Migratory game bird hunting regulations: frequently asked questions

For detailed information about migratory game bird hunting in Canada:

Refer to the province or territory where you plan to hunt for additional provincial or territorial regulations that may be applicable.


Can I hunt as soon as I have purchased my permit online?

Answer:  Yes, as soon as you sign your electronic permit, it is valid immediately.

Is a digital copy of the electronic permit sufficient?

Answer: No. The electronic permit must be printed and signed by the permit holder. A digital or scanned copy is not valid.

Can I buy more than one permit as a way to increase my allowable take?

Answer: No. The daily bag and possession limits apply to the person named on the permit.

Posession limits

What is the difference between the daily bag limit and the possession limit?

Answer: The daily bag limit is the maximum number of birds a hunter may harvest during any single day of hunting. The possession limit is the maximum number of birds a person may have in their possession. The possession limit applies to all persons (including non-hunters who may receive birds as a gift), and for all birds.

Do harvested birds from the previous year count towards this year's possession limit?

Answer: Yes. For example, if at the end of a hunting season a hunter has 3 mallards in the freezer, those birds will count toward the possession limit the following year while the birds are still in the hunter’s possession.


When does a hunter require a guide to hunt migratory game birds?

Answer: The federal regulations for hunting migratory game birds in Canada do not require a hunter to be accompanied by a guide. However, check the provincial or territorial regulations for the area where you plan to hunt to see if you are required to have a hunting guide.

Gifting birds

If a hunter gives a migratory game bird the hunter has harvested to someone as a gift, would that recipient require a permit in order to accept it?

No. A legally harvested migratory game bird can be gifted to another person. However, there are several requirements for possessing or transporting such gifted birds including properly tagging it and retaining a fully-feathered wing on the carcass for identification purposes.

If a hunter harvests waterfowl and then gives the harvested birds to someone else, do those birds still count as part of the hunter's possession limit?

No. A bird does not count as part of the hunter's posession limit if it has been gifted to another person and is currently in the posession of that person. However, the hunter must still abide by daily bag limits.

Why must all hunters leave one fully-feathered wing attached to each migratory game bird?

Answer: In many areas of Canada, daily bag limits and possession limits vary by species. The fully  feathered wing on the harvested bird makes it easy to identify the species to help game officers  accurately apply daily bag or possession limits. The wing may be removed once the bird is prepared for immediate cooking or after the bird is taken to the owner's residence for preservation.

Can I trade my legally harvested ducks for other goods or sell them to a butcher?

Answer: No. It is illegal at any time to sell, trade, barter or buy migratory birds, or the carcasses of migratory birds, unless authorzied to do so by a special permit.

Is it legal to process harvested game bird meat into food products such as sausages and jerky for export?

Answer: While migratory game birds may be processed into products such as jerky or sausage, these products cannot be exported to the United States because U.S. law prohibits a person from returning to the U.S. with waterfowl that does not have a completely feathered wing attached to the carcass.

Transporting and shipping

Can I transport both my hunting partner's possession limit as well as my own limit if my hunting partner is not present with me in the vehicle?

Answer: Yes. You may transport your hunting partner's birds as long as he has obtained the birds legally and each carcass is tagged with your partner's name, address, signature, permit number and the date the birds were taken. 

Would the transport requirements above apply equally to a situation where a guide was transporting their client's harvested birds to a processor or to be stored?

Answer: Yes.  These requirements apply equally to a guide who is transporting game birds taken by clients in that situation.

May I ship migratory birds?

Answer: Yes.  It is legal to ship, transport or offer for shipment or transport a package or container of any kind containing a migratory bird. The exterior of the package or container must be clearly marked with the name and address of the shipper, hunting permit number and an accurate statement of the contents.

Is it permissible to use recorded bird calls to attract birds?

Answer:  No. It is illegal to hunt a migratory game bird with the aid of a recorded bird call. However, it is permitted for use in special conservation measures for species which have been legally designated as overabundant such as Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese.

Mobility-impaired hunters

Are there special rules to accommodate mobility-impaired hunters?

Answer: Yes. Since 2009, mobility-impaired hunters can hunt migratory game birds from a motorized vehicle that is stationary as long as the province or territory where they plan to hunt also permits the use of motorized vehicles for hunting. Such authorization confirming the disability must be obtained from the province.

Reporting leg bands

May I keep leg bands found on my ducks?

Answer: Yes.  However we ask that you report the band number to the Canadian Wildlife Service online at www.reportband.gov or call toll free 1-800-327-2263 (1-800-327-BAND).

Residents of the United States

I am a resident of the United States of America and have hunted waterfowl in Canada during the open hunting season. May I return home with my possession limit of ducks even if the bird hunting season is closed?

Answer: All birds taken under the authority of a migratory game bird hunting permit must be transported during the open season or within five days after it ends. There may be additional provincial or territorial requirements depending on the area where you hunt or information specific to residents of the U.S.A. hunting in Canada.

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