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Hunting Migratory Game Birds

For many of Canada's hunters, migratory bird hunting is a valued tradition. Federal laws protect migratory birds in Canada and to ensure that healthy waterfowl populations are conserved, the Canadian Wildlife Service sets hunting season dates and harvest limits each year for all provinces and territories.

Man hunting

Permits for Hunters

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits are available for purchase by 1 August of each year at Canada Post sales counters and retail outlets. The current price is $8.50 for the Hunting Permit plus $8.50 for the Habitat Stamp. The Habitat Stamp must be affixed to the Hunting Permit in order to make the Permit valid.

Hunters are advised that information about details on season dates, bag and possession limits, as well as other notes of importance on migratory bird hunting can be obtained by consulting the Annual Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries published by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Additional restrictions may be applicable in the area where you hunt, for more information please contact the Environment Canada Enforcement office listed in the summaries or refer to your provincial or territorial ministry.

Baiting (Depositing Bait)

In Canada, 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.

Opening dates for migratory game bird hunting vary across the country and these dates affect baiting activities. Depositing of bait must cease 14 days before the first day of the open season for that place.

For example, if the open season for duck hunting in your area commences on September 1, bait cannot be not deposited in your area August 17, which is 14 days before September 1. Similarly, in areas of Canada where goose hunting commences earlier than the dates for ducks and woodcock, depositing bait must cease 14 days before the opening date of the goose hunting season.

Hunting from a Boat

Hunters are permitted to hunt from a power boat as long as the motor is turned off (not in operation) and the boat has stopped its forward progress before firing commences.

Non-Toxic Shot

Effective September 1, 1999, the use of lead shot was banned in Canada for migratory game bird hunting except when hunting Woodcock.

Provincial and Territorial Information