Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2013–2014: Nova Scotia

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Summary

Please be aware that if there is a discrepancy between the hunting regulation summary and the Migratory Birds Regulations, the regulations prevail.

The information presented here is a summary of the law. 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 Canada website (www.ec.gc.ca), or you may contact:

Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville, New Brunswick  E4L 1G6
Tel.: 1-800-668-6767
enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

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

Consultation Process and Migratory Birds Regulatory Reports

The hunting provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations are reviewed annually 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 annually publishes the Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Series that can be found on the Environment Canada website (www.ec.gc.ca).

Important Updates to the Hunting Regulations for Nova Scotia

Increase in season length for ducks – Some of the open seasons for ducks have been extended.

Daily bag limits for American Black Ducks – Increased daily bag limit for American Black Ducks in the early part of the hunting season.

Possession limits for ducks – Increased possession limit for ducks (other than Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, eiders and scoters) from 2 to 3 times the daily bag limit.

Farmland restriction lifted – Since 2012, the early season (September) restriction of hunting only on farmland for Canada and Cackling Geese no longer applies.

Possession limit for geese – Is fixed at 16 throughout the duration of the goose season.

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.

For complete details regarding the 2013–2014 hunting season, please refer to the Open Season and Bag and Possession Limit tables below.


Use of bait prior to and during the migratory bird hunting season is prohibited. Check your permit and provincial hunting regulations for additional restrictions, such as Sunday closures and minimum required distances from residences and businesses.

National Wildlife Areas located in Nova Scotia are administered under the Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act. Refer to notices posted at entrances for area-specific rules.

Waterfowler Heritage Day provides young hunters under the age of majority with the opportunity to practice 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; and
  • mentors may not hunt or carry a firearm, and may accompany no more than two young hunters.

In Nova Scotia, 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 in order to reduce your exposure to contaminants.

Helpful Tip

Canadians may be exposed to avian-borne viruses when hunting or handling migratory birds and other wild game. Environment Canada recommends the following website, maintained by the Public Health Agency of Canada, for information about minimizing the risk of exposure: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

Crime Stoppers
Hunting violations may be reported to Environment Canada Wildlife Enforcement at 506-364-5044, your local RCMP detachment, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-565-2224, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


This table provides information on the open seasons in Nova Scotia (No Open Season for Harlequin Ducks.

Open Seasons in Nova Scotia (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)
AreaDucks (other than Harlequin Ducks) and geese
(Waterfowler Heritage Day)
Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, eiders, scoters, Goldeneyes
and Buffleheads)
Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, eiders, scoters, Goldeneyes and BuffleheadsGeeseWoodcock and snipe
Zone No. 1*Sept. 21, 2013Oct. 1, 2013, to Jan. 7, 2014Oct. 1, 2013, to Jan. 7, 2014Sept. 3 to Sept. 17, 2013, and
Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013
Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2013
Zone No. 2*Sept. 21, 2013Oct. 8, 2013, to Jan. 14, 2014Oct. 8, 2013, to Jan. 14, 2014Sept. 3 to Sept. 23, 2013, and
Oct. 22, 2013, to Jan. 15, 2014
Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2013
Zone No. 3*Sept. 21, 2013Oct. 8, 2013, to Jan. 14, 2014Oct. 8, 2013, to Jan. 14, 2014Sept. 3 to Sept. 23, 2013, and
Oct. 22, 2013, to Jan. 15, 2014
Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2013

* “Zone No. 1” means the counties of Antigonish, Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland, Hants, Kings and Annapolis.
“Zone No. 2” means the counties of Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Halifax, Guysborough, Cape Breton, Victoria, Inverness and Richmond, except the area described under Zone 3.
“Zone No. 3” means Bras d’Or Lake and all waters draining into Bras d’Or Lake including waters on the lake side of the highway bridge on Great Bras d’Or at Seal Islands (Highway No. 105), at St. Peters on St. Peters Inlet (Highway No. 4) and at Bras d’Or on St. Andrews Channel (Highway No. 105).

This table provides information on the daily bag and possession Limits in Nova Scotia.

Bag and Possession Limits in Nova Scotia
LimitsDucks (other than Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, eiders and scoters)Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, eiders and scotersGeeseWoodcockSnipe
Daily bag6(a)5(c)5(e)(f)810
Possession18(b)10(d)161620

(a) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In Zone No. 1 during the period beginning on December 1, 2013, and ending on January 7, 2014, and in Zone No. 2 and Zone No. 3 during the period beginning on December 8, 2013, and ending on January 14, 2014, not more than 4 may be American Black Ducks.
(b) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye.
(c) Not more than 4 may be scoters.
(d) Not more than 8 may be scoters.
(e) In Zone No. 1, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 3 to September 17, 2013.
(f) In Zone No. 2 and Zone No. 3, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 3 to September 23, 2013.

Report Your Migratory Bird Bands

Call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or go to: www.reportband.gov