Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations

(Including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species)

December 2015

- Consultation Document -

Canadian Wildlife Service
Waterfowl Committee

Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) Migratory Birds Regulatory Report
Number 46

Consultation

The public consultation period is from January 28 to February 28, 2016. During this period, public comments are solicited on the proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations for the establishment of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 migratory game birds hunting regulations. Comment should be sent by email at ec.scf-oismiggibiers-cws-miggamebirds.ec@canada.ca

Image of the 2015 Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp
The Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, titled 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.

PDF version (3816 KB)

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Cat. No.: CW69-16/46-2016E-PDF
ISBN: 978-0-660-04043-1

Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials in this publication, in whole or in part, for the purposes of commercial redistribution without prior written permission from Environment and Climate Change Canada's copyright administrator. To obtain permission to reproduce Government of Canada materials for commercial purposes, apply for Crown Copyright Clearance by contacting:

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment
and Climate Change, 2016

Aussi disponible en français sous le titre :

Propositions de modification de la réglementation sur les oiseaux migrateurs du Canada

Cover Art

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 totalling 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 website.


Document Information

Authors

This report was prepared by the Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee, and edited by Renée Bergeron and Marc-André Cyr of the National Office of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Recommended Citation for this Report

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2015. Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (Including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species), Consultation Document - December 2015. CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 46. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa.

Consultation

The public consultation period is from January 28 to February 28, 2016. During this period, public comments are solicited on the proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations for the establishment of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 migratory game birds hunting regulations.

Comments regarding the regulation-setting process or other concerns relating to national migratory birds should be sent to the Director of Population and Conservation Management Division at the national office of the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada at the following postal address:

351 St. Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau QC K1A 0H3 or by email:
ec.scf-oismiggibiers-cws-miggamebirds.ec@canada.ca

Comments regarding the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 proposed hunting regulations specific to a region should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environmental Stewardship Branch, 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 and Northern Region: Twin Atria No. 2, 4999 98 Avenue, Edmonton AB T6B 2X3
Pacific and Yukon Region: 5421 Robertson Road, R.R. #1, Delta BC V4K 3N2

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Background

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is responsible for the conservation of migratory birds in Canada and the management of the sustainable hunting of these birds. The hunting regulations for migratory game birds are reviewed and amended biennially by ECCC, with input from provinces and territories, as well as from various other stakeholders. The population status of migratory game birds is assessed on an annual basis to ensure that the regulations are appropriate, and amendments can be made between review periods, if necessary, for conservation reasons. As part of the regulatory process to amend the hunting regulations, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) produces a series of regulatory reports.

The first report, 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. Thus the November Report is published every year.

The second report, Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (the "December Report"), outlines the proposed changes to the hunting regulations, as well as proposals to amend the overabundant species regulations and other proposed amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations. Proposals for hunting regulations are developed in accordance with the Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting (see Appendix B of this report or visit 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, 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 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 hunting regulations in Canada. They are also available on the ECCC website (Consultation Process on Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations).

The first two-year period of hunting regulations began with the 2014-2015 hunting season and ended with the 2015-2016 hunting season.

Regulatory proposals described in the current document, if approved, would be in place starting in September 2016 and remain in effect through winter/spring 2018 inclusively. This second two-year cycle will also establish special conservation measures for overabundant geese in spring 2017 and spring 2018. (Note that the regulations for spring 2016 were made into law as part of the 2013 process; see Appendix A .)

Schedule for the Development of Hunting Regulations

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 Nature website.
  • November - CWS regional offices develop proposals for hunting regulations in consultations 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 Nature website and distributed to allow for public, inter-regional and international consultation.
  • Early 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 Nature website. The migratory game bird hunting regulation summaries are available on the ECCC Nature website.
  • Early August - Hunting regulation summaries are available with the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits at Canada Post outlets and on the ECCC website.

Migratory game bird hunters are made aware of the migratory game bird hunting regulations at the same time as they receive information on the season dates and the bag and possession limits, when they purchase their hunting permits.

Note to United States 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 early March. 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.

American Black Duck Harvest Strategy

An International Black Duck Harvest Strategy was adopted in 2012 by the CWS and the 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.

The Harvest Strategy, used to determine the appropriate Black Duck harvest regulations, was first implemented in 2013-2014. It consists of four pre-defined regulatory packages in Canada and three in the United States. 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.

The optimal Canadian policy recommendation for the 2016-2017 hunting season is the moderate regulatory package. This recommendation is based on the 2015 breeding population estimate of 541 000 Black Ducks and 406 000 Mallards in eastern Canada; Mallards are included in the Harvest Strategy because this species hybridizes and competes with Black Ducks on the breeding grounds and therefore may negatively affect the Black Duck population. With an approximate 11% decline in the 2015 breeding Black Duck population compared with the 2014 estimate and a 12% decline below the long-term average (1990-2014), the moderate package now becomes the optimal alternative.

Due to the adoption of a two-year stabilized regulatory cycle in Canada in 2013, a moderate package remained in place for the 2015-2016 hunting season instead of the prescribed liberal package (2014 Strategy recommendation). As such, Canadian Black Duck hunting regulations (daily bag and possession limits) will remain unchanged and now follow the prescribed optimal policy recommendation from the Harvest Strategy based on breeding population estimates. By default, the moderate regulatory package will also be implemented for the 2017-2018 Black Duck hunting season in Canada.

Since the implementation of the Harvest Strategy in 2013-2014, the Canadian harvest rate estimates were 4.8% per year under the liberal package and 2.6% per year under the moderate package. The liberal package was close to its target harvest rate for that year (~4.7% per year) but the moderate package was below (3.5% per year) in 2014-2015. Each regulatory package, however, must be implemented for at least two years before changes to the regulatory package will be considered, due to variability in annual harvest rates. In the interim, CWS will continue to monitor harvest rate in addition to the breeding population to ensure that the Harvest Strategy continues to meet the objectives stated above.

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Management of Overabundant Geese

Regulatory Proposals for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018

The special conservation measures for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese to be implemented in spring 2016 were proposed in the fall of 2013 and made into law in June 2014. They are posted on the CWS website, at Overabundant Species, and are shown in Appendix A of this report.

The regulations proposed for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese to be implemented in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 hunting seasons are as follows:

  • Increase the daily bag limit and eliminate the possession limit for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese (combined) in Yukon;
  • Establish spring conservation season for Lesser Snow Geese and Ross's Geese in Yukon;
  • Increase the daily bag limit for Lesser Snow Geese in the Hudson-James Bay Hunting District in Ontario.

See the section below for more detail about these proposals.

Proposed Changes to Hunting Regulations for the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 Seasons

CWS and the provinces and territories have jointly developed the regulatory proposals presented here. Other proposals consistent with these may be sent to the appropriate CWS Regional Director by any interested organization or individual (additional information can be found on the title page). To facilitate the comparison of changes proposed in this text with current regulations, the summaries of the 2015-2016 Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations are included in Appendix C .

Clarifying Hunting Restrictions on the Waterfowler Heritage Days

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

This proposal aims to clarify hunting restrictions on Waterfowler Heritage Days (WHDs) when they occur before the regular open season.

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 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).

It is proposed to modify the open season tables (Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations and the hunting regulations summaries) in order to clarify that hunters not mentoring a minor may not hunt during the WHDs when these days fall outside of the regular open season.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Removing Restriction on Season Length for Sea Ducks

It is proposed to remove a restriction put into place in 1997 in all coastal zones on the Island of Newfoundland and the Southern Labrador Zone, which shortened the season for Long-tailed Ducks, eiders and scoters (eiders only in the Southern Labrador Zone) by 10 days to reduce hunting pressure on northern stocks of eiders. The season would open on November 25 and close on March 10 (currently opens on November 28 and closes on February 29).

Since the restrictions were put into place in 1997, significant resources have been directed toward 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 impact populations. Harvest will be monitored through the CWS's Migratory Birds National Harvest Survey. Also, the number of wintering and breeding eiders will be monitored at regular intervals.

CWS continues to consider two amendments that may be proposed in the future:

Eider Hunting

A notice of intent is given that changes to coastal zone boundaries along the west coast of the Northern Peninsula may be implemented in a subsequent hunting season. This request was brought forward by user groups, and the effect of this change has yet to be fully assessed. Pending the outcomes of further consultation, CWS may consider implementing changes to zone boundaries in the future.

Changes in eider season timing (opening date) will also to be reviewed in all Insular Newfoundland Coastal Zones and the Southern Labrador Zone concurrent with the proposed changes to zone boundaries described above.

New Murre Hunting Zone in Newfoundland

A notice of intent is given that a new murre hunting zone is under consideration within the Green Bay area of the existing Murre Hunting Zone 2. In this area, hunters see few murres during the first part of the current murre hunting season, and have requested a delay in the season dates to allow access to murres that occur there later in January and early February. The proposal under consideration is to delay the opening and closing dates of the murre hunting season within the new murre hunting zone by two to three weeks. A majority of murre hunters, but not all, who reported that their primary murre hunting area was within the proposed zone supported the proposed new zone and season; however, the specific area to be delineated in any new zone has not yet been defined. Community meetings may be held to determine the exact positioning of boundaries.

Prince Edward Island

Restricting the Daily Bag and Possession Limits for Eiders

It is proposed that the eider daily bag limit be decreased from 6 to 4 and the possession limit decreased from 12 to 8. This 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 5000 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, Quebec, suggest that numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

Nova Scotia

Restricting the Daily Bag and Possession Limits for Eiders

It is proposed that the eider daily bag limit be decreased from 5 to 4 and the possession limit decreased from 10 to 8. This 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 5000 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, Quebec, suggest that numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

New Brunswick

Restricting the Daily Bag and Possession Limits for Eiders

It is proposed that 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 in Zone No. 2. The proposal would see the eider daily bag limit decrease from 6 to 4 and the possession limit decrease from 12 to 8. This 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 5000 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, Quebec suggest that numbers of eider breeding there are stable, while the numbers breeding along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador have been increasing.

Update the Boundary for No-hunting Zones

It is proposed to update the reference to Railroad Bridge to recognize the bridge is now part of the NB Trail.

Quebec

Establishing a Hunting Season for Mourning Dove

- Establishing Opening and Closing Dates, Daily Bag and Possession Limits

It is proposed to establish a new hunting season for Mourning Doves in district F in southern Quebec beginning in fall 2016. The season would open on the same date as the American Woodcock season in September. The Mourning Dove season length would be 107 days. The daily bag limit would be 8 doves, and the possession limit would be set at 3 times the daily bag limit (24), as it is for other game bird species in Quebec.

CWS conducted an evaluation of long-term data sets and reviewed recent studies to evaluate Mourning Dove population status and trends, the Mourning Dove harvest potential, and to identify information needs for conservation and management of Mourning Doves in Quebec. A summary of the findings is provided below:

  1. Mourning Doves are one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds in North America; fall population estimates range from 350 to 475 million birds. In the United States, Mourning Doves are hunted in 40 of 50 states, where approximately 1 million hunters harvest 15 to 20 million of these birds each year, typically representing 5% to 10% of the estimated fall population. In Canada, there has been an annual Mourning Dove hunting season in British Columbia since 1960, and Ontario reinstated a Mourning Dove hunting season in 2013.
  2. Based on the Breeding Bird Survey, the Quebec breeding population has increased annually by 6.5% between 1970 and 2012.
  3. The Quebec Breeding Bird Atlas documented increases in the breeding population as well as an expansion of the breeding range to the north and east in the middle of the 1980s and in the 2000s.
  4. Based on the Christmas Bird Count, the Mourning Dove population significantly increased between 1976 and 2001. Since 2001, a slight declining trend is being observed.
  5. The breeding population in Quebec is estimated at 760 000 doves, with a fall population estimate of 988 000 birds. These numbers should support the harvest rate anticipated by hunters and allow minimal consequences on Mourning Dove population in Quebec.
  6. Available band recovery data from Quebec confirm that Mourning Doves that breed in Quebec are exposed to low hunting pressure in the eastern United States since Mourning Dove hunting is prohibited in several States.
  7. Based on these supporting evidence, 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.
- Non-toxic Shot Requirement

It is proposed to implement a non-toxic shot requirement to hunt Mourning Doves in Quebec. The 1997 prohibition on the use of lead shot to hunt migratory game birds did not include upland game birds; these are: Mourning Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon and American Woodcock. At the time, there was opposition to the federal proposal to include these species in the ban on lead shot because:

  1. There was no direct evidence at the time of lead poisoning in these species;
  2. The type of hunting involved suggested lead deposition was less spatially concentrated than for waterfowl; thus, there was a lower risk of birds becoming contaminated.

Two of the principal concerns behind the resistance by non-governmental organizations were: i) a fear that non-toxic shot would be less effective and would lead to increased crippling rates, and ii) the availability and cost of non-toxic shot made its use impractical. Experience since 1997 by waterfowl hunters has demonstrated that these concerns were unfounded or at least are no longer valid. With the increasing use of non-toxic shot across North America, studies have clearly shown that crippling rates did not significantly increase. Non-toxic shot is readily available in Canada at only a marginally higher cost than lead shot, and waterfowl hunters have adapted to its use.

There is recent evidence from the United States that at least in some situations, Mourning Doves do ingest lead pellets in areas where they are hunted and do succumb to lead toxicity. While hunting of upland species may not always result in heavy deposition of lead pellets, in some situations dove hunting is highly concentrated and pellet deposition rates in the environment may be sufficient to result in a high likelihood of pellet ingestion by doves and other birds; it is believed that this could be the case in southern Quebec. One of the key objectives of ECCC's Toxic Substances Management Policy is the "virtual elimination from the environment of toxic substances that result primarily from human activity," and the objective of Health Canada's Proposed Risk Management Strategy for Lead includes an intent to "pursue additional management measures to reduce exposure to lead, and hence associated risks, to the greatest extent practicable."

Because non-toxic shot has proven to be effective for harvesting waterfowl and is available in appropriate shot sizes for hunting upland game birds at only a marginally higher cost than lead shot, it is considered practicable to prohibit its use for hunting Mourning Doves, at least in regions where there is a moderate to high risk of pellet ingestion by birds.

Update the Boundary for No-hunting Zones

It is proposed to update the boundary descriptions of six no-hunting zones 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) 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 would not change the current limit of these zones.

Ontario

Waterfowler Heritage Days

It is proposed to add Mourning Dove and American Woodcock to the list of species that minors may hunt on the Waterfowler Heritage Day in Ontario. This change would provide increased hunting opportunity for youth in Ontario. Currently, Mourning Doves may not be harvested by minors participating in the Waterfowler Heritage Day despite an open season for doves for all other hunters at this time. This change would also allow mentors with the opportunity 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 District

It is proposed to increase the daily bag limit from 20 to 50 Lesser Snow Geese in the Hudson-James Bay Hunting District. This change may increase the Canadian harvest of overabundant Lesser Snow Geese, an overabundant species.

Update the Boundary for No-hunting Zones

It is proposed to update the boundary names for all geographic hunting restrictions in Ontario. With changes in municipal and township names in Ontario over time (e.g., due to amalgamation), some boundary names are outdated. Updates to these names will 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 are proposed for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 hunting seasons.

Saskatchewan

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

It is proposed to change the opening date of the hunting season for ducks, coots, snipe and geese in Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area from September 20 to September 1. This change would harmonize 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 serves 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

It is proposed to change the opening date for non-residents of Canada for Canada, Cackling and White-fronted geese in Hunting District No. 2 (southern part of the province) from September 10 to September 1. This would align 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 the proposed change would be evaluated by continuing to monitor hunter numbers and harvests of all migratory game birds.

Alberta

No regulatory changes are proposed for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 hunting seasons.

British Columbia

No regulatory changes are proposed 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)

It is proposed to increase the daily bag limit for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese to a combined total of 50 birds and to remove the possession limit for these species. This measure would provide additional opportunity to manage these overabundant species and contribute, through hunting, to reducing the growth of the populations. At the same time, it would facilitate the proper use of harvested birds.

Establishing a Spring Conservation Harvest for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese

It is proposed to implement a spring special conservation season for Snow Geese and Ross's Geese. This measure would provide additional opportunity to manage these overabundant species, and contribute, through hunting, to reducing the growth of these populations.

Northwest Territories

No regulatory changes are proposed for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 hunting seasons.

Nunavut

No regulatory changes are proposed for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 hunting seasons.

Update on the Modernization of Canada's Migratory Birds Regulations to 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 proposed regulatory amendments with the goal of implementing those changes in the 2017-2018 hunting season.

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).

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 Migratory Birds Convention Act, 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 telephoning 1-800-567-2033.

Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada for guidance on precautions to take when handling wild birds.

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

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

In August 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada 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. In 2014, 3611 hunters purchased their permit online, and this number is expected to increase significantly in 2015 based on sales to date (the number of permit sold in 2015 was not available at the time of the publication of this report).

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 help 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

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Appendices

Appendix A. Special Conservation Measures for Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 Hunting Season

Measures in Quebec concerning overabundant species.
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
 1.District ASeptember 1 to December 16, 2015
May 1 to June 30, 2016
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)
 2.District BSeptember 12 to December 26, 2015Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef)
 3.Districts C and DSeptember 1 to September 11, 2015 (Footnotea), and September 12 to December 26, 2015
March 1 to May 31, 2016(Footnotea)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef)

Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)
 4.District ESeptember 1 to September 11, 2015 (Footnotea), and September 12 to December 26, 2015
March 1 to May 31, 2016(Footnotea)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef); bait crop area(Footnotee)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted); bait(Footnotee)
 5.Districts FSeptember 6 to September 18, 2015(Footnotea), and September 19, 2015 to January 2, 2016
March 1 to May 31, 2016 (Footnotea)(Footnoteb)(Footnotec)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef); bait crop area(Footnotee)
Recorded bird calls(Footnoted); bait(Footnotee)
 6.District GSeptember 26 to December 26, 2015Recorded bird calls(Footnoted)(Footnotef)

Footnotes

Footnote a

Hunting and hunting equipment are allowed only on farmland.

Return to footnote a referrer

Footnote b

In District F, no person shall hunt south of the St. Lawrence River and north of the road right-of-way of Route 132 between the western limit of municipality of Montmagny and the eastern limit of Cap-Saint-Ignace municipality, other than in lots 4 598 472 and 2 611 981 in Montmagny municipality.

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Footnote c

In District F, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, no person shall hunt north of the St. Lawrence River and south of a line located at 1000 m north of Highway 40 between Montée St-Laurent and the Maskinongé River. On the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, no person shall hunt south of the St. Lawrence River and north of the railroad right-of-way located near Route 132 between the Nicolet River in the east and Lacerte Road in the west.

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Footnote d

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

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Footnote e

Hunting with bait or in a bait crop area is permitted if the Regional Director has given consent in writing pursuant to section 23.3.

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Footnote f

Any species of migratory bird for which it is open season may be taken while hunting Snow Geese with recorded Snow Geese calls.

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

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Measures in Ontario concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.Wildlife Management Unit 65March 1 to May 31, 2016 (Footnotea)Recorded bird calls(Footnoteb)

Footnotes

Footnote a

Hunting and hunting equipment are allowed only on farmland.

Return to footnote a referrer

Footnote b

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote b referrer

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

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Measures in Manitoba concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.Zone 1August 15 to August 31, 2015 and April 1 to June 15, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)
2.Zone 2, 3, 4March 15 to May 31, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)

Footnotes

Footnote a

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote a referrer

Note: Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.

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Measures in Saskatchewan concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.District No. 1 (North) and District No. 2 (South)March 15 to June 15, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)

Footnotes

Footnote a

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote a referrer

Note: Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.

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Measures in Alberta concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese and Ross's may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.Throughout AlbertaMarch 15 to June 15, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)

Footnotes

Footnote a

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote a referrer

Note: Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.

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Measures in Nunavut concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which Snow Geese may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.Throughout NunavutAugust 15 to August 31, 2015
May 1 to June 30, 2016
Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)

Footnotes

Footnote a

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote a referrer

Note: Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.

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Measures in Northwest Territories concerning overabundant species
ItemColumn 1
Area
Column 2
Period during which
Snow Geese and Ross's Geese
may be killed
Column 3
Additional hunting method or equipment
1.Banks Island, Victoria Island and Queen Elizabeth IslandsMay 1 to June 30, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)
2.Throughout the Northwest Territories except Banks Island, Victoria Island and Queen Elizabeth IslandsMay 1 to May 28, 2016Recorded bird calls(Footnotea)

Footnotes

Footnote a

"Recorded bird calls" refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote a referrer

Note: Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese should keep their 2015-2016 federal permits.
No person shall hunt earlier than one hour before sunrise or later than one hour after sunset.

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Appendix B. Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting

See the following pages for the Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting

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Appendix C. Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries by Province and Territory - 2015 - 2016 Hunting Season

The summaries are available on the CWS national website.

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Additional information can be obtained at:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Public Inquiries Centre
7th Floor, Fontaine Building
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-2800
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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