Thank you for the question. I'm going to work backwards.
Our federation has a strong position with respect to science when it comes to wildlife management. We don't want any decisions made politically unless they're backed up by science.
We've had that problem in this province before. We have an overabundance of deer in Nova Scotia. At one point, back around 1985, the decision was made that there would be a two-deer limit on the mainland of Nova Scotia and only a one-deer limit on Cape Breton Island. That went over like a lead balloon, because once they found out that there was only one deer for the Cape Bretoners, the decision was made to have it one across the board. When that decision was made politically, the herd on the mainland collapsed. There was an overabundance. They ate themselves out of house and home and just crashed. It made a terrible mess of the whole thing, and it took years to rebound.
When it comes to science, we want to see the science done properly. In our province we're lagging on that because we don't have the same number of staff in our wildlife division that we used to have years ago. It seems that when somebody retires or somebody moves on to some other job, they don't hurry up and replace that person. It's unfortunate; that work still has to be done.
As I said, it's not as if they're not getting any money from the people who are interested in it, because we are paying for it. The management of the deer must be left in the hands of the government. Having said that about the science, we can't start dictating to government that we want this, that, or the other thing. We can make recommendations based on observance and anecdotal evidence we may get from our membership, but the long and short of it is that if it doesn't come down to the clear, hard facts of science, then we shouldn't be making any decisions at all.
On the cultural thing, to me, it's me. I hunt, therefore I am, is I guess the way to put it. It's what I do. My home has wildlife paintings and prints all the way around. In my den you'd swear you were in a museum of animals, because that's part of what I do.
I'm a year-round hunter. There are people who are hunters, but they're only hunters for that one week in the season. They come out on the Friday, hunt till the following Saturday, and that's it. They go back home and don't think of it again. But there are many more of us who dedicate more time to this and are more curious about what's going on.
The culture that the first peoples of Canada have, I share with them. That's the way I feel about my access to wildlife, and I want to have that continue.