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Wildlife Questions




Question Re: Water Access and Private Property
Regarding property and ownership, if I am in a boat does a landowner have the right to refuse access to waters around their property? At what point does the landowner's property begin?


There is no one simple answer to this question. In some cases, yes the landowner does indeed have the right to refuse access to waters around his/her property. For instance, you may not access public waterways via private property. In many of the rivers and streams which are not normally used for navigation purposes, the owners of the property surrounding the stream can prohibit access. In a lake, there are cases where the property owner does have legal rights (for a specified distance which varies from one lake to the next) extending out from his/her shoreline. In other lakes, the landowners property extends to the shoreline and no further. My advice is that when you are fishing around someone's dock for instance from a boat, and you see the owner along shore, you kindly ask permission to fish around the dock. Most cottage owners will respect your courtesy and allow you to fish there.



Question Re: Property Rights on Crown Land
Do the hunt clubs have an exclusive right to post and prevent others from hunting on crown land? If they do have the exclusive right, how does one register a hunt territory with MNR or which ever department?


Hunt clubs DO NOT have the right to post and prevent others from hunting on Crown Land. Anyone giving false notice without authority is in contravention of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and liable to a penalty of up to $25,000.00.




Question Re: Sunday Hunting
Can I bow hunt for deer on Sundays in WMU 75?


There are two parts to this answer. The first part is, “generally, can I hunt with a bow on Sundays?” and the answer to that is, yes, because the section that regulates Sunday hunting [Section 66 of the FWCA Hunt Regs] specifically says "A person shall not carry or discharge a firearm, other than a long-bow or a cross-bow, for the purpose of hunting on a Sunday, in,.”


The second part is, “does the deer season for WMU 75 include any Sundays?” and the answer to this is yes, as well.


By the way, many folks have asked, and the answer is yes, you can use your bow during the open season for firearms as well as the archery only seasons.



Question Re: Bow hunting within city limits
Is it legal to hunt with a bow within city limits since it is ok to bowfish in the same area?


If the bow season is open for the species you are seeking, then from MNR's perspective, you may hunt anywhere in that management unit. HOWEVER, you must check with the city to determine what restriction they may have regarding discharge of firearms and what definition they may have for firearms. Some municipalities restrict or prohibit the discharge of shotguns and rifles only; others may include longbows, crossbows and others in their definition of firearm. Of course, there are some municipalities which do not have discharge of firearms bylaws.




Question Re: Officers Role in Checking Registration
Do Conservation Officers have the right to obtain information about my firearm? i.e. serial number, registration?


Yes, Conservation Officers are Peace Officers under the Criminal Code. This means that authority is given to them under the Code to deal with criminal offences. That is why we may arrest, for example, an impaired driver whom we may contact in the course of checking hunters or anglers. At the same time, Criminal Code enforcement is not our mandate. So we do not do Code enforcement except as it comes to our attention coincidental to our mandated tasks of resource enforcement.


All of this comes under federal jurisdiction, not provincial. Right now, our C.O's do not routinely ask for this type of information. However, CO's could (in a co-operative effort with police) check and record serial numbers, or check to see whether a firearm has been registered or not, if the situation warrants. MNR has cooperated with other enforcement agencies to assist with firearm identification to verify stolen firearms.



Question Re: Non-resident Bringing Firearm to Canada
I am a US citizen planning a trip to Ontario, Canada soon. I would like to know what is required of me to bring a shotgun across the border for the purpose of hunting ducks. Please advise.


You may want to visit the Federal Firearms website that explains this legislation. Gun control legislation is Federal Criminal Legislation. While Conservation Officers in Ontario are peace officers and are capable of enforcing Federal Legislation, it is not the mandate of MNR.



Question Re: Carrying Firearms
Often when I am hunting big game I bring along my 410 for partridge slung across my back. When I'm in the mood I'll sling my rifle across my back and the shotgun goes into my hands. My son just passed the hunter ed course and is now in the hunter apprenticeship program. My question is - instead of me carrying both firearms, can he carry the 410? We'll be side by side and following the rules, just I can finally not have to carry 2 firearms.


Sorry under the apprenticeship program, you and your son are permitted one firearm between the two of you. Your son shares your limit and your gun until he purchases his own Outdoors Card and hunting licence, which he would be eligible to do when he turns 15 years of age.



Question Re: Gun Registration and Hunter Education Training
I have never had a gun before in my life and I would like to know all the steps required to buy, own, register, and to be able to go hunting. Please inform me of how to acquire training certificates and licences needed. Could you also inform me of where these courses are available and how much each one cost? Thank you very much for taking the time to answer what might seem silly questions from a person my age.


There are no such things as silly questions - only people too silly to ask questions! As far as purchasing, owning, registering, etc. of firearms is concerned, that is federal legislation. The Canadian Firearms Centre, CFC also has a lot of excellent information on their website at: www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/safety-surete/default_e.asp.


As far as the hunting end of things are concerned, you should be able to get a "one stop shopping" course in your area, which will get you trained and examined for both your hunting licence certificate as well as your Firearms Act requirements.


Your local ServiceOntario or MNR area office or your local OPP detachment should be able to direct you to an instructor/examiner who teaches both Hunter Safety and Firearms Safety. The course is a minimum of 19 hours and there are both written (short answer/multiple choice) and practical firearms handling portions to the examinations.



Question Re: In-line Muzzle-loader
Are in-line muzzle-loaders legal for use in muzzle-loader only deer and moose seasons in Ontario?


An “in-line” muzzle-loader is simply a more technologically advanced muzzle – loader that has the percussion cap situated in the centre of the breech (in line with the barrel – hence the name) as opposed to the traditional exterior location of percussion caps and flintlocks. Short answer...."YES", in-line muzzle-loaders are legal for use in muzzle-loader seasons in Ontario.



Question Re: Testing for Lead
How powerful are those lead testers? As I reload I am wondering if the testers will pick up the traces of lead from once fired AA hulls.


Absolutely not possible! And, if for some reason, there was a positive reading the field tests would be backed up with a controlled lab test. You will not be charged for shooting lead unless you are shooting lead.



Question Re: Air Rifle
We are having a discussion on rabbit hunting and I was told that an air rifle is allowed for rabbit hunting. I say no way but the other guys say not a problem. Please help.


Pay up! Your friends are right. While it may not be a recommended load, it is not illegal.



Question Re: Number of Shells in Shotgun
Do I need to plug my 12 gauge shotgun, so it can only hold 2 shells in the magazine, when I'm hunting deer or grouse?


Yes, the regulation which restricts the number of shells in a shotgun to three (one in chamber, two in the magazine) apply to all hunting, regardless of species.




Question Re: Controlled Deer Hunt
Why is one not allowed to apply for the controlled hunt in more than one unit? Obviously, you should not be allowed to get a permit for more than one unit, but both the moose tag and doe tag lottery systems allow for 2 choices of units.


I think you are confusing the two types of Controlled Hunts that we have. Yes, there is a controlled hunt with just one choice. This however is for “FARMER-LANDOWNERS”, who presumably have one piece of property in which they wish to hunt on. They fill out an application, and assuming they fit the criteria, they are automatically eligible to hunt with shotgun on their own property and within the WMU that their property is located. IF they are a farmer, then they can obtain a FARMERS DEER LICENCE, instead of the regular deer licence.


The 2nd controlled hunt applies to many more people. This is made up of a special form which is available at MNR offices and must be submitted by August 31 every year. A maximum of four hunters can apply on one form. With the regular controlled hunt YOU DO HAVE A 1st and 2nd CHOICE. You can pick 78A for instance as your first choice and 78B as your 2nd. You can even choose an early (1st week in Nov) hunt for your 1st choice and the late hunt (1st week in Dec.) in the same WMU division (or a different one) as your 2nd choice.


In regular controlled hunts, we 'control' the number of hunters who can hunt in that section of the WMU (e.g. 78A 77C) during both early and late hunts. Successful applicants are picked at random by computer, and notified in the mail if they were successful. If one person on an application of four is successful, the other three are as well. Likewise, if one person isn't ... the rest aren't either.



Question 2 Re: Controlled Deer Hunt
The reply to the previous question on this topic states that up to 4 hunters can apply on one form, and that if one of the 4 is successful, so are the other 3, and if one of the 4 is unsuccessful, so are the other 3. This seems to be a contradiction. Isn't each individual successful or not? How can you be both?


Let's try this again. The original question referred to a Controlled Deer Hunt which takes place each fall in southern Ontario. Each Controlled Deer Hunt has an application number on the top right hand corner. You may include up to four names on the application. The entire application goes into the Controlled Deer Hunt Draw. If that application form is drawn in the computer draw ... then all four applicants are successful. If it is not picked by the computer, then all four hunters are unsuccessful and cannot hunt in the controlled hunt.



Question Re: Non-hunter Vs Hunter and Licence Requirements
I am 20 years old and from a family of non-hunters, but I enjoy hunting of all kinds. I don't have many other people to go out deer hunting with, and since it is dangerous to go alone my dad often comes with me for company. He doesn't have a hunting licence, but he enjoys being with me, and dresses in orange just to be safe. We were told that is illegal for him to do this and he can be charged with illegal hunting even if he isn't carrying a gun? How can this be? Aren't crown lands open for everyone to use, not just hunters during hunting season? How can he be charged for simply walking around in the bush with me?


This practice is absolutely legal if the non-hunter does not actively participate in the hunt. Let me give you a couple of scenarios to explain this:

  • in our hunt camp we have a member who is a non-hunter. On occasion, he goes out with one of the 'doggers', walking alongside him and taking photographs. This is perfectly legal as he is not an integral part of the chase. Equally legitimate, he sometimes sits on a watch with another hunter (only one gun) and takes photos, visits, etc.
  • in the same scenario, if the non-hunter decided that he wanted to walk by himself in the same general area and thus function as an additional 'dogger', then that would mean he is now meeting the definition of "hunt" and would need a licence.


Clearly, anyone can simply walk around on crown (or private, with permission) land but once there is any indication that they are actively involved in 'chasing, pursuing, in search of,.' then they are liable to the requirement for a hunting licence and may be charged if they do not have one - whether or not they have a firearm!




Question Re: Moose Tag
Last year our group harvested a bull moose but the hunter holding the tag had to leave the bush the following day. We hung the meat and the remainder of us stuck around for a few days to hunt calves and birds. We were not stopped by the MNR while transporting the meat on the way out but were curious as to how we would prove to them that the tag holder was actually among us when we took the bull. The game was tagged and all we had was the tag holders licence number.


That is correct. You may transport game killed by another individual, but should be prepared to answer questions that an officer may have as well as the details (i.e. the name. phone, licence number, etc. of the shooter) Of course, the officer may want to investigate and follow up to ensure that the tag holder was, in fact, there and that is probably what will happen.


Next time, you may want to consider having the guy with the tag who shot the bull make an appearance at the closest MNR office or at an OPP station. He should inform them of the situation, and supply everyone's (in the group) tag #'s and Outdoor Card #'s, their names, addresses, phone #'s, to the OPP or MNR office.



Question Re: Group Hunting and Moose Tag
If 3 members of a hunting party apply for and receive a bull moose tag, can a 4th person join the party and still be eligible to hunt under the parties bull moose tag?


Absolutely, once the tag has been allocated the group may expand, contract, dissolve, or remain exactly the same.



Question Re: Doe Tag and Party Hunting
I am having an argument (friendly of course) with fellow hunters regarding the use of a doe tag while party hunting. Certain individuals seem to think that since they have an antlerless tag, they can leave it at the “camp” after they leave and that it can be used by anyone in the “camp”.


I have told them that I am 99.9999% certain that this is not the intention of a tag for use in party hunting. They state that it does not say this specifically in the regulations, but I in turn argue that it does under “getting together at the kill site and affixing tags, etc.”


Does the person actually issued the tag have to be actively hunting for the tag to be used? Does this mean he must be “afield” or what is the clarification there?


Your answer will finally put an end to this “debate”.


The short answer is you are right and I hope you bet your pals lots of money. Let me tell you why you are right. First, lets have a look at the relevant portion of the definition of party hunting...


[FWCA Hunting Reg. Sec 22] “..a person may hunt in a party for as many moose, deer or bear as there are seals held by the members of the party and not yet attached to any of the wildlife if the following conditions are met by the person and the other members of the party:

  1. The total number of moose, deer or bear of a specified sex, age or type killed by the party does not exceed the total number of seals for that sex, age or type held by the members of the party.
  2. All members of the party, including the person who holds the seal that is valid for the wildlife that the party is hunting, actively participate in the hunt and hunt co-operatively...”

From this we can see that the individual who has left the camp, is obviously no longer participating in the hunt and therefore must take his tag with him. So, in answer to your question, yes, the individual must be out hunting with the group when the animal is killed for his tag to be used.


The second part of this answer is that the regulations also cover off and make it an offence to conveniently 'forget' your tag at the camp. Specifically it is an offence to “do anything to enable someone else to use a licence, or any component of a licence, that was issued to the person”



Question Re: Party Hunting
What is the law with respect to party hunting for deer? Is there a maximum distance of separation between hunters or can hunters be out-of-site of each other provided they have a means to communicate (i.e., cell phones, whistles, etc.)?


The law that regulates party hunting specifically says:


“Despite any limit on the number, sex, age or type of moose, deer or bear that may be killed under this Regulation, a person may hunt in a party for as many moose, deer or bear as there are seals held by the members of the party and not yet attached to any of the wildlife if the following conditions are met by the person and the other members of the party:

  1. The total number of moose, deer or bear of a specified sex, age or type killed by the party does not exceed the total number of seals for that sex, age or type held by the members of the party.
  2. All members of the party, including the person who holds the seal that is valid for the wildlife that the party is hunting, actively participate in the hunt and hunt co-operatively.
  3. All members of the party hunt together in the same wildlife management unit or portion thereof for which the seal is valid.
  4. Each member of the party hunts within 5 kilometres of the person who holds the seal that is valid for the wildlife being hunted.
  5. Each member of the party is able to reliably and immediately communicate with the other members of the party. O. Reg. 32/04, s. 3”

In order to comply with this legislation, you must satisfy all five of the criteria listed. From a distance perspective, it is very clear that every individual who is hunting in the party must be within 5k of the tag holder. That does not mean they need to see each other if they have a reliable means of communication in accordance with paragraph 5. If you have any doubt that your group's practices may not be viewed as within the interpretation of party hunting, discuss your concerns with your local CO. (before they become an issue!!)



Question: Moose Tag
After a successful Moose Validation Tag Draw involving a group application, can the person receiving the tag refuse to hunt with the original group that he applied with and then use this tag to form another party thereby denying his original group the opportunity to harvest the adult moose that they were all instrumental in applying for?


Yes, this is allowed as the group is formed strictly for the purpose of the application. The final 'party' can be all, part, or none of the original group. Of course, it would certainly be the first and last time that this would happen...



Question Re: 'Jacklighting'
Is it permissible to “jack light” deer/game at night if you have ABSOLUTELY no guns/ammo etc. in your vehicle? This would be in regards to simply driving around “observing” wildlife at night. NOT HUNTING them in any way. Secondly, I have been given conflicting answers on the above with regards to it being during an OPEN SEASON, CLOSED SEASON, etc. and was hoping that you could perhaps answer in a more "official" capacity.


The answer is that the answer is not simple. Let me explain.


The definition of hunt in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act reads: “hunting” includes,

  • lying in wait for, searching for, being on the trail of, pursuing, chasing or shooting at wildlife, whether or not the wildlife is killed, injured, captured or harassed, or
  • capturing or harassing wildlife, except that “hunting” does not include,
  • trapping, or
  • lying in wait for, searching for, being on the trail of or pursuing wildlife for a purpose other than attempting to kill, injure, capture or harass it, unless the wildlife is killed, injured, captured or harassed as a result.


Using this definition you see that “jacklighting”, even without a gun present in the vehicle, could be interpreted as hunting if the courts felt that the animals were being harassed as a result of the activity.


While you may feel that your individual activity may not amount to harassment, the deer may not agree with you!


Rural landowners, too, have shared with officers their concerns when high powered spotlights pan over their residences late at night. It can be very stressful to lie in bed and wonder if there is going to be a shot fired with the light.


My suggestion is because this is an activity which is open to interpretation and dependent upon some very fine nuances in behaviour, that you discuss your plans with your district enforcement manager in the area that you would like to engage in the activity. While some districts will tolerate some forms of night viewing, in others this has become such a problem that they will consider charges.



Question Re: Claiming a Found Deer You Did Not Shoot
While deer hunting in the woods, I found a dead deer that had been (poorly) shot by another hunter several days earlier. The meat had spoiled. If the meat had been good and I wanted to keep the deer, would I have to affix my tag to the deer in order to keep it?


Definitely NOT. It is illegal to attach your tag to an animal shot by another person. The exception to this prohibition is the exemption which allows you to tag an animal of another person who is party hunting with you. In the circumstances described above I would strongly advise against doing anything with an animal that has been found, until an officer has been contacted and may attend the scene to investigate. The investigating officer may do a number of things including: seize the deer and send for forensic examination, take the deer and deliver it to a charitable organization, or he may release the animal to the individual who found it.


Try to think about why we cannot tell you to take this deer, no questions asked. Can you imagine how many deer would be “found, shooter unknown” if that was the ticket for not having to tag a perfectly good freshly killed deer!



Question Re: Use of Tracking Collars
I am seeing hunters using tracking collars on their dogs to see which way a chase is moving. They then radio their buddies to stop the chase. Is this a legal procedure?


Yes, this is legal as there are no restrictions on the use of electromagnetic devices (cell phones, walkie talkies, etc.) while hunting




Question Re: Definition of Roadway
I often hunt roads far from highways. A recent newspaper article said that one of the most common chargeable offences is shooting from a road or roadway. Is there a strict definition on what constitutes a road or roadway? How do I know if I'm breaking the law?


The Hunting Regulation Summary states that: “You must not discharge firearms from or across any highway or road in any county or regional municipality designated in the Regulations or from or across the travelled portion in any other area”.


In addition, generally, you are not allowed to have a loaded firearm between the fences, or if no fences, within eight metres, of the travelled portion of a King's highway, secondary highway, county road or a maintained township road in parts of Ontario as listed in the Regulations. These regulations apply year round in most of Ontario south of the French-Mattawa River system, however in some areas of southern Ontario, they only apply during the open season for deer. So, if in doubt as to the definition of a specific road or roadway and the legality of hunting, we advise that you contact the closest MNR district office for more specific information.




Question Re: Retrieval Time
What is the time limit to retrieve your ducks after you shoot them?


Every reasonable effort must be made to retrieve the ducks as soon as possible after you shoot them. MNR C.O.'s realize that sometimes it may take awhile to find and gather them up; other times, you can retrieve them right away. So ... you won't find an MNR C.O. hidden in the blind next to you with a stop watch!



Question Re: Access to Hunt Waterfowl
My hunting partner and I were wondering if we are permitted to hunt for ducks and geese along the Lake Ontario shore east of Darlington Provincial Park? Who owns the property along the lakefront? My partner noticed a couple of blinds set up in the area.


Please see the response to the question below. As far as land ownership is concerned, again that is something that you can check with at the municipality. MNR does not keep land tenure records.



Question #2 Re: Access to Hunt Waterfowl
I have seen a vast amount of waterfowl in the area of the 401 and 115 as well as around the Taunton Road area. They have been in the corn fields, which is in WMU 72B area. Can you hunt for waterfowl in this area of Taunton Road (Taunton, Hampton areas) if permission is granted by the farmer?


Yes, from the MNR's perspective there are open seasons for waterfowl in that area (see the Canadian Wildlife Service website to view open season dates). However, local townships may pass their own Discharge of Firearms bylaws. Therefore you should check with the municipal office before heading afield. All assuming of course, landowner permission, as you have indicated, has been granted.



Question Re: Use of Sinkbox for Waterfowl Hunting
Are sinkboxes legal for waterfowl hunting in Ontario? Is this a provincial or federal law?


In general, yes, you can use sinkboxes to hunt (where it is otherwise legal to hunt) in most of Ontario. There are some areas, however, where you may not hunt out of a sinkbox, not because they are illegal, but because it is either illegal to hunt offshore where you would typically use a sinkbox, or you must hunt out of a designated blind. These areas include:

  1. When you are hunting in a controlled hunting area that requires that you hunt out of a designated blind. Upper Canada and Camden East hunting areas are examples of this, but many of the provincial hunting areas (Luther, Tiny Marsh, etc.) would also have an indirect restriction on the use of these boats.
  2. It is not legal to hunt from a sinkbox (or any boat) if it is situated beyond certain mainland locations i.e. 300 m off Turkey Point, 300m off mainland or any island in Lake St Francis, 300 m off shore of Rondeau Bay in Kent county and 300 m. off shore in Lake St. Clair.
  3. In addition there are new regulations put in place this year under the Migratory Birds Convention Act Regulations that restrict hunting in the Wolfe Island area so that hunters must be on the island, on the shore, or in the marsh within 20 metres of the shore. b. Both. If Migratory Birds Convention Act it is Federal legislation. If Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, it is provincial. Note that the rules vary between the two pieces of legislation. (i.e. cannot hunt from a motor boat, period, when hunting other than migratory birds)


Question Re: Bait and Agricultural Activity
My question is concerning the part of the act which states that it is “...illegal to hunt migratory birds within 400m (437 yds.) of where bait has been deposited unless it has been free of bait for at least seven days...” If this is so then why can hunters get permission from farmers to go into the various corn fields where there is corn kernels scattered everywhere after cutting, set up decoys and hunt ducks and geese. Why can this not take effect on water as well?


The reason that this is not illegal is because there is an exception in the Migratory Birds Convention Act which states that material which has been deposited as a result of normal agricultural practices is not bait for the purposes of the section which prohibits baiting. As normal agricultural practices do not include growing corn under water, well, I guess that answers the second question.



Question Re: Lead Shot
I have an original, black powder muzzle loading 16 ga shotgun. Is it legal for me to use lead shot in this historic gun to harvest ducks and geese?


Sorry, but the restriction under the Migratory Birds Convention Act Regulations is for using lead shot, period. There are no exemptions based upon the source of the shot. The waterfowl that are eating the lead and dying likely don't care much either!



Question Re: Snow Geese
I have been seeing some Snow Geese mixed in with Canada Geese over the past while (during the late season hunt) and I'm wondering if any CO's have seen any as this is the first year I have seen them. They have been spotted as far East as in the Port Hope area and I have seen two mixed in with Canada Geese in Peterborough and in the Bowmanville and Pickering areas. Any help or information would be great as I did not think they were this far north?


Snow geese migrate from the Arctic, James and Hudson Bay regions, where they summer and raise their young. Their populations have increased incredibly over the past decade, to the point where they are causing some serious habitat damage to Canada Geese nesting area's in the North. It is because these Canada Geese [which are a different subspecies of bird from our Southern Ontario Canada's, whose populations are skyrocketing!] bird populations are threatened by Snow Goose expansion that we have the various Goose seasons around the province. The seasons are attempting to harvest the surplus Southern birds, while the Northern Canada's are protected. Which is a long way of answering your question by saying that, as snow geese numbers are increasing dramatically, a few more of them are wandering off of their traditional Atlantic and Western Flyways and coming down through Central Ontario in our portion of the Mississippi flyway.



Question Re: Waterfowl Hunting and Fishing At the Same Time
Is it legal to fish while at the same time you are hunting? This would specifically refer to duck hunting out of a blind or while anchored (obviously not while under power). Is it legal to have a fishing line in the water while waiting on the next flock of ducks to appear? Years ago I was told by two separate CO's ... two different answers (1 yes, 1 no). Further, what if two people are in the boat, 1 hunting (only 1 gun in boat) and the other is fishing (only one fishing rod in the boat) ... would this be legal?


Yes, you may fish and hunt at the same time in the circumstances as described. And yes, it would certainly be legal for two individuals in a boat to be one angler and one hunter - or even to, in the circumstances as described above, both hunt and fish. What you need to avoid doing is having a loaded firearm in a powerboat in circumstances other than those described above (stationary blind).



Question Re: Seizure
I hunt with reloads I was told that if the officer stopped me he would confiscate some of my shells to see if they were steel. If so how many would he or she take, would they do this every time and would they return them? Just wondering what would happen.


In this situation, because the lead shot regulations are under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, officers would be guided by that Act with regards to their enforcement authorities. That Act says that:


“For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations, a game officer may, ..., enter and inspect any place in which the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, there is any thing to which this Act or the regulations apply ... and the game officer may

  1. open or cause to be opened any container that the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, contains any such thing ...
  2. inspect the thing and take samples free of charge;...
  3. seize any thing by means of or in relation to which the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, this Act or the regulations have been contravened or that the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, will provide evidence of a contravention.”

The key word which any officer has to work with in that section is reasonable. There will be a requirement in a court of law for the officer to justify the reasonableness of the search and seizure. Once the officer is comfortable that this is the case, then the seizure can be affected. Seized items may be: sent for analysis, kept for court, permanently forfeited, or returned.


In the specific situation which you have described, an officer who believes that you are using illegal shot may, in some cases, be able to do a simple field test right on the spot on a number of your shells. If they test negative for lead, end of story. If not...




Question Re: Licence Rules
I have a license to trap private lands in the Sault district, can I leave the Sault district and trap private lands in another district using the same licence? What is the provincial policy with regard to this matter?


Your licence would have to be transferred to the new district. You should contact that new district of your intentions and to obtain a new number. There is a secondary licence which you may be able to obtain if you wish to trap in another district which is adjacent to the Sault district. Call the office there for more details.




Question Re: Harvesting Snapping Turtles
What regulations are in place to protect the over-harvesting of snapping turtles and what are the export rules?


MNR is concerned about managing snapping turtle populations in Ontario. To this end there are special regulations in place which limit the number of snapping turtles you may harvest. You cannot take more than 2 per day, nor may you possess more than a total of 5. You must be licensed to sport fish. You may only take snapping turtles by box or funnel traps or by hand. You may not remove the upper shell from the turtle until immediately before it is prepared for consumption. There are also open and closed seasons throughout the province for those wishing to harvest snapping turtles. These are outlined in the summary of the hunting regulations. Throughout most of southern and central Ontario, the open season is from July 15 to September 15. No export permit is required to transport snapping turtles out of Ontario.


A new regulation was put in place in 2012 that requires hunters to report any snapping turtles they harvest in order to better manage the species. You can find the mandatory questionnaire here: ontario.ca/harvestreporting



Question Re: Hunting Porcupine
I can not find any reference to porcupine hunting in the Ontario regulations. May I hunt them in Ontario?


Yes, in general you may hunt any animal year round except:

  • “game animals”, or
  • “specially protected wildlife” or
  • any other bird that belongs to a species that is wild by nature and is not a game bird (except crows, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds, red-winged blackbirds, house sparrows, grackles)


This would include such animals as, porcupines and groundhogs. These animals are still protected in that the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act still applies. Therefore you still require a hunting licence, must comply with all other hunting rules like unloaded in a vehicle, plugged shotgun, etc., but there is no closed season and there is not a limit on the number of animals which may be hunted.


This licence is not valid in northern Ontario and part of central Ontario from June 16 to August 31 except for hunting by falconry and hunting game birds on a game bird hunting preserve.





Question Re: Information Regarding Wildlife Violations
Where can I find articles regarding taking or attempting to take out of season, taking in an illegal place, improper license, illegal method, possession, procedure, importation, taking, and the sales of wildlife?


Please see the news section.

The Ministry of Natural Resources routinely creates and distributes News Releases on the above fish and wildlife crimes, and then sends them out to the media. Outdoor writers for newspapers and magazines regularly include the details of these news releases in their articles. You can also check out the MNR Newsroom website to read these news releases in their entirety.



Question Re: Access to Conviction Records
How would I go about finding out if someone in the past was convicted of a fish or wildlife offence?


You need to contact the Ministry of the Attorney General and apply under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. MNR's conservation officers have quick and easy access to this, but generally speaking, the public has to follow the application process which is more involved.