Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2013–2014: Ontario

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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
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 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 Ontario

Introduction of a Mourning Dove hunting season in the Central and Southern Hunting Districts. Note: Non-toxic shot is required to hunt doves in Ontario.

American Black Duck – The length of the hunting season is extended to 107 days in all Hunting Districts with increased bag and possession limits.

Removal of possession limit for Canada, Cackling and Snow geese.

Recorded Snow Goose calls may be used while hunting Snow Geese. Any species for which there is an open season may be taken while hunting Snow Geese using these recorded calls.

Any combination of decoys can be used to hunt any migratory game bird for which there is an open season.

Species name change – The species name “Moorhen” has changed to “Gallinule.”

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.


In Ontario, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt migratory game birds, except for woodcock. Non-toxic shot must be used to hunt Mourning Doves in Ontario. 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.

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

In 2012 Waterfowler Heritage Days were introduced across the province of Ontario. Waterfowler Heritage Days provide 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 one young hunter.

Hunting Districts

Map: Ontario Hunting District (4 Zones).

  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 60A and 61 to 95


This table provides information on the open seasons in Ontario (No open season for Harlequin Ducks).

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 DistrictSept. 7, 2013Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2013Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2013Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, 2013No open season
2. Northern DistrictSept. 7, 2013Sept. 10 to Dec. 24, 2013Sept. 1 to Dec. 16, 2013Sept. 15 to Dec. 15, 2013No open season
3. Central DistrictSept. 14, 2013Sept. 21, 2013, to Jan. 4, 2014Sept. 3 to Dec. 18, 2013Sept. 20 to Dec. 20, 2013Sept. 3 to Nov. 11, 2013(a)
4. Southern DistrictSept. 21, 2013Sept. 28, 2013, to Jan. 11, 2014(b)Sept. 5 to Sept. 15, 2013(c)
Sept. 5 to Sept. 14, 2013 (except for any Sunday within this period) (d)

Sept. 28 to Dec. 31, 2013(c)Sept. 28, 2013, to Jan. 10, 2014 (except for any Sunday within this period) (d)
Feb. 22 to Mar. 1, 2014 (except for any Sunday within this period) (d)(e)
Sept. 25 to Dec. 20, 2013Sept. 5 to
Nov. 13, 2013(a)

(a) Non-toxic shot required.
(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.
(c) In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is permitted by provincial regulations.
(d) In municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted by provincial regulations.
(e) Except in Wildlife Management Unit 94.

This table provides information on the daily Bag and possession limits in Ontario.

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 bag6(a)5(c)(d)(e)(f)(g)520104815
Possession18(b)No limit15No limit30122445

(a) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In the Southern District, not more than 2 may be American Black Ducks, and in the Hudson–James Bay District, Northern District and Central District, not more than 4 may be American Black Ducks.
(b) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In the Southern District, not more than 6 may be American Black Ducks, and in the Hudson–James Bay District, Northern District and Central District, not more than 12 may be American Black Ducks.
(c) A total of not more than 3 Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily in that portion of Wildlife Management Unit 1D in Hudson–James Bay District, and in Wildlife Management Units 23 to 31 and 37 to 41 from September 10 to December 16, 2013.
(d) 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 28, 2013, to January 10, 2014.
(e) 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 28 to October 31, 2013.
(f) 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, 2013;
  (ii) Wildlife Management Units 42 to 44 and 46 to 59 from September 3 to September 20, 2013;
  (iii) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, 86 to 92, and 95 from September 5 to September 15, 2013, and
  (iv) Wildlife Management Units 60 to 81, 83, and 86 to 92 from February 22 to March 1, 2014, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.
(g) 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 5 to September 15, 2013, and
  (ii) Wildlife Management Units 82, 84, 85 and 93, from February 22 to March 1, 2014, in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted.

This table provides information on measures in Ontario concerning overabundant species.

Measures in Ontario Concerning Overabundant Species
AreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
Wildlife Management Unit 65Mar. 1 to May 31, 2014(a)Recorded bird calls(b)

(a) Hunting and hunting equipment are allowed only on farmland.
(b) “Recorded bird calls” refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2.

Note
Hunters interested in participating in the spring conservation harvest of Snow Geese should keep their 2013–2014 federal permits.

Report Your Migratory Bird Bands

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