Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations,
2016-2017: Alberta


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
9250-49 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T6B 1K5
Tel.: 1-800-668-6767

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.

Hunting Zones

Alberta hunting zones
Map of Alberta
Long Description for Alberta's hunting zones

Map showing the boundaries of the 8 Hunting Zones in the province of Alberta with Zone 1 in the North-East corner and Zone 2 in the North-West corner. Going South from Zones 1 are Zones 3, 5 and 7 and going South from Zone 2 are Zones 8, 4 and 6, with the southern boundary of Zones 6, 7 and 8 following along the US-Canada border.

Hunters are advised to pay particular attention to the Alberta Hunting Guide to ensure that they are hunting for the correct species in the correct wildlife management unit during the permitted times and dates. Note that these zone numbers do not correspond to regions as presented in the Guide. If you need more information to determine in which zone you are located, please visit: Alberta Guide Hunting Regulations

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.

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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.

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 two young hunters; and

In Alberta, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt migratory game birds. 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.

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Open Seasons and Waterflower Heritage Days in Alberta
AreaWaterfowler Heritage Days
Ducks, geese, coots and snipe
Open Seasons in Alberta
Ducks, geese, coots and snipe
Zones 1Note a of Table, 2Note b of Table, 3Note c of Table, 4Note d of Table and 8Note h of TableSept. 3 to Sept. 4, 2016Note i of TableSept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2016Note j of Table
Zones 5Note e of Table, 6Note f of Table and 7Note g of TableSept. 3 to Sept. 4, 2016Note i of TableSept. 8 to Dec. 21, 2016Note k of Table

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Bag and Possession Limits in Alberta
LimitsDucksSnow Geese and Ross's GeeseCanada Geese, Cackling Geese and White-fronted GeeseCootsSnipe
Daily bag8Note l of Table508Note n of Table88
Possession24Note m of TableNo limit24Note o of Table2424

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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 Alberta Concerning Overabundant Species
AreaPeriod during which Snow Geese and Ross's Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
Throughout AlbertaMar. 15 to June 15, 2017Recorded bird callsNote p of Table


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

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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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