Nature Canada does not advocate on the subject of hunting. Rather, it supports the maintenance of healthy populations of all wildlife species. Nature Canada opposes hunting of any species listed as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable in Canada, and also opposes trophy hunting where it may upset the social balance of populations by removing the dominant animals. We also believe there should be large protected areas where hunting is prohibited.
Nature Canada has long advocated that wildlife management focus on ecosystem protection — an approach supported by “A Wildlife Policy for Canada,” adopted in 1990 by the Wildlife Ministers’ Council of Canada. However, traditional wildlife management has focused on game species at the cost of others. Surveys show that currently only 8.4 percent of Canadians hunt, while the number engaging in non-consumption uses of wildlife has risen to 85.5 percent. Modern wildlife management needs to reflect this shift in use patterns, as well as the recognition by scientists of the need to manage ecosystems rather than individual species in order to protect the long-term health of Canada’s natural environment.
All hunting activities should be carried out according to laws and regulations established with public input. Strict anti-poaching regulations should be enacted and enforced with effective penalties. Hunting, where it occurs, should not jeopardize the health of hunted populations or the systems of which they are a part. All hunting should be carried out in a manner that avoids animal suffering, and regulated to ensure that hunted populations are able to maintain themselves. For example, the hunting or disturbance of individuals that are pregnant, nesting, or caring for young should be prohibited. Consequently, it is important to monitor when, where, and how hunting takes place.
Hunting activities should be carried out in a manner that minimizes impact on all wildlife species and the environment as a whole. Nature Canada opposes the use of lead shot, particularly for the hunting of waterfowl. Hunting should also be conducted in a manner that ensures the outdoors remain safe for everyone. Hunter training programs emphasizing ethics and safety should be mandatory for everyone.