Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2014–2015: Ontario

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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 Canada website (www.ec.gc.ca), or you may contact:

Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario  M3H 5T4
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.

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 (www.ec.gc.ca).

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Important Updates to the Hunting Regulations for Ontario

American Black Duck: Length of the hunting season is 107 days in the Hudson–James Bay, Northern and Central Districts, with a closing date of December 20, 2014, in the Southern District; daily bag limits are decreased in each district.

Canada Goose: Daily bag limit has increased from 3 to 5 Canada Geese per day in the Hudson–James Bay (Wildlife Management Unit 1D) and Northern (Wildlife Management Units 23 to 31 and 37 to 41) hunting districts from September 10 to December 16, 2014.

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 2014–2015 hunting season, please refer to the Open Season and Bag and Possession Limit tables below.


In Ontario, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt all 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.

Waterfowler Heritage Days were introduced to provide young hunters under the age of majority 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.

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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 inclusive

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Open Seasons in Ontario (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)
AreaDucks (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 Cackling GeeseWoodcockMourning Doves
1. Hudson–James Bay DistrictSeptember 6, 2014September 1 to December 16, 2014September 1 to December 16, 2014September 1 to December 15, 2014No open season
2. Northern DistrictSeptember 6, 2014September 10 to December 24, 2014September 1 to December 16, 2014September 15 to December 15, 2014No open season
3. Central DistrictSeptember 13, 2014September 20, 2014, to January 3, 2014September 2 to December 17, 2014September 20 to December 20, 2014September 2 to November 10, 2014Footnote(a)
4. Southern DistrictSeptember 20, 2014September 27, 2014, to January 10, 2015Footnote(b)Footnote(f)September 4 to September 14, 2014Footnote(c)
September 4 to September 13, 2014 (except for any Sunday within this period) Footnote(d)
September 27 to December 30, 2014Footnote(c)
September 27, 2014, to January 9, 2015 (except for any Sunday within this period) Footnote(d)
February 28 to March 7, 2015 (except for any Sunday within this period) Footnote(d)Footnote(e)
September 25 to December 20, 2014September 4 to
November 12, 2014Footnote(a)

Footnotes

Footnote a

Non-toxic shot required.

Return to footnote (a)

Footnote b

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.

Return to footnote(b)

Footnote c

In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted by provincial regulations.

Return to footnote (c)

Footnote d

In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted by provincial regulations.

Return to footnote (d)

Footnote e

Except in Wildlife Management Unit 94.

Return to footnote (e)

Footnote f

Except for American Black Ducks, for which the open season begins on September 27 and ends on December 20, 2014.

Return to footnote (f)

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Bag and Possession Limits in Ontario
LimitsDucks
(other than Harlequin Ducks)
Canada Geese and Cackling GeeseWhite-fronted Geese and BrantSnow GeeseRails (other than Yellow Rails and King Rails) and snipeGallinulesWoodcock and cootsMourning Doves
Daily bag6Footnote(a)5Footnote(c)Footnote(d)Footnote(e)Footnote(f)520104815
Possession18Footnote(b)No limit15No limit30122445

Footnotes

Footnote a

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.

Return to footnote (a)

Footnote b

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.

Return to footnote(b)

Footnote c

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 27, 2014, to January 9, 2015.

Return to footnote (c)

Footnote d

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 27 to October 31, 2014.

Return to footnote (d)

Footnote e

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, 2014; (ii) Wildlife Management Units 42 to 44 and 46 to 59 from September 2 to September 19, 2014; (iii) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, 86 to 92, and 95 from September 4 to September 14, 2014, and (iv) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, and 86 to 92 from February 28 to March 7, 2015, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.

Return to footnote (e)

Footnote f

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 4 to September 14, 2014, and (ii) Wildlife Management Units 82, 84, 85 and 93, from February 28 to March 7, 2015, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.

Return to footnote (f)

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Measures in Ontario Concerning Overabundant Species
AreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
Wildlife Management Unit 65March 1 to May 31, 2015Footnote(a)Recorded bird callsFootnote(b)

Footnotes

Footnote a

Hunting and hunting equipment are allowed only on farmland.

Return to footnote (a)

Footnote b

“Recorded bird calls” refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Return to footnote(b)

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Note
Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese should keep their 2014–2015 federal permits.

Report Your Migratory Bird Bands

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