There’s some good news for moose hunters in New Brunswick: the government is changing the rules to give people who've been previously unsuccessful a better chance of of getting a license in the resident moose lotto draw.

It's a change many of the hunters have long been waiting for.

The idea is to increase the chances for hunters who have consistently tried their hand in the annual moose draw.

Two changes were announced Monday to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Act.

“The applicants are going to be required to have proof of a hunter’s safety and hunter’s education course when they apply,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Mike Holland. “The other change is that folks who have been applying for 20 or more years are going to have a chance to have their ballots doubled in the draw.”

Holland says those who have been applying for the draw for 20-plus years had about a 60 per cent chance of being selected.

“They're going to go up to over 90 per cent now,” Holland said.

Bev Baxter, president of the Albert County Hunters Association, says the changes have been a long time coming.

“We know that there has been problems or rumblings in this annual moose draw,” Baxter said. “So, when we see our minister step forth and take action in a change, it’s a good thing.”

Jeremy Page says the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is fully behind the decision.

“They’ve been adamant in trying to make some changes that are positive for the citizens and hunting community of New Brunswick and we think that this will help.”

About 60,000 residents apply to the draw each year. There are 4,744 tags available for the 2019 moose hunting season; that's up from 4,465 last year.

Page says the pre-requisite of proven experience will help keep the best-trained in the woods.

“Adding in the requirement to have your hunter’s safety and or license in the past will make the draw process better, more transparent,” Page said.

Longtime hunters say it's about time.

“If there is hunters out there that have been applying for a regular basis for 20 years, they're due,” Baxter said.

Application for the resident moose draw opens May 21. The list of successful applicants will be made public on July 8.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.