Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2015–2016: Ontario
The information presented here is a summary of the law. If there is a discrepancy between the law and this summary, the law prevails. For complete information on fines, general prohibitions, permitted hunting methods and equipment, the requirement to have adequate means to retrieve birds immediately, restrictions on the use of bait, the description of hunting districts, and other restrictions on hunting, please refer to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Migratory Birds Regulations. These, along with other useful information for hunters, can be found on the Environment Canada website, or you may contact:
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4
You are required to possess a valid federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit with a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp to hunt migratory birds in Canada. This permit and stamp are valid in all provinces and territories. Most provinces and territories have additional licence requirements for hunting migratory birds and/or to carry firearms. To know what you require, and if there are further restrictions for hunting migratory birds, please verify the applicable regulations for the province/territory where you will be hunting. Note that all required permits and licences must be in your possession while you are hunting.
Note that south of the French and Mattawa rivers, Sunday gun hunting is permitted by provincial regulations in some municipalities, but not all. Season dates for Canada Geese and Cackling Geese in the Southern District may differ between municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted and those where it is not. Hunters should consult the provincial regulations for information about Wildlife Management Unit boundaries and a list of municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted.
Consultation Process and Migratory Birds Regulatory Reports
The hunting provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations are reviewed by Environment Canada, with input from the provinces and territories, as well as a range of other interested stakeholders. Environment 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 Canada website.
In Ontario, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt migratory game birds, except for woodcock. Within National Wildlife Areas, the possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting, including the hunting of migratory birds and upland game birds. Hunters should consult provincial or territorial regulations for additional restrictions. For those birds still hunted with lead shot, remove the lead shot before cooking to reduce your exposure to contaminants. As well, remove the skin and fat from fish-eating birds before cooking them.
Barrow’s Goldeneye is listed in the Species at Risk Act as a species of special concern, and the bag and possession limit of 1 remains in place.
Waterfowler Heritage Days were introduced to provide young hunters under the age of majority (12 to 17 years) with the opportunity to practise hunting and outdoor skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured, supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors have an opportunity to pass on their considerable skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to younger hunters. The following rules are in effect:
- to participate, young hunters under the age of majority do not require the federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit;
- young participants must comply with all existing safety and licensing requirements found in the Firearms Act and provincial hunting regulations;
- participants must be accompanied by a licensed mentor over the age of majority;
- mentors may not hunt or carry a firearm, and may accompany no more than one young hunter; and
- daily bag limits are outlined in the Bag and Possession Limits table below, and include footnotes a, e and f.
- 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°
- 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
- Central District
Wildlife Management Units 42 to 44 and 46 to 59
- Southern District
Wildlife Management Units 60 to 95
If you need more information to determine in which hunting district you are located, please visit: Ontario: Find a wildlife management unit (WMU) map
|Area||Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks), rails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails), gallinules, coots, snipe and geese |
(Waterfowler Heritage Day)
|Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks), rails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails), gallinules, coots, snipe and |
geese (other than Canada Geese and Cackling Geese)
|Canada Geese and |
|1. Hudson–James Bay |
|Sept. 5, 2015||Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015||Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015||Sept. 1 to |
Dec. 15, 2015
|No open season|
|2. Northern District||Sept. 5, 2015||Sept. 10 to Dec. 24, 2015||Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2015||Sept. 15 to |
Dec. 15, 2015
|No open season|
|3. Central District||Sept. 12, 2015||Sept. 19, 2015, to Jan. 2, 2016||Sept. 8 to Dec. 23, 2015||Sept. 20 to |
Dec. 20, 2015
|Sept. 8 to |
Nov. 16, 2015Note a of Table
|4. Southern District||Sept. 19, 2015||Sept. 26, 2015, to |
Jan. 9, 2016 Note b of TableNotef of Table
|Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, 2015Note c of Table|
Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, 2015 (except for any Sunday within this period)Note d of Table
Sept. 26 to Dec. 30, 2015Note c of Table
Sept. 26, 2015, to Jan. 9, 2016
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of Table
Feb. 27 to Mar. 5, 2016
(except for any Sunday within
this period)Note d of TableNote e of Table
|Sept. 25 to |
Dec. 20, 2015
|Sept. 10 to |
Nov. 18, 2015Note a of Table
Notes of Table: Open Seasons in Ontario (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)
- Note [a] of Table
Non-toxic shot required.
- Note [b] of Table
In Wildlife Management Unit 65, recorded Snow Goose calls may be used when hunting Snow Geese; any species of migratory bird for which it is open season may be taken while hunting Snow Geese with those calls.
- Note [c] of Table
In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted by provincial regulations.
- Note [d] of Table
In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted by provincial regulations.
- Note [e] of Table
Except in Wildlife Management Unit 94.
- Note [f] of Table
Except for American Black Ducks, for which the open season begins on September 26 and ends on December 20, 2015.
|Limits||Ducks (other than |
|Canada Geese and Cackling Geese||White-fronted |
Geese and Brant
|Snow Geese||Rails (other |
than Yellow Rails
and King Rails)
|Gallinules||Woodcock and coots||Mourning Doves|
|Daily bag||6Note g of Table||5Note i of TableNote j of TableNote k of TableNote l of Table||5||20||10||4||8||15|
|Possession||18Note h of Table||No limit||15||No limit||30||12||24||45|
Notes of Table: Bag and Possession Limits in Ontario
- Note [g] of Table
Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In the Southern District and Central District, not more than 1 may be an American Black Duck, and in the Hudson–James Bay District and Northern District, not more than 2 may be American Black Ducks.
- Note [h] of Table
Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In the Southern District and Central District, not more than 3 may be American Black Ducks, and in the Hudson–James Bay District and Northern District, not more than 6 may be American Black Ducks.
- Note [i] of Table
A total of not more than 2 Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily in Wildlife Management Unit 94 from September 26, 2015, to January 9, 2016.
- Note [j] of Table
A total of not more than 3 Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily in Wildlife Management Units 82, 84, 85 and 93 from September 26 to October 31, 2015.
- Note [k] of Table
Up to 5 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily in (i) Wildlife Management Units 36 and 45 from September 1 to September 9, 2015; (ii) Wildlife Management Units 42 to 44 and 46 to 59 from September 8 to September 18, 2015; (iii) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, 86 to 92, and 95 from September 10 to September 20, 2015, and (iv) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, and 86 to 92 from February 27 to March 5, 2016, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.
- Note [l] of Table
Up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily in (i) Wildlife Management Units 82, 84, 85, 93 and 94 from September 10 to September 20, 2015, and (ii) Wildlife Management Units 82, 84, 85 and 93 from February 27 to March 5, 2016, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.
|Area||Period during which Snow Geese may be killed||Additional hunting method or equipment|
|Wildlife Management Unit 65||Mar. 1 to May 31, 2016Note m of Table||Recorded bird callsNote n of Table|
Notes of Table: Measures in Ontario Concerning Overabundant Species
Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese should keep their 2015–2016 federal permits.
Report Your Migratory Bird Bands
Call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or go to the Report a bird with a Federal Band or Color Marker website
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