BURIN PENINSULA, NL – The murre (turr) hunting season in Fortune Bay is now under way, with local hunters reporting the tasty game birds are very scarce.
This is not unusual, as in the past few years it has been well up towards the end of the season in late February and early March before the birds have been at all plentiful in this area.
This part of the province is Zone 3 and includes all coastal waters on the south coast of the island, from Cape St. Gregory in the west to Cape Race in the east, which encompasses all of Fortune and Placentia Bays.
The season opened Nov. 25 and will close March 10, 2018.
The daily bag limit is 20 murres per hunter per day, with a possession limit of 40 birds.
Unlike hunting for other migratory birds, lead shot can be used for hunting murres, but the hunt is restricted to Newfoundland and Labrador residents only.
It is unlawful to buy or sell any migratory game birds, including murres.
The open season for hunting sea-ducks, which includes eiders, scoters and long-tailed ducks, coincides with the dates for hunting murres. The daily bag limit for sea-ducks is six per day.
The first day most local turr hunters took to the waters of Fortune Bay was Dec. 1, a near-perfect day with very little wind or swell.
However, with birds being very scarce many of the boats came back to port with only two to six turrs.
The one exception at Grand Bank was a couple of younger hunters who did a combination eider duck and turr hunt.
Nigel Warren and Robin Savoury took their decoys to the rocks near Brunette Island, where they bagged seven large eiders and managed to harvest 10 turrs – not bad considering nearly all the veteran hunters came back to port nearly empty-handed.