NEPA to host hunters' forum
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will host two meetings with hunters ahead of the start of the 2018 Game Bird Shooting Season, which gets under way on Saturday, August 18, and runs until Sunday, September 23.
The findings of research on game birds and matters relating to the management and the impact of invasive species such as the white-tailed deer will be discussed at Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, St James on Wednesday, August 8, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The second forum will take place at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Friday, August 10.
The aim is to raise awareness among members of the sport-shooting fraternity about the Wild Life Protection Act and regulations for the game-bird hunting season. This includes information about the types of animals that may be hunted, distinguishing between game birds, and protected birds, bag limits, shooting dates, prohibited sanctuaries, and breaches and penalties under the Wild Life Protection Act.
Some 55 hunters participated in the last such forum held in Kingston in July 2014, when the issues addressed included management of game birds, the tree-planting programme, enforcement and compliance.
The Wild Life Protection (Declaration of Shooting Season) Order permits the hunting of four birds: the zenaida dove/pea dove, the white-winged dove, the white-crowned pigeon/baldpate and the mourning dove/long-tailed pea dove.
Hunting sessions are from sunrise to 9:00 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to sunset on Saturdays, and from sunrise to 9:00 a.m. on Sundays. The overall bag limit per shooting session is 20 birds, with the exception of the white-crowned pigeon, which is 15. It is illegal to hunt species that are not included in the order, and the agency is warning that hunters who break the law will be liable for prosecution.
Hunting within game reserves/sanctuaries and forest reserves and within a 50-metre distance of the boundaries of game reserves/sanctuaries is also prohibited.
During the hunting season, monitoring and enforcement is conducted by officers of NEPA, teams of game wardens and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, while members of the public are urged to report any possible case of illegal hunting to NEPA via telephone at 876-754-7540 or 1-888-991-5005 (toll free) or the police.
A maximum fine of $100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months is applicable for breaches of the Wild Life Protection Act. NEPA strongly encourages hunters to participate in the forum to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are compliant with the Wild Life Protection Act and Regulations.