Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada: 2022

Official title:

Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada 2022
2022/2023 and 2023/2024 Hunting Seasons

Canadian Wildlife Service
Waterfowl Technical Committee

CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory
Report Number 57

Document information

Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials in this publication, in whole or in part, for the purposes of commercial redistribution without prior written permission from Environment and Climate Change Canada's copyright administrator. To obtain permission to reproduce Government of Canada materials for commercial purposes, apply for Crown Copyright Clearance by contacting:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
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Telephone: 819-938-3860
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

Cover image : © 2021 Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp and Print image, "On Golden Pond – Common Goldeneye" by Ric Sluiter.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 2022

Aussi disponible en français

For more information on migratory birds, please visit the Government of Canada's website: Migratory birds - Canada.ca

Important Notice about the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

There are temporary restrictions on importing or exporting harvested meat from migratory game birds hunted in areas affected by HPAI. For more information, consult the CFIA – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Zones, Permits and conditions needed for movement control, Bringing food, plant and animal products into Canada and Imports: Animal and Animal Products (United States Department of Agriculture, available in English only).

Cover Art:

The 2021 Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, entitled “On Golden Pond — Common Goldneye, features the Common Goldeneye duck. It is a creation of the Canadian wildlife artist Ric Sluiter.

Through a special partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada receives the revenues from the sale of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, purchased primarily by waterfowl hunters to validate their Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits. The conservation stamp is also sold to stamp and print collectors and those interested in contributing to habitat conservation. Wildlife Habitat Canada has provided over $55 million in grants to more than 1,500 habitat conservation projects across Canada since the development of the program in 1985. Since 2012, Wildlife Habitat Canada has helped to restore, enhance and conserve 1.3 million acres of wildlife habitat.

For more information on Wildlife Habitat Canada or the conservation stamp and print program, please call Wildlife Habitat Canada at 613-722-2090 (in the Ottawa region) or toll-free at 1-800-669-7919, or consult the website at Wildlife Habitat Canada.

Author:

This report was prepared by the Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Technical Committee, and edited by Renée Bergeron in the Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs Division of the National Office of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Recommended citation for this report:

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2022. Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada, 2022 – 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 Hunting Seasons. CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 57. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa.

Comments:

Comments regarding the regulation-setting process or other concerns relating to national migratory birds should be sent to the Canadian Wildlife Service, Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs Division:

Director, Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Email: MbregsReports-Rapports-Omregs@ec.gc.ca

Region-specific comments should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, Regional Operations, Canadian Wildlife Service, at the following postal addresses:

Atlantic Region: 17 Waterfowl Lane, P.O. Box 6227, Sackville NB E4L 1G6

Quebec Region: 801–1550 d’Estimauville Avenue, Québec QC G1J 0C3

Ontario Region: 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto ON M3H 5T4

Prairie Region: 9250 - 49th Street NW, 2nd Floor, Edmonton AB T6B 1K5

Northern Region: 5019 - 52nd Street, P.O. Box 2310, Yellowknife NT X1A 2P7

Pacific Region: RR1, 5421 Robertson Road, Delta BC V4K 3N2

This report may be downloaded from the following website: Migratory birds regulatory report series

Background

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is responsible for the conservation of migratory birds in Canada and the management of the sustainable hunting of migratory game birds. The hunting regulations for migratory game birds are reviewed and amended biennially by ECCC, with input from provinces and territories, as well as from various other stakeholders. However, the population status of migratory game birds is assessed on an annual basis to ensure that the regulations are appropriate, and amendments can be made between review periods, if necessary, for conservation reasons.

As part of the regulatory process to amend the hunting regulations, the ECCC’s Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) produces a series of regulatory reports:

The first report, Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada, contains population and other biological information on migratory game birds and thus provides the scientific basis for informing management decisions that ensure the long-term sustainability of their population. Every two years, ECCC reviews hunting regulations and publishes the population status report. However, CWS analyzes population trends on a yearly basis to evaluate the status of migratory game bird populations.

The second report, Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations, outlines the proposed changes to the hunting regulations for the next two hunting seasons, as well as proposals to amend the overabundant species regulations and sometimes, proposed amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations. Proposals for hunting regulations are developed in accordance with the Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting (Establishing national regulations for migratory game bird hunting: objectives and guidelines). This report is published every second year, concurrently with the revision of hunting regulations.

The third report, Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada, summarizes the hunting regulations that were approved for the next two hunting seasons. The report is published every second year, concurrently with the revision of hunting regulations.

The three reports are distributed to organizations and individuals, with an interest in migratory bird conservation, to provide an opportunity for input on the development of hunting regulations in Canada. They are also available on the ECCC website: Migratory birds regulatory report series.

The process for developing regulations in Canada requires that any changes be in the form of final proposals by late February during years of regulatory changes. That means that regulations must be set without knowing about the breeding conditions and production forecasts of the coming year. This does not usually present difficulties because the hunting regulations are based on trends over several years, but in some cases the results from recent harvest surveys or breeding population surveys conducted in May and June will indicate that changes in the national approach are needed to ensure the conservation of migratory game birds. In this case, ECCC will process a regulatory amendment and issue a bulletin updating these regulations.

Regulatory changes described in the current document will start in September 2022 and remain in effect for two hunting seasons (fall 2022/winter 2023, fall 2023/winter 2024). Special conservation measures are also established for overabundant geese in spring 2023 and spring 2024.

Schedule for the Development of Hunting Regulations within each Regulatory Cycle

The schedule for the development of hunting regulations is based on the requirement to have the hunting regulations made into law by July:

Migratory game bird hunters are made aware of the migratory game bird hunting regulations at the same time as they receive information on season dates and bag and possession limits, when they purchase their hunting permits.

American Black Duck International Harvest Strategy

The American Black Duck International Harvest Strategy was adopted in 2012 by the CWS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The objectives of the Strategy, based on the principles of adaptive harvest management, are to:

As such, the Strategy is designed to identify appropriate Black Duck harvest levels in Canada and the U.S. based on the size of the breeding populations of Black Ducks and sympatric Mallards while maintaining equity in Black Duck harvests between the two countries. However, recognizing incomplete control of harvest through regulations, it allows the realized harvest in either country to vary between 40% and 60% of the annual continental harvest.

The Strategy, used to determine the appropriate Black Duck harvest regulations, was first implemented in 2013–2014. It consists of four pre-defined regulatory packages in Canada and three in the U.S. Country-specific harvest opportunities are determined from a set of expected harvest rate distributions defined as regulatory alternatives. Canada developed four regulatory packages (liberal, moderate, restrictive and closed) with the Canadian moderate alternative defined as the 1997 to 2010 mean harvest rate (the reference package). The Canadian packages are as follows:

The optimal Canadian policy recommendation for the 2022-2023 hunting season is the continuation of the liberal regulatory package. This recommendation is based on long-term trends in Black Duck and Mallard breeding populations in eastern Canada as well as the estimated effects of hunting on the Black Duck population. Mallards are included in the Strategy because this species hybridizes and competes with Black Ducks on the breeding grounds and may therefore negatively affect the Black Duck population. According to data collected by the CWS and USFWS, the current level of harvest has only a low effect on population levels. The liberal package is therefore the optimal alternative.

Each regulatory package, however, must be implemented for at least three years before changes to the regulatory package will be considered, due to variability in annual harvest rates. In the interim, CWS will continue to monitor harvest rate in addition to the breeding population to ensure that the Strategy continues to meet the objectives stated above.

2021 Fall ECCC Regional Stakeholder Meetings Regarding the Hunting Regulation for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 Seasons

In fall of 2021, biologists from ECCC met with their provincial and territorial counterparts, as well as other stakeholders, in technical committees to discuss new information on the status of migratory game bird populations, and how it compares to annual trends. These regional technical committees used survey information from national and international bird population surveys, species-specific studies, and information received from migratory game bird hunters and non-government organizations to identify concerns with population levels of migratory game bird species. In order to address these concerns and ensure a sustainable harvest for migratory game birds, hunting season dates, daily bag limits and possession limits required adjustment for certain species for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 hunting seasons.

Summary of the Comments Received during Public Consultations held in winter 2022 Regarding the Hunting Regulations for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 Seasons

The proposed changes were described in detail in a consultation document titled Proposals to amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations - 2022 (Consultation document: Proposals to amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations 2022), which was published online on January 14, 2022 for public comment. During the 30-day consultation period, the Department received nine comments. Comments were submitted by provincial hunting and conservation organizations, academia, hunters and individuals interested in migratory bird conservation.

Most comments received were supportive of the proposed changes to the Regulations for the next two hunting seasons. Two comments offered suggestions for the next round of amendments to the Regulations, which will be carefully examined and considered by the Department and discussed at the next regional waterfowl stakeholder meetings.

Two concerns were raised by a local hunting organization from Prince Edward Island. They indicated their opposition to the continuation of the liberal harvest regime currently called for by the American Black Duck International Harvest Strategy, and instead recommended that a moderate harvest regime be re-instated. According to this organization, the scientific data are missing to support a liberal harvest regime because of the lack of population surveys undertaken in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 restrictions. According to this organization, data presented in the Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada – 2021 report are conflicting with data published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The organization was also concerned about the impact of climate change on American Black Duck populations under a liberal harvest regime.

Since 2012, Canada and the United States have implemented a formal International American Black Duck Harvest Strategy to ensure the long-term sustainability of Black Ducks and to allow equitable harvest in both countries. With this strategy in place, combined data from three key monitoring programs — banding, breeding population and harvest surveys — are used to create an integrated population model to directly inform the duck hunting regulations in each country. The most recent results from the population model indicate that, at the current level of hunting, harvest is not significantly affecting annual Black Duck survival at the population level. If liberalization of the hunting regulations in the United States or Canada causes the population to decline, those signals will be detected through monitoring programs that are beginning to be reintroduced given the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions, and appropriate regulatory changes will be made to ensure that Black Duck harvest remains sustainable over the long term.

In addition, Canada and the United States present their assessment of the Black Duck population status slightly differently. The US Waterfowl Population Report presents the annual difference in the eastern waterfowl survey area population compared to the 20-year average and the previous year. In contrast, Canada’s Population Status of Migratory Game Birds report presents the population trends since the beginning of the survey and the previous five years.

Current model predictions do not anticipate a negative impact from climate change on the American Black Duck breeding abundance on the Canadian breeding grounds (Adde et al. 2020). However, the Department is still looking into the potential impact of climate changes through the full life cycle of Black Duck.

The same organization also indicated its concern about the risk of transmission of COVID-19 virus between humans and wild birds. The risk of COVID-19 transmission between human and wild birds is very unlikely as coronaviruses found in birds are from different genera than that of SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent responsible for COVID-19(Frederick et al. 2021). Recent investigation shows a lack of susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in geese and ducks (Suarez et al. 2020), suggesting that the transmission of COVID-19 from humans to migratory birds is unlikely.

References

Adde, A., Stralberg, D., Logan, T., Lepage, C., Cumming, S. and Darveau, M., 2020. Projected effects of climate change on the distribution and abundance of breeding waterfowl in Eastern Canada. Climatic Change, 162(4), pp.2339-2358.

Frederick, C., Girard, C., Wong, G., Lemire, M., Langwieder, A., Martin, M.C. and Legagneux, P., 2021. Communicating with Northerners on the absence of SARS-CoV-2 in migratory snow geese. Écoscience, 28(3-4), pp.217-223.

Suarez, D.L., Pantin-Jackwood, M.J., Swayne, D.E., Lee, S.A., DeBlois, S.M., and Spackman, E. 2020. Lack of Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV in Poultry. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 26(12), pp.3074-3076.

Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 Seasons (including special conservation measures for overabundant species)

CWS has jointly developed the hunting regulation amendments presented here in consultation with the provinces and territories, other countries such as the U.S., and a range of other interested stakeholders, including hunter organizations, Indigenous Peoples of Canada and conservation groups. They were approved by Cabinet and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on July 6, 2022.

The following section summarizes the hunting regulations amendments by province and territory during this regulatory cycle.

The complete set of regulations that will be in effect in fall 2022 and winter/spring 2023 are contained in the Appendix (Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries) and posted on the Government of Canada’s website: Hunting regulations for migratory birds: provincial and territorial summaries - Canada.ca

Removal of signature requirement for the Migratory Game Bird Hunting permit

The Migratory Birds Regulations require that all permits be signed in order to be valid. This regulatory requirement has been removed for the Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permit, effective in fall 2022. Everyone who obtains a MGBH permit (physical or electronic) is no longer required to sign it. The MGBH permits are available for purchase either as hard copies (available at many Canada Post outlets and some independent vendors), or electronically through an e-permitting system (Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit).

This amendment aims to reduce the administrative costs for the MGBH Permitting program and enhance users experience by removing the need to print the permit when purchased online (was a necessary step to sign it). It will also be an incentive for hunters to obtain their MGBH permits online through the MGBH e-permitting system, which in turn will improve data for the National Harvest Survey for migratory game bird hunting and provide additional tools for wildlife Enforcement officers.

American Black Duck Harvest

With respect to the American Black Duck International Harvest Strategy, no changes were made to the Black Duck daily bag limits in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario for hunting seasons 2022-2023. A liberal regime remains in place.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/202 hunting seasons.

Prince Edward Island

Three measures were put in place to increase harvest of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese during a period taking place before the Canada Geese North Atlantic population migrants arrive in the Atlantic Provinces. They have been considered effective in controlling population growth of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese, and as such reduce conflicts with humans, damage to crops and risks to public safety. Similar measures are being implemented for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Advance the opening date for the September goose season

The opening date for the September goose season has been advanced to an earlier fixed date of September 1st, and one day has been added to the season (Sept. 1 to Sept. 15). This measure will continue to allow an opportunity to harvest Temperate-breeding Canada Geese while affording additional protection to migrant Canada Geese from the North Atlantic Population, and the additional day will provide additional hunting opportunity by maximizing the allowable season length. No changes were made to the late fall season (October 1st to December 31).

Increase the daily bag limit for canada geese during the September goose season

The daily bag limit for geese was 5, and an additional 3 Cackling Geese or Canada Geese, or any combination, could be taken daily during the September goose season. This additional number of Canada Geese or Cackling Geese that could be taken daily has been increased to 5. This results in the daily bag limit being 10 for Cackling and Canada Geese during the September goose season (increased from 8 to 10). The daily bag limit has been harmonized with the ones in place for Quebec and Ontario.

Increase the possession limit for geese

The possession limit has been increased from 16 to 20.

Nova Scotia

Three measures were put in place to increase harvest of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese during a period taking place before the Canada Geese North Atlantic population migrants arrive in the Atlantic Provinces. They have been considered effective in controlling population growth of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese, and as such reduce conflicts with humans, damage to crops and risks to public safety. Similar measures are being implemented for Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Advance the opening date for the September goose season

Hunting Zone 1

The opening date for the September goose season has been advanced to an earlier fixed date of September 1st (Sept. 1 to Sept. 15), the season length remained the same. This action will continue to allow an opportunity to harvest Temperate-breeding Canada Geese while affording additional protection to migrant Canada Geese from the North Atlantic Population. No changes were made to the late fall season (October 1 to December 31).

Hunting Zone 2

The opening date for the September goose season has been advanced to an earlier fixed date of September 1st and the season length has been reduced by 6 days (Sept. 1 to Sept.15). The days lost have been moved to the front of the late season (October 16 to January 15). This measure will continue to allow an opportunity to harvest Temperate-breeding Canada Geese while affording additional protection to migrant Canada Geese from the North Atlantic Population.

Increase the daily bag limit for canada geese during the September goose season

The daily bag limit for geese was 5, and an additional 3 Cackling Geese or Canada Geese, or any combination, could be taken daily during the September goose season. This additional number of Canada Geese or Cackling Geese that could be taken daily has been increased to 5. This results in the daily bag limit being 10 for Cackling and Canada Geese during the September goose season (increased from 8 to 10). The daily bag limit has been harmonized with the ones in place for Quebec and Ontario.

Increase the possession limit for geese

The possession limit has been increased from 16 to 20.

New Brunswick

Three measures were put in place to increase harvest of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese during a period taking place before the Canada Geese North Atlantic population migrants arrive in the Atlantic Provinces. They have been considered effective in controlling population growth of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese, and as such reduce conflicts with humans, damage to crops and risks to public safety. Similar measures are being implemented for Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Advance the opening date for the September goose season

Hunting Zone 1

The opening date for the September goose season has been advanced to an earlier fixed date of September 1st, and the season length has been reduced by up to 10 days (Sept. 1 to Sept 15). The days lost have been moved to the end of the late season (October 15 to January 14). This measure will maximize allowable hunting days while affording additional protection to migrant Canada Geese from the North Atlantic Population and harmonize with the duck season closing date.

Hunting Zone 2

The opening date for the September goose season has been advanced to an earlier fixed date of September 1st, and the season has been reduced by up to 13 days (Sept. 1 to Sept 15). The days lost have been moved to the end of the late season (October 1 to December 31). This measure will maximize allowable hunting days while affording additional protection to migrant Canada Geese from the North Atlantic Population and harmonize with the duck season closing date.

Increase the daily bag limit for canada geese during the September goose season

The daily bag limit for geese was 5, and an additional 3 Cackling Geese or Canada Geese, or any combination, could be taken daily during the September goose season. This additional number of Canada Geese or Cackling Geese that could be taken daily has been increased to 5. This results in the daily bag limit being 10 for Cackling and Canada Geese during the September goose season (increased from 8 to 10). The daily bag limit has been harmonized with the ones in place for Quebec and Ontario.

Increase the possession limit for geese

The possession limit has been increased from 16 to 20.

Quebec

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/202 hunting seasons.

Ontario

Administrative change to harmonize the daily bag limit for Canada and Cackling Geese during the late season in the southern hunting district

The daily bag limit has been increased from 5 to 10 for Canada and Cackling Geese in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 95 in the Southern Hunting District during the late February/early March season to correct an administrative oversight. This change will align the daily bag limit in WMU 95 with those for other WMUs without daily bag limit restrictions for Canada and Cackling Geese in the Southern Hunting District. Please note that this regulatory change only applies in municipalities where Sunday gun hunting is not permitted by provincial regulations.

Manitoba

Extend the special conservation season for the overabundant temperate-breeding Canada Geese in spring in southern Manitoba

The spring conservation season for overabundant Temperate-breeding Canada Geese in southern Manitoba (Game Bird Hunting Zones 3 and 4) has been extended by 10 days. The season will take place from March 1 to April 10, effective in spring 2023. The daily bag limit and possession limit will remain unchanged. The intent of the special conservation season is to increase harvest rates to slow the growth of Temperate-breeding Canada Geese in Manitoba. These geese cause significant agricultural and private property damage in southern Manitoba and pose significant risks to human safety, both through risk of aircraft and vehicular collisions.

In response to concerns about the size and rapid growth of the Temperate-breeding Canada Goose population in southern Manitoba, and associated environmental and agricultural issues, the population was designated as overabundant in 2020, and a conservation season was established from March 1-31, 2021 (CWS 2020).

References

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2020. Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations. December 2019. Consultation document. Hunting Seasons 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 53. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa.

Saskatchewan

Remove daily bag limit restriction on White-fronted Geese

The daily bag limit for White-fronted Geese has been increased from 5 to 8 birds per day, and, likewise, the possession limit increased from 15 to 24. There was a bag limit of 8 dark geese (Canada Geese, Cackling Geese and White-fronted Geese combined) of which no more than 5 could be White-fronted Geese. The removal of the restriction for White-fronted Geese is intended to simplify hunting regulations and provide additional opportunity by allowing an aggregate bag limit of 8 dark geese per day. The effect of the regulatory change on White-fronted Geese harvest in Canada is expected to be low and within acceptable limits that ensure sustainability of the population. A similar measure is being implemented for Alberta.

Alberta

Remove bag limit restriction on White-fronted Geese

The daily bag limit for White-fronted Geese has been increased from 5 to 8 birds per day, and, likewise, the possession limit increased from 15 to 24. There was a bag limit of 8 dark geese (Canada Geese, Cackling Geese and White-fronted Geese combined) of which no more than 5 may be White-fronted Geese. The removal of the restriction for White-fronted Geese is intended to simplify hunting regulations and provide additional opportunity by allowing an aggregate bag limit of 8 dark geese per day. The effect of the regulatory change on White-fronted Geese harvest in Canada is expected to be low and within acceptable limits that ensure sustainability of the population. A similar measure is being implemented for Saskatchewan.

British Columbia

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 hunting seasons.

Yukon

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 hunting seasons.

Northwest Territories

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 hunting seasons.

Nunavut

No regulatory changes have been made for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 hunting seasons.

Status update on the modernization of Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022

The Migratory Birds Regulations have been modernized and have been published in the Canada Gazette Part II (Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 156, Number 12: Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022) on June 8, 2022. The modernized Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, will come into force on July 30, 2022. Until that time, the current Migratory Birds Regulations (Migratory Birds Regulations) remain in place.

The objective of the Migratory Birds Regulations is the conservation of migratory birds, including their eggs and nests, in Canada. Implemented in 1918, the regulations were first developed to address the overharvesting and unregulated commerce of migratory birds. This is the first time that the Migratory Birds Regulations have been comprehensively updated or revised. The modernization was necessary to better respond to the current challenges facing migratory birds.

The main changes to the MBR, 2022 related to migratory bird hunting include:

Information on the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 will be added to the Government of Canada webpages leading up to and by the coming into force date of July 30, 2022. To stay informed, please refer to the Government of Canada website Status update on the modernization of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022

For more information on the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, please contact us at MbregsReports-Rapports-Omregs@ec.gc.ca.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit – Optimizing availability to all Canadians

Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permit distribution has evolved over time in order to increase service and optimize availability to hunters. MGBH permits on which the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation (CWHC) Stamp appears can be purchased by choosing one of these three options:

  1. Electronically at Purchase of a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit | Migratory Game Bird Hunting E-Permit
  2. At select Canada Post corporation outlets (physical permit) - Mailing and shipping for Personal and Business | Canada Post
  3. At some independent vendors (physical permit) - List of vendors for migratory bird hunting permits

The MGBH e-Permitting system provides hunters additional convenience and benefits compared to purchasing a physical permit. The system is accessible to hunters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hunters can purchase a permit, on which the CWHC stamp appears, online using any major credit card from the comfort and safety of their home, download immediately from the checkout complete page as well as receive electronic copies of the stamp and permit by email. The permit is valid immediately; it no longer needs to be signed. MGBH permits that were purchased online can be requested multiple times through the permit recovery feature. A hunter can either print their permit or keep it on an electronic device when hunting. A photo of the permit is not acceptable, it must be a .PDF.

There have been versions of the Electronic system since 2014 and every year the number of permits purchased online continues to increase. The current version was successfully launched on August 1, 2019, and since then there have been additional enhancements to increase user satisfaction and to promote a robust MGBH e-Permitting system.

It should also be noted that the MGBH e-permitting purchasing system makes it easier for hunters to respond to the questions on the permit, which help inform the National Harvest Survey. Data from this and other CWS surveys are used to assess the status of migratory game bird populations in Canada, their productivity, their survival rates, and the amount of harvest they can sustain. This information also provides data to inform hunting regulations and harvest management plans for future years.

Physical MGBH Permits continue to be distributed and sold through some Canada Post outlets and a select number of independent vendors. Canada Post is the original MGBH permit vendor and continues to offer them in over 4,000 postal outlets. ECCC works closely with Canada Post to promote communication with outlets and manage inventory and distribution. There are also approximately 50 independent vendors across seven provinces that sell the physical MGBH permits. Examples of vendors include Canadian Tire and Cabela’s as well as small local convenience stores and registry offices.

Please Report Bird Bands

North American Bird Banding Program

The North American Bird Banding Program is jointly administered by Canada's Bird Banding Office and the United States’ Bird Banding Laboratory. The program relies on the public to report their observations or recoveries of bird bands and other bird markers to the Bird Banding Office. These data help scientists and wildlife managers better understand, monitor and conserve migratory bird populations by providing information on the distribution and movement of species. Although over 1.2 million birds are banded in the US and Canada each year, only about 10 percent of game bird bands are recovered. Your contribution is important!

How to report band

If you see a marked bird or shot a bird with a band, please report the band online at The North American Bird Banding Program or call toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263) to leave a message. Visit the Report a Banded Bird web page for more details or contact the Bird Banding Office at:

Bird Banding Office
National Wildlife Research Centre.
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Rd)
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

Email: bbo@ec.gc.ca

Certificate of appreciation

After your information has been submitted, you will receive a certificate of appreciation by email which will tell you the species of bird, where and when it was banded, its age, whether it was male or female, and who banded it. We will tell the bander where and when the bird or band was found and its condition.

Appendix: 2022/2023 Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries by Province and Territory

Summaries are also available on the Government of Canada's website:

Hunting regulations for migratory birds: provincial and territorial summaries

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