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Police, game wardens checking for hunting permits
As the hunting season opened on Monday, police and game wardens were on duty at Catshill, Moruga, and other areas checking to ensure that everyone entering the forests had hunting permits.
The cost of a permit is $100 for the season.
However, president of the South Eastern Hunters Association Mohan Bholasingh said just about 100 hunters applied for permits this year even though the Association has 730 members living from Toco to Tableland.
Other Associations like the St Patrick Hunting Association and Mayaro Hunting Association also have a couple hundred members.
In an interview, Bholasingh said he was happy that the police and game wardens were monitoring the hunting season which will last for the next five months.
"This is something we have been calling for. I have never seen police checking for hunting permits in 40 years. We applaud this because we want responsible hunting," Bholasingh said.
He could not say whether the decline in forest fires for 2018 had a positive impact on the availability of game.
"We have to see how that goes. We did not establish a database of how many animals we have now. We will have to wait on the catches to see whether we have more or less game," Bholasingh said.
Admitting that fewer hunters went into the forests on Monday morning, Bholasingh said this could be because it was the start of a working week and many hunters had gone to work. He said the celebration of the Hindu religious observance of Pitru Paksha, a 16–lunar day period in the Hindu calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestor (Pitrs), especially through food offerings, could also be responsible for the decrease in hunting activities yesterday.
"Many Hindus are fasting now so they will not go into the forests to hunt. This could also be why we had fewer hunters," Bholasingh said.
He noted that hunters have been making preparations for the opening of the hunting period.
"We had hunters going back into the forests to repair their camps. Many people are excited for the start of hunting and we wish everyone well," Bholasingh said.
He also said the smuggling of animals from the South American mainland had affected sales of local hunters.
"Hunters do not bring in meat from Venezuela. Businessmen do that if they have the connections and they turn a profit. This affects our sales because people have developed a taste for wild meat," he said.
Bhaolsingh also revealed that contrary to public opinion there were still bands of wild hogs in the forests. Some can reach up to 40 pounds.
"In the Toco region, we have bands of wild hogs about 13 or 14 of them. We also have lots of agouti, lappe and manicou.
Last year, lappe sold for $80 a pound, agouti sold for $350 for one, while deer sold for $60 a pound.
A manicou sold for $400 while wild hog sold for $75 a pound.
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