Saint John — Starting this spring in the Port City, a gull in the hand will be worth two in the bush — about $20 more actually. However, some in Saint John are calling it a bird-brained idea.
The Department of Energy and Resources Development announced today that as of March 1, seagull hunting will be legal within Saint John city limits. In an effort to reduce the impact of seagulls to the city’s ecosystem, the infamous fowl will be added to the list of huntable varmints in the Fish and Wildlife Act.
Moreover, to increase its place in the pecking order, the province is placing a bounty of $20 on each of the birds. The minister in charge of the gluttonous gulls says that the idea was hatched by the premier himself.
“Back in January, Premier Gallant was in Saint John with Prime Minister Trudeau,” recounted Minister Rick Doucet. “They were shaking hands with folks outside and — wouldn’t you know it — a seagull was flying overhead and ‘relieved himself’ above the premier. The prime minister thought it was a hoot, and Brian even smiled a little as he wiped the droppings out of his immaculately styled hair. Ever since then though, the premier has become extremely interested in hunting seagulls.”
The ring-billed gull, commonly known as a seagull, almost sang its swan song in the late 19th century due to over-hunting and habitat loss. The government took them under its wing in 1917 by signing an international treaty to protect them. One hundred years later, the ugly ducklings are ruling the roost once again.
While the policy has many happy hunters in fine feather, several Saint John inhabitants think seagull hunting is for the birds. “I don’t want a bunch of odd ducks running around the city trying to feather their nests by shooting at seagulls,” said South End resident Fiente LaMouette. “Frankly, the idea gives me goosebumps.”
But Minister Doucet says that the residents need not get their feathers ruffled. “Of course we don’t want hunters discharging firearms within city limits,” he reassured. “That’s why every seagull must be caught using only your bare hands. The province also wants to promote cardiovascular exercise and healthy living with this initiative.”
Despite the unconventional restrictions and the modest bounty, New Brunswickers are getting into shape for the upcoming season. While taking a break from sprinting drills called “suicides,” one huffing hunter was asked if he had a strategy to subdue the seagulls.
“Nah,” he admitted, “I’m just going to wing it.”