigeon). The heads of the birds must be kept for inspection.
Shooters must ensure that they do not shoot in game and forest reserves or within 50 metres of the boundaries of the reserves.
White-tailed deer hunt
For the first time, NEPA has officially enlisted the help of game bird to cull the white-tailed deer, which is wreaking havoc on crops in Portland and elsewhere.
"Currently, there is no law in Jamaica stopping a hunter from hunting the deer. It's not a protected species. It's an invasive," Damion Whyte, a member of the Invasive Alien Species Working Group told The Gleaner during a recent forum for hunters hosted by NEPA at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
"We are asking the hunters to do everything to make sure it's safe when they are hunting the deer. We don't want them to shoot a farmer in the bush, but other than that, everything is okay.
Meanwhile an example of the extent to which garbage is affecting local ecosystems was brought out in a glaring example of plastic recycling by a hermit crab, during the forum.
Damony Calder drew some nervous laughter, but more so expressions of shock and concern when his PowerPoint presentation highlighted a young hermit crab that had made its home in a 9-gauge cartridge casing suspected to have been ejected from a bird shooter's firearm.
"It's not a real shell but a shotgun shell. a shell that the hermit crab is recycling. The metal section is gone, but the plastic is still there, so we are asking you, 'Please don't leave the shells out there'," Calder, acting fauna coordinator at NEPA, appealed to hunters.