NOT every person who has a hunter's licence is an actual hunter and many people purchase a hunter's licence just so they can obtain a firearm.
This is according to Mohan Bholasingh, president of the South Eastern Hunters Association.
Bholasingh, who spoke at the association's annual seminar yesterday said the number of licences being granted needed to be decreased.
The seminar was held at the Tableland High School, near Princes Town. Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh attended the event.
Bholasingh said, "One of the requirements of having a fireman is to ensure that you are a hunter and one of the ways you do that is by buying permits so most of people who are buying permits they don't really hunt."
He said there were about 9,500 hunters but he heard from Singh that there were 13,000.
Bholasingh called for an increase in fines for those caught hunting during the closed seasons and proper forest management.
"You want to have this thing as a deterrent and to prevent people from going and hunting in the closed season and what you have to do is raise the fine. The fine right now is only $2,000. That fine has to go to $20,000 if you find persons hunting in the closed season otherwise people would continue to hunt. You get a lappe for about $3,000. That is good incentive enough for someone to go and set a trap and catch an animal in the closed season."
Bholasingh also recommended to the minister that wildlife importation take place so that the country could develop its own species.
He said, "It (wildlife farming) would take away the hunting pressures and the demands because for everybody in Trinidad wild meat is a delicacy."
Singh said the number of permits will have to be decreased since the sale of licences to hunters increased 100 per cent over the past 11 years.
He said there was much concern for mammals hunted because "the numbers are decreasing as a result of over-hunting".
The decrease in numbers was also because of habitat destruction by fires, flooding and developments.
The minister said the government was looking at reducing the sale of licences and ending the hunting season in December in an effort to manage and preserve wildlife.
The hunting season opens on October 1 and ends on March 31.