Migratory game bird hunting permit

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Notices

COVID-19

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the Government of Canada, as well as provincial and territorial governments, continue to adjust their guidance and directives accordingly. Please check the Government of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) website for information, including the requirements for Travel, testing and borders.

To hunt migratory game birds in Canada, you must have a valid federal migratory game bird hunting (MGBH) permit on which the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation (CWHC stamp) appears. The MGBH permit is valid anywhere in Canada. The cost of the MGBH permit (including $8.50 for the CWHC stamp) is $17.00 plus applicable taxes. It is not transferable and can only be used by the person who is named on the permit.

You must be able to show the permit to game officers upon request. To be valid, the permit (physical or electronic) no longer needs to be signed. You must carry the permit with you at all times, either in physical or electronic PDF format, when hunting or when in possession of unpreserved migratory game birds or any murres, in a place other than your residence. 

New! Introduction of the Youth Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit

The Youth MGBH permit is a new option available to hunters who are minors (under the age of 18), that provides the opportunity to youth to practice their skills under the supervision of an adult hunter throughout the full open seasons and the special conservation season in spring, while enabling them to benefit from having their own daily bag and possession limits.

The Youth MGBH permit and CWHC stamp are available to youth free of charge.

  • This permit option is only available online through the MGBH e-Permitting System
  • Individuals must be younger than 18 years on the day the permit is issued
  • This permit remains valid until June 30th following the date it was issued, even if the holder turns 18 before then

Individuals who are hunting under the authority of the Youth MGBH permits must always be accompanied by an adult hunter (over 18 years of age), known as a mentor.

  • The mentor must hold a valid MGBH permit when out hunting with Youth MGBH permit holders, and must have also held one in a previous year
  • The mentor may accompany up to two youth hunters at a time, except in Ontario where, as per provincial regulations, they may only accompany 1 youth hunter
  • A mentor may hunt while out with Youth MGBH permit holders

With the introduction of the Youth MGBH permit, Waterfowler Heritage Days have been repealed.

Purchasing or obtaining a permit

Beginning August 1, 2022, you can obtain your permit, valid from August 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, by choosing one of these three options:

The Youth MGBH permit and CWHC stamp are available free of charge, and are only available through the e-permitting system.

When you purchase a MGBH permit electronically, there are a few additional benefits to consider.

  • Purchases can be made from the comfort and safety of your home or business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except during the maintenance periods) using any major credit card
  • You have the option to download the e-permit (including the image of the CWHC stamp) directly from the ‘checkout complete’ page and a PDF is also emailed to the email address that was provided
  • The e-permit is valid and can be used immediately, either in printed or electronic format
  • The physical CWHC stamp is not required to validate a permit that you purchase electronically
  • When you buy an e-permit, you can still receive the physical CWHC stamp by checking the appropriate box in the online form. It will then be sent to you by regular mail for no additional charge. This option is not available for Youth MGBH permits, as the stamp is free of charge
  • It is possible to purchase/obtain an e-permit permit for another individual, as long as you have all of the information required when doing so

Lost or misplaced a permit

Please note that if you have lost or misplaced your physical permit that was purchased through Canada Post or an independent vendor, you must purchase a new permit at your own expense, as Canada Post and independent vendors do not keep records of individuals who purchased permits. However, if you have misplaced your e-permit, it can be recovered through the e-permitting system using the email that was provided when it was obtained, or from the confirmation email that was received at the time of purchase.

If your permit, physical or e-permit cannot be presented when requested by a game officer, you will be seen to be in contravention to the law.

Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp (CWHC)

Funds raised from the sale of the stamp go to Wildlife Habitat Canada (CWHC), a national charitable non-profit conservation organization. Since its inception in 1984, WHC has received over $62M through the sales of the stamp supporting more than 1,600 habitat conservation projects across the country.

Changes for migratory bird hunting

The new Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 include many important changes for hunting migratory game birds. For more information, please refer to:

Additional information

  • There are specific seasons for hunting ducks, geese, woodcock and other hunted species in Canada. The dates for hunting migratory game birds often vary across the country and within a province, as do daily bag and possession limits for hunted species. For more information, consult the appropriate migratory game bird hunting summary for where you will be hunting
  • Depending on the area where you wish to hunt, you may also require a provincial or territorial license. Check with the wildlife agency in the area where you plan to hunt as to provincial or territorial requirements prior to hunting migratory game birds in that area
  • You must also know and obey the firearm regulations of the province or territory in which you will be hunting migratory game birds
  • The hunting seasons and bag limits for migratory game bird species are determined every two years and are published in Schedule 3 of the Migratory Birds Regulations. The proposed and final changes, as well as rationale, can be found in the Migratory birds regulatory report series

Enforcement

Most migratory birds found in Canada are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) which fulfills the terms of the Migratory Birds Convention of 1916 between Canada and the USA. The Canadian government has the authority to pass and enforce regulations to protect those species of migratory birds included in the Convention. Similar legislation in the United States protects species found there.

Under the MBCA and its regulations, the Government of Canada is responsible for managing migratory bird populations and for regulating the hunting of migratory game birds such as ducks and geese.

In Canada, the MBCA is administered by the Government of Canada in cooperation with:

  • provincial and territorial governments
  • game officers
  • the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • provincial and most territorial law enforcement agencies which have the authority to enforce the Act

Depending on the offence, enforcement actions may include:

  • fines
  • suspension of hunting privileges
  • forfeiture of equipment
  • imprisonment

Related links

Contact us

For any questions about the act or its regulations, you can reach us at: 1-800-668-6767.

Disclaimer: This is not a legal document. If there is a discrepancy between the law and the information on this page, the law prevails.

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