Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2015-2016: Ontario


Summary

The information presented here is a summary of the law. If there is a discrepancy between the law and this summary, the law prevails. For complete information on fines, general prohibitions, permitted hunting methods and equipment, the requirement to have adequate means to retrieve birds immediately, restrictions on the use of bait, the description of hunting districts, and other restrictions on hunting, please refer to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Migratory Birds Regulations. These, along with other useful information for hunters, can be found on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website, or you may contact:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4
Tel.: 1-800-668-6767
enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

You are required to possess a valid federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit with a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp to hunt migratory birds in Canada. This permit and stamp are valid in all provinces and territories. Most provinces and territories have additional licence requirements for hunting migratory birds and/or to carry firearms. To know what you require, and if there are further restrictions for hunting migratory birds, please verify the applicable regulations for the province/territory where you will be hunting. Note that all required permits and licences must be in your possession while you are hunting.

Note that south of the French and Mattawa rivers, Sunday gun hunting is permitted by provincial regulations in some municipalities, but not all. Season dates for Canada Geese and Cackling Geese in the Southern District may differ between municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted and those where it is not. Hunters should consult the provincial regulations for information about Wildlife Management Unit boundaries and a list of municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted.

Consultation Process and Migratory Birds Regulatory Reports

The hunting provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations are reviewed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, with input from the provinces and territories, as well as a range of other interested stakeholders. Environment and Climate Change Canada has developed a consultation process for establishing hunting regulations for migratory birds, and publishes the Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Series that can be found on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.

In Ontario, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt migratory game birds, except for woodcock. Within National Wildlife Areas, the possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting, including the hunting of migratory birds and upland game birds. Hunters should consult provincial or territorial regulations for additional restrictions. For those birds still hunted with lead shot, remove the lead shot before cooking to reduce your exposure to contaminants. As well, remove the skin and fat from fish-eating birds before cooking them.

Barrow’s Goldeneye is listed in the Species at Risk Act as a species of special concern, and the bag and possession limit of 1 remains in place.

Waterfowler Heritage Days were introduced to provide young hunters under the age of majority (12 to 17 years) with the opportunity to practise hunting and outdoor skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured, supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors have an opportunity to pass on their considerable skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to younger hunters. The following rules are in effect:

  • to participate, young hunters under the age of majority do not require the federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit;
  • young participants must comply with all existing safety and licensing requirements found in the Firearms Act and provincial hunting regulations;
  • participants must be accompanied by a licensed mentor over the age of majority;
  • mentors may not hunt or carry a firearm, and may accompany no more than one young hunter; and
  • daily bag limits are outlined in the Bag and Possession Limits table below, and include footnotes g, k and l.

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Hunting Districts

Hunting Districts of Ontario

Hunting Districts map of Ontario

Long Description for the Hunting Districts of Ontario

Map showing the boundaries between the 4 Hunting Districts in Ontario, which are the Hudson-James Bay District, the Northern District, the Central District and the Southern District.

  1. Hudson-James Bay District
    Wildlife Management Units 1A, 1B, and the portions of Wildlife Management Units 1D, 25, and 26 lying east of longitude 83°45 and north of latitude 51°
  2. Northern District
    Wildlife Management Unit 1C, those parts of 1D, 25, and 26 lying west of longitude 83°45 and south of latitude 51°, and Wildlife Management Units 2 to 24, 27 to 41, and 45
  3. Central District
    Wildlife Management Units 42 to 44 and 46 to 59
  4. Southern District
    Wildlife Management Units 60 to 95

If you need more information to determine in which hunting district you are located, please visit: Ontario: Find a wildlife management unit (WMU) map

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Open Seasons in Ontario (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)
AreaDucks (other than Harlequin Ducks), rails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails), gallinules, coots, snipe and geese
(Waterfowler Heritage Day)
Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks), rails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails), gallinules, coots, snipe and
geese (other than Canada Geese and Cackling Geese)
Canada Geese and
Cackling Geese
WoodcockMourning Doves
1. Hudson-James Bay
District
Sept. 5, 2015Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015Sept. 1 to
Dec. 15, 2015
No open season
2. Northern DistrictSept. 5, 2015Sept. 10 to Dec. 24, 2015Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015Sept. 15 to
Dec. 15, 2015
No open season
3. Central DistrictSept. 12, 2015Sept. 19, 2015, to Jan. 2, 2016Sept. 8 to Dec. 23, 2015Sept. 20 to
Dec. 20, 2015
Sept. 8 to
Nov. 16, 2015Note a of Table
4. Southern DistrictSept. 19, 2015Sept. 26, 2015, to
Jan. 9, 2016 Note b of TableNotef of Table
Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, 2015Note c of Table
Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, 2015 (except for any Sunday within this period)Note d of Table

Sept. 26 to Dec. 30, 2015Note c of Table
Sept. 26, 2015, to Jan. 9, 2016
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of Table

Feb. 27 to Mar. 5, 2016
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of TableNote e of Table
Sept. 25 to
Dec. 20, 2015
Sept. 10 to
Nov. 18, 2015Note a of Table

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Bag and Possession Limits in Ontario
LimitsDucks (other than
Harlequin Ducks)
Canada Geese and Cackling GeeseWhite-fronted
Geese and Brant
Snow GeeseRails (other
than Yellow Rails
and King Rails)
and snipe
GallinulesWoodcock and cootsMourning Doves
Daily bag6Note g of Table5Note i of TableNote j of TableNote k of TableNote l of Table520104815
Possession18Note h of TableNo limit15No limit30122445

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Measures in Ontario Concerning Overabundant Species
AreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
Wildlife Management Unit 65Mar. 1 to May 31, 2016Note m of TableRecorded bird callsNote n of Table

Note

Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.

Report Your Migratory Bird Bands

Call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or go to the Report a bird with a Federal Band or Color Marker website

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