FAQs for Hunters

Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations : Questions and Answers


Most migratory birds found in Canada are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) of 1994. The Act fulfilled the terms of the Migratory Birds Convention of 1916 between Canada and the USA. The Canadian government has the authority to pass and enforce regulations to protect those species of migratory birds which are included in the Convention. Similar legislation in the United States protects species found in that country.

In Canada, the MBCA is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service and enforced by the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate of Environment and Climate Change Canada. In cooperation with provincial and territorial governments, Environment and Climate Change Canada Game Officers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and provincial and most territorial law enforcement agencies have the authority to enforce the Act.

Under the MBCA and its regulations, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for managing migratory bird populations, and regulating the hunting of migratory game birds such as ducks and geese. Every two years, Environment and Climate Change Canada determines hunting seasons and bag limits for migratory game bird species which are then published as Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations.

The purpose of this Question and Answer section is to answer frequently asked questions as well as provide the reader with a better understanding of the Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations in Canada which are established under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and its regulations (the Migratory Birds Regulations).

Readers should note that this is not a legal document. For exact wording consult the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) and the Migratory Birds Regulations (MBR) on the Canadian Department of Justice website. If there is a discrepancy between the law and the information provided here, the law prevails.

Hunting permit general information

Question: What license or permit do I require to hunt migratory game birds in Canada?

Answer: To hunt migratory game birds in Canada, you require a Federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permit with an affixed Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp. A single federal MGBH permit is required in Canada for hunting in different provinces and territories. It is not transferable and must only be used by the person who completed and signed it. The MGBH permit must be carried with you at all times when hunting or when in possession of migratory game birds in a place other than the holder's residence. The MGBH permit must be shown to game officers upon request.

Depending on the areas you wish to hunt, you may also require a provincial or territorial permit. Check with the wildlife Agency in the area where you plan to hunt for information on provincial or territorial requirements prior to hunting migratory game birds.

Question: Where can I purchase a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit?

Answer: The paper copy of the MGBH permit as well as the e-Permit are available for purchase by both resident and non-resident hunters. The online MGBH e-Permitting system allows hunters to receive a PDF of the permit(s) by email with a printed image of a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp, and is available on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website. The paper MGBH permit, with the affixed Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp, can be purchased from many Canada Post outlets and some independent vendors.

Question: When will the new permits for this year be available?

Answer: Permits are sold from August 1 to June 30. For example, 2017 permits will go on sale on August 1, 2017 and will continue being sold until June 30, 2018 when the special conservation season for overabundant species ends. Hunting seasons vary from one province/territory to another. Hunters should refer to the applicable provincial or territorial hunting summary for more information.

Question: How long is a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit valid?

Answer: A Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (or e-Permit) is valid until July 31st of the following year. It should be noted that open hunting seasons in Canada end no later than March 10th. However, hunters who would like to participate in the special conservation season, which is held for specified overabundant species in certain areas, are reminded to keep their federal hunting permit purchased from the regular hunting season. The dates of the spring special conservation season varies across several jurisdictions, with the first dates commencing in March and the last date being June 30th.

Question: What information do I need to have when purchasing a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit online?

Answer: When you are purchasing a Migratory Game Bird Hunting permit, either in person or online, you will be asked to provide your name, a valid email address, mailing address and/or billing address, your date of birth, information on whether you purchased a Migratory Game Bird Hunting permit previously, and if so, what types of birds you hunted. This information is important for the National Harvest Survey, which is used to assess the status of migratory game bird populations in Canada and amount of harvest they can sustain.

Question: How can I pay for my permit online and how much will it cost?

Answer: E-Permits can be purchased using Visa, MasterCard and American Express only. The cost of the e-Permit, with the printed image of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp, is $17.00 plus applicable taxes. This is the same price as the physical permits sold at Canada Post outlets and independent vendors.

An image of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp will appear on the MGBH e-Permit. Hunters who also wish to receive a physical copy of the stamp by mail can do so by checking a box when purchasing their e-Permit. There is no additional charge for shipping the stamp. The physical stamp is not required to validate the e-Permit.

Question: Will I receive a transaction confirmation of my online purchase?

Answer: Yes, an email confirmation, containing a PDF of the e-Permit(s), will be sent to the email address identified in the purchaser information. The e-Permit(s) must be printed and signed by the permit holder(s). The purchaser’s email address can be used to retrieve the previously purchased e-Permit(s) if the confirmation email is lost or deleted. It is recommended that you also keep your order number, which is displayed on the Confirmation of Purchase page at the time of purchase, for your records.

Question: When should I expect to receive my permit after I have placed my order online?

Answer: As soon as the transaction is completed, you should allow a few minutes to receive the email containing the transaction confirmation of your purchase and the e-Permit(s) to print and to sign. If you do not receive the email within an hour, it is recommended that you check your spam or junk folder. If the confirmation email has still not come through, follow the e-Permit retrieval process found online. The email address provided by the purchaser is required for the retrieval process. This will allow the purchaser to have any e-Permits they purchased resent to the email address provided at the time of purchase. If you do not receive the email, contact the permitting office by email (ec.permisscf-cwspermit.ec@canada.ca) or by phone (1-855-869-8670).

Question: Can I hunt as soon as I have purchased my permit online?

Answer: Yes, the e-Permit is valid and can be used immediately, as soon as it is printed and signed by the permit holder(s). While the e-Permit is valid once printed and signed, you should always refer to the Migratory Birds Regulations or the Hunting Regulations Summaries to check the open season dates for where you plan to hunt.

Question: What if I don’t have a computer or access to the internet?

Answer: A third-party may purchase an e-Permit for a hunter as long as the third-party (or purchaser) has all the required information to complete the permit application at the time of purchase for each hunter. The e-Permit must then be signed by the hunter who will hold and use the permit. Only the person whose information is indicated on the permit can use it for hunting.

Physical 2017 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits are also still available with some independent vendors and Canada Post Outlets, despite reductions at urban Canada Post Outlets. Hunters who do not have access to a computer can contact the permitting office by email (ec.permisscf-cwspermit.ec@canada.ca) or by phone (1-855-869-8670) for information on the nearest outlet or vendor that carries physical permits.

Question: Must I print out a paper copy of the e-Permit? Is a digital copy sufficient?

Answer: The e-Permit must be printed and signed by the permit holder. Digital copies and/or scanned signed copies do not meet the regulatory requirement and are therefore not valid.

Question: May I buy multiple Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits (or e-Permits) to increase my allowable take (daily bag and possession limits)?

Answer: No. A person cannot increase their allowable take by purchasing additional Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits (or e-Permits). The daily bag and possession limits apply to the person and not to the permit (or e-Permit).

Question: I have misplaced my Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (or e-Permit). Do I have to purchase a new permit (or e-Permit) before I go out hunting migratory game birds?

Answer: If you have misplaced your current Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permit that was purchased at a Canada Post outlet or an independent vendor, you must purchase a new permit at your own expense. The MGBH permit is not replaceable, transferrable or refundable.

If you have misplaced your current MGBH e-Permit, you can simply reprint and sign a copy of it from the confirmation email received at the time of purchase. If the confirmation email is no longer available, you can recover the e-Permit(s) using the email address used at the time of purchase from the Environment and Climate Change Canada website. If you are experiencing problems in recovering your e-Permit(s), contact the permitting office at 1-855-869-8670 or by email at ec.permisscf-cwspermit.ec@canada.ca for assistance. Do not purchase another e-Permit. The MGBH e-Permit is not transferrable or refundable.

Question: Is the goal to eventually only have e-Permits, and no physical printed permits?

Answer: Yes. In an effort to increase uptake of e-permitting, reduce administration costs, and improve accessibility, the federal government would like to eventually phase-out the sale of physical permits. Nonetheless, physical permits will continue to be available in certain remote areas with poor internet access. Physical Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation (CWHC) stamps will still be made available to hunters who request one.

Question: May I give my Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit to a hunting partner if, for some reason, I cannot go hunting?

Answer: No. Your Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (or e-Permit) is non-transferable. The permit (or e-Permit) can only be used by the person whose name and information is indicated on it.

Question: Can I use my permit anywhere in Canada?

Answer: Yes, the Migratory Game Bird Hunting permit is a federal permit and is valid anywhere in Canada. However, the local hunting seasons and bag limits as outlined in the Migratory Birds Regulations and in the Hunting Regulations Summaries must be respected. It is the hunter's responsibility to acquire any other necessary authorizations, such as a provincial or territorial hunting license.

Question: When is the local hunting season in my area?

Answer: The hunting summary provided with the purchase of the permit summarizes the Migratory Birds Regulations and contains most of the information required. It includes particulars on hunting seasons in the province/territory and the bag and possession limits. While the hunting summaries provide a useful overview of the Regulations, for complete information on the hunting provisions for migratory birds, please refer to the Migratory Birds Regulations. For any other questions please refer to Environment and Climate Change Canada's web site or contact Environment and Climate Change Canada at 1-800-668-6767 or ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca.

Question: What will the revenues from the sales of permits (and e-Permits) be used for?

Answer: The revenues from sales of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp, which is affixed to the MGBH Permit (or appears on the e-Permit), and is also available as philatelic stamp products (collector stamps), are used by Wildlife Habitat Canada, a national, charitable non-profit, conservation organization, to fund a variety of conservation initiatives, including habitat conservation projects. For more information regarding the programs and projects, please refer to the Wildlife Habitat Canada website. The revenues from the sale of the permit and e-Permit partially cover the costs of administering the permit (and e-Permit), as well as managing the harvest to ensure sustainable hunting into the future.

Hunting Provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations

Question: Where can I find information on hunting Migratory Game Birds in Canada?

Answer: There are specific seasons for hunting ducks, geese, woodcock, and other hunted species in Canada. The dates for hunting migratory game birds often vary across the country and within a province. As such, it is very important to check the dates of the open seasons in the area(s) in which you will be hunting. Similary, there are specific regulations regarding the number of birds that may be harvested (bag and possession limits). For more information on the dates of open seasons and bag and possession limits in each of the provinces and territories, please refer to Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations, or to the migratory game birds hunting regulation summaries. There is a regulation summary for each province and territory, and they are posted annually in early July on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website, and are provided to hunters when they purchase a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit.

Refer to the province or territory where you plan to hunt for additional provincial or territorial regulations that may be applicable.

Question: What are the legal hours for hunting waterfowl in Canada?

Answer: Legal hunting hours for migratory game birds in Canada are as follows:

In the north, even one hour after sunset or one hour before sunrise provides the hunter with enough light to hunt safely.

Some provinces and territories may have further restrictions. Contact your provincial or territorial Fish and Wildlife Agency as to the possible restrictions in your hunting area.

Question: What are the consequences of violating the laws set out in the Migratory Birds Regulations?

Answer: There are various enforcement actions that can be taken against an individual who does not comply with the law. Depending on the offence, enforcement actions may include but are not limited to: fines, suspension of Migratory Game Bird hunting privileges, forfeiture of equipment and imprisonment.

Possession of Migratory Birds

Question: What is the difference between the daily bag limit and the possession limit?

Answer: The daily bag limit is the maximum number of birds which a hunter may harvest during any single day of hunting. The possession limit is the maximum number of birds which a person may have in their possession; for a hunter, this means the maximum they may possess after having hunted for more than a single day and includes birds they have at their residence as well as in the field. The possession limit applies to all persons (including non-hunters who may receive birds as a gift), and for all birds.

Question: Do harvested birds from the previous year count towards this year's possession limit?

Answer: Yes. For example, if at the end of a hunting season a hunter has 3 mallards in his freezer, those birds will count in his possession limit the following year if the birds are still in his possession.

Question: If a hunter gives (as a gift) migratory game birds he has harvested to others, would I, a non-hunter, require a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit prior to accepting them?

Answer: No. The Migratory Birds Regulations allow legally harvested migratory game birds to be gifted to others and the recipient does not require a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit in order to possess such birds legally harvested. There are several requirements for possessing or transporting such gifted birds, however. Birds taken by a hunter that are subsequently possessed by another person must be individually tagged, and have a fully feathered wing attached. For tagging, the hunter must attach a tag to each migratory game bird he gives you, and each tag must contain:

  1. the name and address of the hunter and his signature;
  2. the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit Number under which the birds were taken; and
  3. the date the birds were taken.

Also, ensure that you do not exceed the possession limit for that species of migratory game birds which are gifted to you.

Question: If a hunter harvests waterfowl and then gives some or all of the harvested birds away to someone who will use/consume them, do those birds that have been gifted still count as part of the hunter's possession limit?

Answer: No, such birds are no longer counted as part of the hunter's possession limit if they have been gifted to another person and are currently in the possession of that person. However, the hunter must still abide by daily bag limits on each day they hunt.

Question: I enjoy waterfowl hunting but I am not fond of the taste of some ducks. May I trade some of my legally harvested ducks for goods such as shot gun shells or sell them to a butcher?

Answer: No, it is illegal at any time to sell, trade, barter, or buy migratory birds, or the carcasses of migratory birds unless authorized to do so by a special permit. You may want to concentrate on hunting the ducks you do enjoy eating rather than the ones you do not. Being able to identify different species of waterfowl in flight not only ensures that you stay within species limits but also allows you to harvest birds you find desirable to eat.

Question: Why must all hunters leave one fully feathered wing attached to each migratory game bird? When can this feathered wing be removed?

Answer: In many areas of Canada, daily bag limits and possession limits vary by species. For example, in one province the daily bag limit may be only two (2) Canvasback ducks, while the total daily bag limit for all ducks in that area may be six (6) ducks. If the fully feathered wing, which readily identifies the species of waterfowl, were not left on the bird, it would be difficult for game officers to accurately inspect and identify the hunter's daily bag or possession limits. The wing may be removed once the bird is prepared for immediate cooking or after the bird is taken to the owner's residence for preservation.

Question: Why are the limits (daily and possession) more liberal in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut?

Answer: Due to the geographical size, few human inhabitants and limited time in which birds remain within the area, waterfowl receive minimal hunting pressure in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The results are that some regulations remain less restrictive, for example, the bag and possession limits.

Question: Is it legal to process harvested game bird meat into food products such as sausages and jerky? May these products be exported?

Answer: The requirement to retain a fully feathered wing on the carcass of a harvested migratory game bird applies until the bird is prepared for immediate cooking or until the bird is taken to the owner's residence for preservation. Migratory game birds may be processed into jerky or sausage. Because processing migratory game birds into sausage and jerky involves cooking procedures, it is considered lawful to remove the fully feather wing from the carcass of a migratory game bird when it is being processed into sausage or jerky.

Sausage and jerky containing migratory birds may not be exported to the United States because U.S. law prohibits a person from returning to the U.S. with waterfowl that does not have a completely feathered wing attached to the carcass.

Transporting Carcasses and Shipment

Question: What are the requirements to transport harvested migratory game birds?

Answer: Birds may be transported as long as they were legally harvested under a migratory game bird permit. A wing must remain attached until the bird is prepared for immediate cooking or arrives at the owner's residence for preservation. If the birds are not accompanied by the migratory game bird permit holder, a tag must be attached to each carcass with the following information on it:

If the birds are to be transported or shipped in a container, unaccompanied by the owner, you must ensure that the container is clearly marked with the name and address of the shipper, the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit number and an accurate statement of the contents of the container. If the birds are cleaned prior to transport, you must ensure that one fully feathered wing is left attached to each bird.

Question: After I have completed a three day hunt, may I transport both my hunting partner's possession limit as well as my own limit back to our homes or to a processing facility, even if my hunting partner is not present with me in the vehicle?

Answer: Yes, you may transport your hunting partner's birds as long as he has obtained the birds legally. A tag with your partner's name, address, signature, Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit number, and the date the birds were taken must be attached to each carcass.
Non-resident hunters should note that in order to import birds into the United States, the birds must be in the possession of the license holder.

Question: Would the transport requirements above apply equally to a situation where a guide was transporting his client's harvested birds to a processor or to be stored, while the client went back to a motel?

Answer: Yes, these requirements apply equally to a guide who is transporting game birds taken by clients in that situation.

Question: May I ship migratory birds?

Answer: Yes, it is legal to ship, transport or offer for shipment or transport a package or container of any kind containing a migratory bird. The exterior of the package or container must be clearly marked with:

Hunting Methods and Equipment

Question: What kind of weapons are allowed for hunting waterfowl?

Answer: Permitted hunting weapons are the long bow and arrow and shotguns not larger than .10 gauge. Provinces and territories may have separate restrictions regarding permitted weapons, therefore, you should also refer to the requirements of the area where you will be hunting.

Question: When hunting migratory game birds, what is the largest gauge of shotgun that can be used and what is the maximum number of shells that can be loaded into my firearm?

Answer: A permitted shotgun cannot be larger than a .10 gauge and the capacity of the firearm must be modified so that the maximum number of shells it is capable of holding does not exceed three (3) in the magazine and chamber combined.

Question: I like to hunt ducks with a .12 gauge shotgun and geese with a .10 gauge shotgun. Is it okay to have both shotguns in a hunting blind while hunting ducks and geese?

Answer: Yes. However, you can only hunt with one shotgun at a time; the extra shotgun you have with you must be unloaded and disassembled or unloaded and in a case.

Question: Is it legal to use a .22 calibre rifle, a shotgun loaded with slugs, or a crossbow to hunt migratory game birds?

Answer: In most areas of Canada, it is illegal to hunt migratory game birds with the use of a rifle, a shotgun loaded with cartridges containing a single bullet, or with a crossbow. However, exceptions to this regulation do exist. For example, a resident of the Northwest Territories who is not required to hold a migratory game bird permit may, within the Northwest Territories hunt a migratory bird by the use of a shotgun or a rifle with a calibre of not more than 0.22 inches. For more information contact the provincial or territorial Fish and Wildlife Agency in your area because provinces and territories may have additional restrictions.

Question: Is it legal to use a compound bow for hunting waterfowl?

Answer: Yes, in Canada, a compound or recurve bow may be used to hunt migratory game birds.

Question: While hunting from a boat, may I start shooting at waterfowl while the motor is still running?

Answer: No. Hunting may only commence once the motor has been turned off and the boat (any boat, canoe or yacht equipped with a motor) has stopped its forward progress as a product of the engine’s propulsion.

Question: What are the regulations around retrieving migratory game birds and subsequent use of harvested birds?

Answer: The regulations require hunters to have an adequate means of retrieving birds and immediately make every reasonable effort to retrieve a migratory game bird that has been killed or injured, and if it is still alive that they kill it immediately. A power boat may be used to retrieve a crippled, injured or dead migratory game bird. However, you may not shoot at a migratory bird while the boat is in motion. Migratory game birds taken must be then counted toward daily bag and possession limits. Also to be taken into account is that some provinces and territories have laws which require that edible meat of harvested game not be wasted, destroyed, spoiled or abandoned.

Question: Is it true that I must use non-toxic shot when hunting migratory game birds?

Answer: Yes. Since September 1, 1999, the possession or use of lead shot while hunting most migratory game birds has been banned in all areas in Canada. However, there are a few specific instances where lead shot can still be used, including: hunting murres in Newfoundland and Labrador; hunting Woodcock and Band-tailed Pigeons; and hunting Mourning Doves, except for Ontario where non-toxic shot must be used. It should also be noted that in National Wildlife Areas that allow hunting, the possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting, including the hunting of migratory birds and upland birds. It is important to note that non-toxic shot regulations apply to everyone, including international visitors. For more information, hunters should consult provincial or territorial regulations for additional restrictions.

Question: Is it permissible to use recorded bird calls to attract birds?

Answer: It is illegal to hunt a migratory game bird with the aid of a recorded bird call. However, recorded bird calls are permitted for use in special conservation measures for species which have been legally designated as overabundant (i.e. Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese). Check the regulations for your area to determine whether this applies in your hunting area.


Question: I have recently become interested in taxidermy. May I mount birds for my own use and at what point do I require a taxidermist permit?

Answer: You may mount any legally obtained migratory game birds (such as waterfowl) for your own use without a taxidermist permit. A taxidermist permit is required once you plan on mounting migratory birds for business purposes. Anyone interested in migratory bird taxidermy as a business should contact the nearest Canadian Wildlife Service office for more information.

Baiting Restrictions

Question: What is bait?

Answer: Bait means: corn, wheat, oats or other grains, pulse or any other feed, and includes any imitation thereof that may attract migratory game birds.

Question: Is it legal to hunt in areas where bait, such as grain or corn, has been deposited in order to attract waterfowl?

Answer: It is illegal to hunt migratory birds within 400 metres (437 yards) of a place where bait has been deposited, unless that place has been free of bait for at least seven (7) days. Also, the depositing of bait must cease 14 days before the first day of any open seasons for that place.

Question: While hunting waterfowl, I have noticed certain areas which are posted with "Lure Crop" or "Waterfowl Feeding Stations" (Bait Station) signs. As a hunter, what restrictions do I have when hunting near areas posted with these signs?

Answer: Lure crops and waterfowl feeding stations are lands managed by the federal and provincial governments for the purpose of luring waterfowl away from farmer's unharvested crops. You are not permitted to hunt or enter a lure crop or waterfowl feeding station without prior written authorization from a game officer.

Waterfowler Heritage Days

Question: What are Waterfowler Heritage Days?

Answer: Waterfowler Heritage Days provide young hunters who are minors (individuals under 18 years of age) with the opportunity to practice hunting skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured, supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors have the opportunity to pass on their skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to younger hunters. The following rules apply:

Question: What age must a young hunter be to participate in Waterfowler Heritage Days?

Answer: In the Migratory Bird Regulations young hunters eligible to participate in Waterfowler Heritage Days are defined as minors, which is an individual who has not yet attained the age of 18. Waterfowler Heritage Days Occur in all 10 provinces, however each has their own provincial requirements for the minimum age to participate. The province specific age ranges are as follows:

Province specific age ranges
ProvinceAge range
Alberta12 to 17
British Columbia10 to 17
Manitoba12 to 17
New Brunswick12 to 17
Newfoundland and Labrador12 to 17
Nova Scotia12 to 17
Ontario12 to 17
Prince Edward Island12 to 17
Quebec12 to 17
Saskatchewan12 to 17

Please be aware that provincial age requirements are subject to change. In order to confirm the eligibility of young hunters please refer to provincial regulations.

Mobility-impaired Hunters

Question: Are there special rules to accommodate mobility-impaired hunters?

Answer: Yes. Since 2009, mobility-impaired hunters can hunt migratory game birds from a motorized vehicle that is stationary as long as the province or territory where they plan to hunt also permits the use of motorized vehicles for hunting. Furthermore, in provinces or territories where this activity is authorized, hunters must get an authorization or permit from the province recognizing the disability or obtain a medical certificate confirming the disability.

Reporting Leg Bands

Question: May I keep leg bands found on my ducks?

Answer: You may keep the bird band, however we ask that you report the band number.

There are three ways to report bands to the Canadian Bird Banding Office:

  1. Online
  2. By calling toll free at 1-800-327-2263 (1-800-327-BAND); or
  3. By email at ec.bbo.ec@canada.ca; or
  4. By writing to:
    Bird Banding Office
    National Wildlife Research Centre
    Canadian Wildlife Service
    Environment and Climate Change Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada K1A 0H3

Band information collected from hunters assists waterfowl biologists in monitoring bird populations and establishing hunting regulations from year to year. The Canadian Wildlife Service sets hunting seasons and bag limits for migratory game birds based on the latest scientific information on the numbers and status of each species.

United States Residents

Question: I am a resident of the United States of America and have hunted waterfowl in Canada during the open hunting season. May I return home with my possession limit of ducks even if the bird hunting season is closed?

Answer: All birds taken under the authority of a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit must be transported during the open season or within five days after it ends. There may be additional provincial or territorial requirements depending on the area where you hunt, please contact the appropriate provincial or territorial agency for more information.

For information specific to residents of the U.S.A. hunting in Canada please visit the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service - Office of Law Enforcement website.


Question: When does a hunter require a guide to hunt migratory game birds?

Answer: The federal regulations for hunting migratory game birds in Canada do not require a hunter to be accompanied by a guide. However, check the provincial or territorial regulations for the area where you plan to hunt to see if you need a hunting guide.

Question: Where can I find information about good places to hunt?

Answer: Environment and Climate Change Canada does not collect information on hunting areas. There are a number of resources available to you on the internet, such as provincial wildlife agencies' websites or those of outfitter associations in the area where you plan on hunting.

More Information

If you have more questions about hunting migratory game birds please write to enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca, or contact Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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