Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada - July 2016
2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Hunting Seasons

Canadian Wildlife Service
Waterfowl Committee

CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 47

PDF; 2.8MB

Image of The Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, entitled Blossoming - Mourning Doves, features the Mourning Dove. It is a creation of the Canadian wildlife artist W. Allan Hancock of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

The Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, entitled Blossoming - Mourning Doves, features the Mourning Dove. It is a creation of the Canadian wildlife artist W. Allan Hancock of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
Photo: Allan Hancock © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2016

Document Information

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Cover illustration/photo: W. Allan Hancock

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For more information on migratory birds, please visit Environment and Climate Change Canada's Migratory Birds

Important Note:

Canadians may be exposed to avian-borne viruses when birdwatching, hunting or handling migratory birds and other wild game. Environment and Climate Change Canada recommends the following website, maintained by the Public Health Agency of Canada, for information on minimizing the risk of exposure: Infectious Diseases

Cover Art:

The Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, entitled Blossoming -- Mourning Doves, features the Mourning Dove. It is a creation of the Canadian wildlife artist W. Allan Hancock of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

Through a special partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada receives the revenues from the sale of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, purchased primarily by waterfowl hunters to validate their Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits. The conservation stamp is also sold to stamp and print collectors and those interested in contributing to habitat conservation. In 2014/2015, Wildlife Habitat Canada provided 43 grants totaling more than $1.5 million. This in turn helped leverage an additional $8.6 million in partner funding for conservation projects, resulting in the conservation, restoration and enhancement of more than 52 000 acres of wildlife habitat across Canada Wildlife Habitat Canada

For more information on Wildlife Habitat Canada or the conservation stamp and print program, please call Wildlife Habitat Canada at 613-722-2090 (in the Ottawa region) or toll-free at 1-800-669-7919, or consult at Wildlife Habitat Canada

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Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada, July 2016

- 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Hunting Seasons -

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee

CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 47

Document Information

Author:

This report was prepared by the National Office of Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service.

Correct citation for this report:

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2016. Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada, July 2016.

2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Hunting Seasons. CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 47. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa.

Comments:

Comments regarding the regulation-setting process or other concerns relating to migratory birds should be sent to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, National Office:

Director, Wildlife Program Support
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Email: ec.scf-oismiggibiers-cws-miggamebirds.ec@canada.ca

Region-specific comments should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, Stewardship and Regional Operations, Canadian Wildlife Service, at the following postal addresses:

Atlantic Region: 17 Waterfowl Lane, P.O. Box 6227, Sackville NB E4L 1G6
Quebec Region: 801–1550 D'Estimauville Avenue, Québec QC G1J 0C3
Ontario Region: 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto ON M3H 5T4
Prairie Region: Eastgate Building, 9250 49th Street NW, Edmonton AB T6B 1K5
Pacific Region: 5421 Robertson Road, R.R. #1, Delta BC V4K 3N2
Northern Region: 5019 52nd St, P.O. Box 2310, Yellowknife, NT, X1A 2P7

This report may be downloaded from the following website:

Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Series

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Establishment of the Hunting Regulations for Migratory Game Birds

The purpose of the amendments to Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations is to ensure the sustainable harvest management of migratory game birds. In particular, the amendments allow for changes to hunting season dates, daily bag and possession limits, as well as changes to other migratory game bird hunting regulations.

Beginning in the 2014/2015 hunting season, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) transitioned from an annual to a biennial regulatory amendment cycle for the hunting regulations. The objective of this new policy approach is to reduce the resource burden to government associated with the regulatory process, while continuing to ensure that conservation and harvesting objectives are achieved. The amendment and corresponding formalized consultation processes remain consistent with what was carried out in previous years, with the only change being that the amendments now occur every two years. ECCC continues evaluating the status of migratory game birds on an annual basis to ensure that the regulations are appropriate, and can amend the regulations at mid-intervals if necessary for conservation reasons.

Within each two-year regulatory cycle, hunting regulations for migratory game birds are reviewed by ECCC, with input from the provinces and territories and a range of other interested stakeholders. As part of this process, ECCC's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) produces three reports.

The first report entitled, Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada (commonly called the "November Report"), contains population and other biological information on migratory game birds, and thus provides the scientific basis for informing management decisions that ensure the long-term sustainability of their population. Although hunting regulations are reviewed every two years, ECCC evaluates the status of migratory game birds on an annual basis, and reports on population status by publishing the November report within each regulatory cycle, that is, every second year.

This is followed by the second report entitled, Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations, or the December report, in which the proposed changes to the hunting regulations, amendments to the overabundant species regulations and other proposed amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations are outlined. Proposals for hunting regulations are developed in accordance with the Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting. The December report is published every second year, concurrently with the revision of hunting regulations.

The third report entitled, Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada (commonly called the "July Report"), summarizes the hunting regulations that were approved for the next two hunting seasons. The July Report is published every second year, concurrently with the revision of the hunting regulations.

The three reports are distributed to organizations and individuals with an interest in migratory bird conservation, to provide an opportunity for input on the development of the hunting regulations in Canada. These reports are available online on the ECCC website at : Consultation Process on Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations.

The process for developing regulations in Canada requires that any changes be in the form of final proposals by late February during years of regulatory changes. That means that regulations must be set without knowing about the breeding conditions and production forecasts of the coming year. This does not usually present difficulties because the hunting regulations are based on trends over several years, but in some cases the results from recent harvest surveys or breeding population surveys conducted in May and June will indicate that changes in the national approach are needed to ensure the conservation of migratory game birds. In this case, ECCC will process a regulatory amendment and issue a bulletin updating these regulations.

Regulatory proposals described in the current document will start in September 2016 and remain in effect through winter/spring 2018 inclusively. This second two-year cycle also establishes special conservation measures for overabundant geese in spring 2017 and spring 2018.

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Schedule for the Development of Hunting Regulations Within each Regulatory Cycle

The schedule for the development of hunting regulations is based on the requirement to have the hunting regulations made into law by early June:

  • September Through November - the Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada Report, Containing Biological Information on Migratory Game Birds, is Developed. in January, It is Distributed and Posted on the ECCC Website.
  • November – CWS regional offices develop proposals for hunting regulations in consultation with the provinces and territories and interested stakeholders.
  • Late January – The Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations report containing the regulation proposals is posted on the ECCC website and distributed to allow for public, inter-regional and international consultation.
  • June – Hunting regulations become law.
  • Early July – The Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada report, containing the approved hunting regulations, is distributed and posted on the ECCC website. The migratory game bird hunting regulation summaries are available on the ECCC website.
  • Early August – Hunting regulation summaries are available with the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits.

Migratory game bird hunters are informed of the migratory game bird hunting regulations, including open season dates and daily bag and possession limits, when they purchase their hunting permit.

Note to American Readers

The cycle of regulation development in Canada meets the requirements of the Canadian regulatory process; proposals for hunting regulations must be finalized no later than the end of February. Canadian representatives at the summer Flyway Council meetings and other hearings are not reporting on what is being considered, but on what has been passed into law.

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American Black Duck Harvest Strategy

An International Black Duck Harvest Strategy was adopted in 2012 by the CWS and the United States (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service. The objectives of the Strategy, based on the principles of adaptive harvest management, are to:

  • maintain a black duck population that provides consumptive and non-consumptive use commensurate with habitat carrying capacity;
  • maintain societal values associated with the hunting tradition; and
  • maintain equitable access to the black duck resource.

As such, the Strategy is designed to identify appropriate harvest levels in Canada and the U.S. based on the breeding population of Black Ducks and sympatric Mallards while sharing the Black Duck harvest equally between the two countries; however, recognizing incomplete control of harvest through regulations, it allows realized harvest in either country to vary between 40% and 60% of the annual continental harvest. Frequent evaluations of the Strategy are conducted to ensure that it continues meeting the objectives stated above.

The Harvest Strategy, used to determine the appropriate Black Duck harvest regulations, was first implemented in fall 2013. It consists of four pre-defined regulatory packages in Canada and three in the U.S. Country-specific harvest opportunities are determined from a set of expected harvest rate distributions defined as regulatory alternatives. Canada developed four regulatory packages (liberal, moderate, restrictive and closed), with the Canadian moderate alternative defined as the 1997 to 2010 mean harvest rate. The Canadian packages are:

  • Liberal: 30% increase in harvest rate over the 1997–2010 mean harvest rate;
  • Moderate: 1997–2010 mean harvest rate (3.5% per year [mean harvest rate for adult males]);
  • Restrictive: 30% decrease in harvest rate below the 1997–2010 mean harvest rate;
  • Closed: No Black Duck harvest allowed.

A moderate regime has been recommended for the 2016/2017 hunting season. As such, Canadian Black Duck hunting regulations (open season dates, daily bag and possession limits) will remain unchanged from the 2015/2016 season (moderate regime). Due to the adoption of a two-year stabilized regulatory cycle in Canada, a moderate package will also remain in place for the 2017/2018 hunting season.

CWS, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will continue to monitor the harvest rate in addition to the breeding populations to ensure that the Harvest Strategy continues to meet the objectives stated above.

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Outcome of the 2015 Fall Cws Regional Consultation Meetings Regarding the Hunting Regulations for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Seasons

Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland & Labrador

The Atlantic Migratory Game Bird Technical Committee discussed and supported the regulatory proposals for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador at their meeting in October 2015. This group is chaired by ECCC's CWS and consists of technical representatives of the four Atlantic provincial wildlife agencies (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador), the Nunatsiavut Government, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Indigenous organizations. Both the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation and the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters also expressed support for the regulatory proposals.

Quebec

CWS Quebec region hosted the Round Table on Migratory Game Birds Management in October 2015 to discuss the proposed hunting regulation amendments for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 hunting seasons. Members at the meeting included the Association des biologistes du Québec, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Quebec Outfitters Federation, Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, Fondation de la faune du Québec, Institut de Développement Durable des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, Regroupement Québec Oiseaux, and Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec. All of the regulatory proposals except the Mourning Dove hunting season were supported by all members; details on the proposed Mourning Dove hunting season can be found in the next section.

Ontario

Regulatory proposals for Ontario were discussed at the Ontario Waterfowl Advisory Committee meeting in October 2015. Committee members included: ECCC's CWS, ECCC's Wildlife Enforcement Division, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's (OMNRF) Research and Monitoring Section, OMNRF's Wildlife Enforcement Section, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. All Committee members agreed to the regulatory proposals.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta

The Saskatchewan Provincial Wildlife Advisory Committee was advised of the regulatory proposals in fall 2015. Membership on the Committee includes the province of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Saskatchewan Outfitters Association, Trappers Association, Bow Hunters Association, Black Powder Association, Stock Growers Association, Association of Rural Municipalities, Regina Fish and Game League, Nature Saskatchewan, South Saskatchewan Wildlife Association and Tourism. The province of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Outfitters Association and Regina Fish and Game League responded with endorsement of the proposals, the other organizations did not provide any comments.

British Columbia

The British Columbia Waterfowl Technical Committee, which consists of provincial and CWS staff, oversees regional consultations. In fall 2015, no regulatory proposals or comments were received from any of the provincial wildlife management districts and no regulatory changes were proposed by CWS.

Yukon

The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board as well as the Wildlife Management Advisory Council for the Yukon's North Slope expressed support to the regulatory proposals for Yukon.

Northwest Territories and Nunavut

In 2015, no regulatory changes were proposed. Consequently, consultations with appropriate wildlife management boards, which consist of territorial government, Indigenous Peoples of Canada, and other stakeholders, were not required.

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Summary of the Main Concerns During Public Consultations Held in February 2016 Regarding the Hunting Regulations for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Seasons

Proposed Mourning Dove Hunting season in Quebec

The provincial government and the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs endorsed the establishment of a Mourning Dove hunting season in Quebec beginning in the fall of 2016. During the consultation period, comments were received from conservation organizations, hunter associations and individuals.

Five hunting organizations namely, the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, the Association des sauvaginiers du Lac St-Pierre, Association des sauvaginiers de la Rive-Nord, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Delta Waterfowl, along with more than 280 individuals expressed their support for this proposal. The main comments expressed were the following:

  • If a species of migratory game bird, such as Mourning Dove, can provide hunting opportunities without negatively affecting the population status of the species, that opportunity should be available to hunters.
  • A sustainable hunt based on sound science should be allowed.
  • Hunting is the oldest of human traditions and has a deep meaning for millions of Canadians.
  • Regulated hunting helps to increase knowledge of hunted species and brings management support.
  • Hunting contributes greatly to tourism and the outdoor sporting economy in Canada.
  • Mourning Dove hunting is one of the best ways to initiate youth hunters; it requires low investments in decoys and bird calls, and a smaller gauge of shotgun.

Several conservation organizations including Regroupement Québec Oiseaux and its affiliated clubs, Nature Québec, Enviro Educ-Action, Crivet groupe écologique de Valleyfield and Société d'observation de la Faune, as well as more than 570 individuals expressed opposition to this proposal. The main concerns expressed by these organizations and individuals during public consultations are summarized below along with the ECCC CWS's responses to these concerns.

The Mourning dove population trend in recent years in Quebec is decreasing

In Canada, Mourning Doves are monitored principally by the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and the Christmas Bird Count (CBC); other sources of information include the Atlas des Oiseaux nicheurs du Québec and Étude des populations d'oiseaux du Québec. The BBS is a cooperative international avian survey conducted annually since 1966 in the U.S. and Canada and it is designed to collect long-term data on the population status and trends of breeding birds. The BBS is the principal source of population data for most species of birds in North America at the continental, national and regional level. The population status, trend and distribution information generated from BBS data is used in both Canada and the U.S. to report on the status of bird populations, to evaluate which species are considered at risk and to establish conservation plans and actions. The CBC is a census of birds performed annually in Northern America around Christmas time by volunteer birdwatchers. Data from the CBC provide information about winter resident bird populations and do not necessarily reflect changes in the population that would be subject to fall hunting.

Mourning Doves are one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds in North America. Based on the BBS, the North American population is estimated at 350 to 475 million birds. The breeding population in Quebec is estimated at 760 000 doves with an estimated fall flight of approximately 988 000 birds.

Mourning Doves are widely distributed across the southern portion of Quebec (where the hunt will take place), with relative abundance similar to jurisdictions with hunting seasons (i.e., Ontario and surrounding States). Population estimates indicate that the Mourning Dove is the most abundant game bird species breeding in Quebec. According to the BBS, the population has increased by approximately 5% annually between 1970 and 2014, and its breeding range has expanded to the north and east. The population stabilized in the 2000s but remains far larger than it was in the 1970s.

The Mourning Dove numbers in Hunting District F, where a Mourning Dove open season will be established, have been increasing at a rate of approximately 4.7% annually since the 1970s. Despite the annual variability in the Mourning Dove population, it has stabilized or slightly decreased (less than 1% per year) over the last 15 years.

The Department of Environment believes that a harvest of Mourning Doves in Québec's district F would be sustainable.

A Mourning Dove open season in Quebec will not be sustainable

The Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA), 1994 allows the hunting of migratory game birds such as Mourning Dove. More than 40 species of migratory game birds are harvested sustainably for food in Canada every year.

The Mourning Dove is the most harvested of all game birds in the U.S. (40 of 50 States); they are also hunted in Mexico and Central America. In the U.S., approximately one million hunters harvest 15 to 20 million doves annually, which typically represents 5% to 10% of the fall population.

In Canada, Mourning Doves have been hunted sustainably since 1960 in British Columbia and since 2013 in Ontario. In Ontario, approximately 18 000 and 22 000 Mourning doves were harvested by hunters during the 2013 and 2014 seasons respectively. In British Columbia, hunters have typically harvested less than 100 doves per year. The predicted annual harvest in Quebec is estimated to be between 12 000 and 23 650 doves, which is 1.2% to 2.4% of the fall flight. Based on decades of experience with other species of game birds and current information from other jurisdictions, a harvest rate of this magnitude will be sustainable in the long-term.

There is no biological or scientific concern about the sustainability of the Mourning Dove hunt in Hunting District F in Quebec. The hunting season will be similar to that for other migratory game birds. The population status and harvest of Mourning Doves will be monitored and evaluated each year, as with other hunted migratory game birds. Adjustments to season length or daily bag limit can be made, if necessary, to ensure that the harvest remains sustainable. Canada could also request that other jurisdictions (e.g. U.S. States) consider reducing their harvest of Quebec produced Mourning Doves to ensure a sustainable harvest.

Risk for public safety in urban areas and damaging infrastructure (telephone or other utility wires on roadways)

Hunting of migratory game birds in Canada is regulated and hunters must be trained and licensed to participate. In Quebec, hunters are required to pass a Firearms Safety Course and a Hunter Education Course and, therefore, all participants should be aware of the necessary safety precautions related to hunting. There is no reason to believe that dove hunting will be any more dangerous compared to other game bird hunting.

Mourning Doves will be mostly hunted on agricultural lands during the fall and municipalities have by-laws that restrict firearm discharge near buildings. Shooting birds perched on wires by roads or on buildings in urban/agricultural areas is illegal. Under the Loi sur la conservation et la mise en valeur de la faune (1983) (chapitre C-61.1, r. 1, Règlement sur les activités de chasse), a hunter may not shoot wildlife using a crossbow, bow or firearm from a public road, including on a 10-m strip beyond the shoulder on either side of the road. Moreover, hunters may not shoot at wildlife that is on a public road or shoot across such a road. The hunter and the game that he or she is pursuing must not be located within 100 m of a building intended to house people, shelter animals or store items.

Potential impact on food availability for raptor species with precarious status

The only raptor species with a precarious status that preys on Mourning Doves is the Peregrine Falcon. Raptors have different food sources and, therefore, do not rely on one prey species to survive. The estimate of the number of birds harvested annually (1.2% to 2.4% of the fall population of 988 000 birds) is very low and would not affect the Peregrine Falcon or any other raptor species.

Mourning doves will just be used for target practice since they are small birds to eat, and hunting material will be too powerful and leave the birds unfit for human consumption

Mourning Doves are very abundant, they are considered excellent table fare by those who hunt them and provide opportunity for outdoor recreational activity. The desirability of a bird or animal for eating is not related to its size; currently, hunters hunt woodcock and snipe which are similar in size to Mourning doves. The firearms allowed for hunting doves are the same as those allowed for waterfowl but different ammunition is used depending on the size of the bird.

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Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 Seasons (including Special Conservation Measures for Overabundant Species)

The hunting regulation amendments were developed in consultation with the provinces and territories, other countries such as the U.S., and a range of other interested stakeholders, including hunter organizations, Indigenous Peoples of Canada and conservation groups. They were approved by Cabinet and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 29, 2016.

The following summarizes the hunting regulations amendments by province and territory during this regulatory cycle. The complete set of regulations that will be in effect in fall 2016 and winter/spring 2017 are contained in the Appendix (Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries) and are posted on the ECCC website:

Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2016-2017: Summaries

Clarifying Hunting Restrictions on the Waterfowler Heritage Days

(Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia)

Hunting restrictions during Waterfowler Heritage Days (WHDs) have been clarified.

WHDs provide young hunters under the age of majority with an opportunity to practice hunting and outdoor skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured and supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors also have an opportunity to pass on their skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to young hunters.

Mentor-hunters (hunters mentoring a minor) may not hunt during the WHDs, whether or not these days occur during or outside the regular open season.

Non-mentor-hunters (hunters not mentoring a minor) may hunt during the WHDs when these days occur during the regular open season, but they may not hunt when the WHDs are held before the regular hunting season (that is to say, when the regular season is closed).

The open season tables (Schedule 1 of the Regulations and the hunting regulations summaries) have been modified in order to clarify that hunters, who are not mentoring a minor, may not hunt during the WHDs when these days fall outside of the regular open season.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Removing the Restriction on Season Length for Sea Ducks

The restriction put into place in 1997 in all coastal zones on the Island of Newfoundland and the Southern Labrador Zone has been removed. This restriction shortened the season for Long-tailed Ducks, eiders and scoters (eiders only in the Southern Labrador Zone) by 12 days to reduce hunting pressure on northern stocks of eiders.

Since the restrictions were put into place in 1997, significant resources have been directed towards assessing the status of eider ducks in the northwest Atlantic. Results suggest that the population of Northern Common Eider that over-winters in eastern North America is stable to increasing, and it is more abundant than previous assessments suggested. American Common Eiders that breed along the north coast of Newfoundland have shown strong growth, while numbers breeding along the northeast and south coasts of Newfoundland remain small. Demographic models suggest that the increased harvest level expected from this change will not negatively affect populations. Harvest will be monitored through the CWS's National Harvest Survey. Also, the number of wintering and breeding eiders will be monitored at regular intervals.

Prince Edward Island

Restricting the Daily Bag and Possession Limits for Eiders

The eider daily bag limit has been decreased from 6 to 4 and the possession limit has been decreased from 12 to 8. This change is in response to growing concerns for American Common Eiders breeding in the Maritimes and the New England States. A long-term monitoring program of New Brunswick's colonies suggests that the number of eiders breeding in the Bay of Fundy has been declining since 2005. The New Brunswick population estimate for 2014 was less than 5 000 pairs, which is about half of the pre-2005 estimates. Surveys in Maine and Nova Scotia suggest similar declining trends for these areas. Conversely, monitoring programs in the St. Lawrence Estuary in Quebec, suggest that the numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

Nova Scotia

Restricting the Daily Bag and Possession Limits for Eiders

The eider daily bag limit has been decreased from 5 to 4 and the possession limit has been decreased from 10 to 8. This change is in response to growing concerns for American Common Eiders breeding in the Maritimes and the New England States. A long-term monitoring program of New Brunswick's colonies suggests that the number of eiders breeding in the Bay of Fundy has been declining since 2005. The New Brunswick population estimate for 2014 was less than 5 000 pairs, which is about half of the pre-2005 estimates. Surveys in Maine and Nova Scotia suggest similar declining trends for these areas. Conversely, monitoring programs in the St. Lawrence Estuary in Quebec, suggest that the numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

New Brunswick

Restricting the daily bag and possession limits for eiders

The restrictions on eider daily bag and possession limits that have applied during the February season in Zone No. 1 now apply throughout the season in Zone No. 1 and Zone No. 2. This change means that the eider daily bag limit has been decreased from 6 to 4 and the possession limit has been decreased from 12 to 8. This change is in response to growing concerns for American Common Eiders breeding in the Maritimes and the New England States. A long-term monitoring program of New Brunswick's colonies suggests that the number of eiders breeding in the Bay of Fundy has been declining since 2005. The New Brunswick population estimate for 2014 was less than 5 000 pairs, which is about half of the pre-2005 estimates. Surveys in Maine and Nova Scotia suggest similar declining trends for these areas. Conversely, monitoring programs in the St. Lawrence Estuary in Quebec suggest that the numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

Update the boundary for no-hunting zones

The reference to Railroad Bridge has been updated to recognize that the bridge is now part of the New Brunswick Trail.

Quebec

Establishing an open hunting season for Mourning Dove

A new open hunting season for Mourning Doves in Hunting District F in southern Quebec beginning in fall 2016 has been established, with the requirement to use non-toxic shot. The season will open on the same date as the American Woodcock season in September. The Mourning Dove season length will be 107 days. The daily bag limit is eight doves and the possession limit is 24. Non-toxic shot must be used to hunt Mourning dove in Quebec; lead shot are prohibited.

In 2013/2014, CWS, Quebec Region, evaluated the population status and trends of Mourning Dove in Quebec using a long-term data set and recent studies. In addition, an estimated fall flight for Mourning Dove and its harvest potential in Quebec were calculated. Based on this information, CWS concluded that the Quebec Mourning Dove population could sustain harvest and that establishing a hunting season is biologically justifiable. Population and harvest monitoring programs are in place to ensure that harvests remain at sustainable levels.

Update the boundary for no-hunting zones

The boundary descriptions for six no-hunting zones have been updated to reflect several changes within the province of Quebec. Four of them (Cap Tourmente [Water], Cap Tourmente [land], Lake Saint-Pierre [Nicolet] and Cap-Saint-Ignace) are located in Hunting District F and the other two (Portage and Havre aux Basques) are in Hunting District G. This amendment is required as a result of cadastral and toponymic changes over the years. Clarifications relative to geographic areas or certain geo-referenced positions have been added to improve the clarity of the text. This revision does not change the current limit of these zones.

Ontario

Adding species that youth are allowed to hunt on the Waterfowler Heritage Days

Mourning Dove and American Woodcock have been added to the list of species that minors may hunt on the WHD in Ontario. This change provides increased hunting opportunity for youth in Ontario. Before this change, Mourning Doves could not be harvested by minors participating in the WHD despite an open season for doves for all other hunters at this time. This change also allows mentors to educate minors about dove and woodcock hunting practices, ethics, and firearms safety.

Increase daily bag limit for Lesser Snow Geese in the Hudson–James Bay Hunting District

The daily bag limit has been increased from 20 to 50 Lesser Snow Geese in the Hudson–James Bay Hunting District. This change aims to increase the Canadian harvest of Lesser Snow Geese, an overabundant species.

Update the boundary for no-hunting zones

The boundary names for all geographic hunting restrictions in Ontario have been updated. With changes in municipal and township names in Ontario over time (e.g., due to amalgamation), some boundary names have become outdated. Updates to these names clarify the Migratory Birds Regulations for migratory game bird hunters thereby facilitating compliance and enforcement of the regulations.

These changes include: using the County of Norfolk, reflecting the name change made by the municipality; using Township of Frontenac Islands instead of Wolfe Island Township, which merged with Howe Island Township as part of a county reorganization; and the addition of "in the province of Ontario" in several locations throughout the descriptions.

Manitoba

No regulatory changes were made for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 hunting seasons.

Saskatchewan

Increasing the Open Season Length for Ducks, Geese, Coots and Snipe in the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area

The opening date of the hunting season for ducks, coots, snipe and geese has been changed in Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area from September 20 to September 1. This change harmonizes the season date for the National Wildlife Area with the rest of Hunting District No. 2 (southern part of the province). The delayed season opening was to accommodate a lure crop program in the National Wildlife Area that was intended to keep birds, mainly ducks, geese and cranes, in the National Wildlife Area and out of surrounding agricultural fields until the harvest of crops was complete. However, lure crops have not been used at Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area since 2012, and continuing to delay the opening of the hunting season served no purpose. Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area will remain closed to Sandhill Crane hunting.

Increasing the open season length for Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, and White-fronted Geese for non-residents of Canada

The opening date for non-Canadian residents for Canada, Cackling and White-fronted geese in Hunting District No. 2 (southern part of the Manitoba) has been changed from September 10 to September 1. This change aligns all waterfowl hunting seasons for all hunters. There is currently limited hunting of other migratory game birds by non-residents from September 1 to September 10, and this amendment is expected to have minimal impact on harvest rates of Canada, Cackling or White-fronted geese. Effects of this change will be evaluated by continuing to monitor hunter numbers and the harvest of all migratory game birds.

Alberta

No regulatory changes were made for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 hunting seasons.

British Columbia

No regulatory changes were made for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 hunting seasons.

Yukon Territory

Increasing the daily bag limit and eliminating the possession limit for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese (combined)

The daily bag limit for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese has been increased to a combined total of 50 birds and the possession limit for these species has been removed. This measure provides additional opportunity to manage these overabundant species and contribute, through hunting, to reducing the growth of these populations. At the same time, it aims to facilitate the proper use of harvested birds.

Establishing a spring conservation season for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese

A spring special conservation season for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese has been implemented in Yukon. This measure aims to provide additional opportunity to manage these overabundant species, and contribute, through hunting, to reducing the growth of these populations.

The conservation season dates and locations were implemented as determined through consultation with the territorial government, wildlife management boards, other organizations and local communities.

Northwest Territories

No regulatory changes were made for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 hunting seasons.

Nunavut

No regulatory changes were made for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 hunting seasons.

Update on the Modernization of Canada's Migratory Birds Regulations to Improve the Management of Hunting in Canada

Spring 2014 – CWS held consultations on the modernization of aspects related to the management of hunting within the Migratory Birds Regulations.

Summer 2014 to summer 2015 – CWS compiled comments received and developed final regulatory proposals.

Fall 2015 to present – CWS continues to work on the regulatory submission with the goal of implementing those changes in the 2018/2019 hunting season.

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Please Report Bird Bands

The North American Bird Banding Program relies on hunters and other members of the public to report bird bands to its office. Reporting bird bands helps scientists and wildlife managers continue to learn about, monitor and conserve bird populations.

Bird band encounters can be reported to the Canadian Bird Banding Office:

  • online at USGS,
  • by email at BBO_CWS@ec.gc.ca,
  • by calling toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263), or
  • by writing to:
Bird Banding Office
National Wildlife Research Centre
Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada,
Ottawa ON, K1A 0H3

After submitting your encounter reports online, you will promptly receive banding information, and have the option to print a certificate of appreciation.

Hunters can still expect to find various types of bands on game birds, including bands with or without the website or phone number. Hunters may report any bands using any reporting method.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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The Government of Canada is Allowing the Temporary Possession of Dead Migratory Birds

The Government of Canada wants to inform the public of a variance to paragraph 6(b) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, to allow for the temporary possession of found dead migratory birds, which is in effect until August 28, 2016 (Public Notice: Government of Canada Allowing the Temporary Possession of Dead Migratory Birds). The department intends to put in place a new variance extending the date for the temporary possession of found dead birds to August 27, 2017.

As public participation in the study of dead migratory birds is necessary to help conduct surveys on avian viruses, it is permitted to temporarily possess dead migratory birds to allow for swift delivery of such birds to provincial or territorial authorities for analysis. The Government of Canada is responsible, under the MBCA, 1994, to ensure that migratory birds are protected and conserved, and testing dead birds is believed to be the most effective method available for the detection of avian viruses.

What to do if you find a dead migratory bird:

Contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre or by calling toll-free 1-800-567-2033.

Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website at Fact Sheet: Guidance on Precautions for the Handling of Wild Birds.

More information on the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 is available online at Migratory Birds Convention Act.

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New Online E-permitting System - an Easy Way to Purchase the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit

In August 2014, ECCC launched a new online e-permitting ordering system to improve hunters' access to Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permits. Originally, this system allowed hunters to purchase a permit online, and the permit (along with the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation [CWHC] stamp) would then be mailed to the hunter within 3 to 5 business days. As of August 2015, hunters can purchase their MGBH permit and CWHC stamp online, receive electronic copies of the stamp and permit by email, and print these documents from the comfort of their own home. The e-permitting system is accessible to hunters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It should also be noted that the MGBH e-permitting purchasing system makes it easier for hunters to respond to the questions on the permit, which helps inform the National Harvest Survey. Data from this and other CWS surveys are used to assess the status of migratory game bird populations in Canada, their productivity, survival rates, and amount of harvest they can sustain. This information also provides data to inform hunting regulations and harvest management plans for future years.

Permits can be purchased online at Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit .

Permits are also available for purchase at Canada Post outlets and through some independent vendors.

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Appendix: 2016/2017 Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries by Province and Territory

Summaries are also available on the ECCC website:

Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2016-2017: Summaries

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