Competition fierce for deer licences

Sherry Martell
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There are 2,500 hunters in central Nova Scotia with smiles on their faces anxiously waiting for deer hunting season to open.

There are 2,500 hunters in central Nova Scotia with smiles on their faces anxiously waiting for deer hunting season to open.

They are the lucky minority of 12,453 people who paid $6 each plus tax for a chance to win permission from the Department of Natural Resources to bag an antlerless deer or a buck this fall.

"This is not a lottery for the fun of a lottery," said Tony Nette, wildlife resources manager with the department.

"It is a system of allocating resource opportunity and we try to do it as fairly as possible at the lowest cost as possible."

He said the department receives a great number of complaints from unsuccessful draw applicants every year.

"They question it," he said. "A lot of them are saying it's not fair."

The antlerless deer draw program was introduced in 1998, and is administered by Target Call Center of Halifax.

The purpose of the program is to provide a limited opportunity to hunt antlerless deer while accommodating herd growth.

The draw is offered to hunters in five of the seven hunting zones where deer populations can sustain it and all applicants per zone have an equal chance of being drawn.

Each application is assigned a unique number and electronic draws select the appropriate number of winners for each zone. Only after completion of the draws are the

numbers reconnected to the names and addresses of the original applicants to ensure the antlerless stamps are mailed to the appropriate people.

Nette said fees cover the cost of advertising the draw, the call centre contract, and a portion of it is paid to the telephone service provider.

"It was designed originally to be a revenue neutral program," he said. "The government does not realize any profit from it."

He said a small surplus was used in past years to reduce the cost of a Wildlife Resources Card all hunters are required to own.

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Target Call Center of Halifax

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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