Safety is the priority of night hunting legislation
The safety of Manitobans will always be our government’s main concern. For this reason, we have proposed legislation to better regulate hunting and make public safety a priority.
Bill 29, the Wildlife Amendment Act, would carefully balance constitutionally protected Indigenous hunting rights while regulating night hunting to ensure the safety of the public, the sustainability of Manitoba’s big game population and to reduce cruel practices used on animals.
On private land, the Wildlife Amendment Act would ban night hunting – a practice that has led to deaths and serious injuries in Manitoba. However, the proposed legislation would allow Indigenous hunters to exercise their right to hunt at night in designated areas by obtaining night hunting permits. The no-cost permits would focus the night hunting in areas where risks to landowners and their properties is minimized. As well, hunting at night would be permitted only if it does not threaten the viability of the species being hunted.
Some practices of hunting during nighttime hours would be better regulated. Specifically, spotlighting – the practice of shining a bright light into an animal’s eyes to paralyze it – would be tightly restricted, because blinding an animal at night for the purpose of killing it is not safe or sustainable.
To prepare this proposed legislation, our government held more than 20 consultation sessions over two years with Indigenous communities and representatives, rural municipalities, groups representing agricultural producers, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and organizations representing hunters and outfitters. The issues of safe hunting, land access and shared management were raised throughout the process.
As a result, the bill would allow the province to create shared management committees that bring Indigenous communities, property owners, hunters and outfitters together to make recommendations for conservation and wildlife management in areas of concern. The legislation would include a process to foster understanding between Indigenous hunters and private landowners to improve access for Indigenous hunting on private land during the daylight.
While redefining night hunting, the Wildlife Amendment Act would also ensure our government increases resources and improves tools for provincial conservation officers to keep Manitobans safe from dangerous and illegal hunting.
We have introduced this important bill during the current legislative session to have it take effect in time for the next hunting season. The Wildlife Amendment Act would carefully balance the rights of Indigenous peoples with wildlife sustainability and create a safer, more ethical hunting environment for everyone.
Greg Nesbitt is the Member of Legislative Assembly for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, toll-free 1-844-877-7767 or by email at email@example.com.