Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2016-2017: 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 zones, and other restrictions on hunting, please refer to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and 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
ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.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.

The Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit is now available online on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website. Purchase and print your permit from the comfort of home.

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.

Important Updates to the Hunting Regulations for Ontario

Youth who are participating in the Waterfowler Heritage Day can now hunt American Woodcock on that day in all hunting districts as well as Mourning Doves in the Central District and Southern District; non-toxic shot is required for doves.

For Lesser Snow Geese in the Hudson–James Bay District, the daily bag limit has been increased from 20 to 30.

As per subsections 15.1(1) and 15.1(2) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, in Ontario, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt all migratory game birds, except for woodcock. Non-toxic shot must also be used to hunt Mourning Dove. 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 provide young hunters who are minors (under 18 years of age) 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 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 (who is not a minor);
  • mentors may not hunt or carry a firearm, and may accompany no more than one young hunter;
  • only young hunters may hunt when Waterfowler Heritage Days fall outside of the regular open seasons; 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

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Open Seasons and Waterfowler Heritage Days in Ontario (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)
AreaWaterfowler Heritage Days
Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks), rails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails), gallinules, coots, snipe and geese
Open Seasons in Ontario
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)
Open Seasons in Ontario
Canada Geese and
Cackling Geese
Open Seasons in Ontario
Woodcock
Open Seasons in Ontario
Mourning Doves
1. Hudson-James Bay
District
Sept. 3, 2016Note a of TableSept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2016Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2016Sept. 1 to
Dec. 15, 2016
No open season
2. Northern DistrictSept. 3, 2016Note a of TableSept. 10 to Dec. 24, 2016Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2016Sept. 15 to
Dec. 15, 2016
No open season
3. Central DistrictSept. 10, 2016Note a of TableSept. 17, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016Sept. 6 to Dec. 21, 2016Sept. 20 to
Dec. 20, 2016
Sept. 6 to
Nov. 14, 2016
4. Southern DistrictSept. 17, 2016Note a of TableSept. 24, 2016, to
Jan. 7, 2017 Note b of TableNotef of Table
Sept. 8 to Sept. 18, 2016Note c of Table
Sept. 8 to Sept. 18, 2016 (except for any Sunday within this period)Note d of Table

Sept. 24 to Dec. 28, 2016Notec of Table
Sept. 24, 2016, to Jan. 7, 2017
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of Table

Feb. 25 to Mar. 4, 2017
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of TableNotee of Table
Sept. 25 to
Dec. 20, 2016
Sept. 8 to
Nov. 16, 2016

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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 Table520Note m of Table104815
Possession18Note h of TableNo limit15No limit30122445

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Overabundant Species

The Migratory Birds Regulations also provide for special conservation periods when hunters may take overabundant species. Please note that additional hunting methods or equipment are permitted during the special conservation periods. See the table below for details.

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, 2017Note m of TableRecorded bird callsNote n of Table

Note

The 2016 federal permit is also valid for the 2017 spring special conservation season for Snow Geese.

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1916-2016

Canada–U.S. Migratory Birds Convention

Celebrating a Century of Shared Conservation

For more information on centennial celebrations, visit Celebrating 100 Years of International Bird Conservation

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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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