Hunting regulations summary for migratory birds: Alberta, August 2020 to July 2021

Summary

To hunt migratory game birds in Canada, you must possess:

  • a valid Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit
  • a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp affixed to or printed on the permit

These two documents are issued by the federal government and are valid in all provinces and territories.

The 2020 federal permit is also valid for the 2021 spring special conservation harvest for Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese.

Most provinces and territories have additional licence requirements for hunting migratory birds and/or to carry firearms. To know what you require, and if there are further restrictions for hunting migratory birds, please verify the regulations for the province/territory where you will be hunting. Municipalities may have additional restrictions on discharging firearms. Note that all required permits and licences must be in your possession while you are hunting.

Buy permit online

You can purchase and print your Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit by visiting the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit web page.

Bird Hunting zone, see long description
Hunting zones
Long description

Hunters are advised to pay particular attention to the Alberta Hunting Guide to ensure that they are hunting for the correct species in the correct wildlife management unit during the permitted times and dates. Note that these zone numbers do not correspond to regions as presented in the Guide.

“Zone No. 1” means that part of Alberta included in Wildlife Management Units 200, 202 to 204, 206, 208, 216, 220 to 222, 224, 226, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244, 246, 248, 250, 252, 254, 256, 258, 260, 316, 318, 320, 322, 324, 326, 328, 330, 332, 334, 336 to 340, 342, 344, 346 to 360, 400, 402, 404, 406, 408, 410, 412, 414, 416 to 418, 420, 422, 426, 428 to 430, 432, 434, 436 to 442, 444 to 446, 500 to 512, 514 to 532, 534 to 537, 539 to 542, 544, 841, and 936.

“Zone No. 2” means that part of Alberta included in Wildlife Management Units 102, 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 116, 118, 119, 124, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 148, 150 to 152, 156, 158, 160, 162 to 164, 166, 210, 212, 214, 300, 302 to 306, 308, 310, 312, and 314.

If you need more information to determine in which zone you are located, please visit Alberta guide to hunting regulations or contact the Ministry of Environment and Parks.

Consultation process and migratory birds regulatory reports

A national consultation process has been developed to provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in developing the migratory birds hunting regulations. For more information, consult the Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Series web page.

Important Updates to the Hunting Regulations for Alberta

Reduction in the number of hunting zones from 8 to 2.  Previous zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 are changed to zone 1; previous zones 5, 6, 7 are changed to zone 2.

The daily bag limit for Northern Pintails increases to 8 birds per day, and the possession limit increases to 24. Northern Pintails are included in the aggregate limit for ducks of 8 in the daily bag and 24 in the possession limit.

Introduction of a Sandhill Crane season: A new Sandhill Crane season has been introduced to eastern portions of the province.  Only PWMUs 200, 202 to 204, 206, 208, , 220, 222, 226, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244, 248, 250, 252, 254, 256, 258, 260, and 500 of zone 1 and PWMUs 102, 104,106, 112, 116, 118, 119, 124, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 148, 150 to 152, 156, 158, 160, 162 to 164, 166 and 210 in zone 2 are included in the season for sandhill cranes.

Enforcement

In June 2017, the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations came into force. In particular, these regulations authorize game officers to use administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) to enforce the provisions of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) and its associated regulations.

In July 2017, amendments to the fine regime and penalty provisions in the MBCA and the Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994) Regulations came into force. In particular, these amendments allow courts to impose penalties that reflect the seriousness of offences following a conviction pursuant to the MBCA or its associated regulations.

For more information on AMPs and the new fine regime, consult the About the Environmental Enforcement Act web page.

Game officers

Image of badge

Game officers enforce the federal MBCA throughout Canada. This law regulates human interventions, such as hunting that could adversely affect long-term wildlife conservation. For any questions, please contact Wildlife Enforcement by telephone or by email at the contact information at the end of this hunting summary.

Shot

  • Non-toxic shot must be used to hunt all migratory game birds
  • Within National Wildlife Areas that allow hunting, the possession of lead shot is prohibited for all types of hunting, including the hunting of migratory birds and upland game birds
  • Hunters should consult provincial or territorial regulations for additional restrictions

To reduce your exposure to contaminants in meat, make sure, before cooking it, to:

  • remove the shot from birds hunted with lead shot
  • remove the skin and fat from fish-eating birds

Crime stoppers

Anyone wishing to report illegal hunting activities, illegal selling of birds or other offences related to migratory birds is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Your call is anonymous, and you may be eligible for a cash reward.

Waterfowler Heritage Days

Waterfowler Heritage Days are intended for young hunters under 18 years of age. These days provide opportunities for young hunters, for a few days before or during hunting seasons, to:

  • develop safe hunting habits in a supervised and structured environment
  • be guided by adult hunters who serve as mentors and pass on their skills and knowledge
  • learn more about wildlife conservation

The following rules are in effect during Waterfowler Heritage Days:

  • young hunters can hunt without having a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit or Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp
  • young hunters must comply with all safety and licensing requirements found in the Firearms Act and provincial hunting regulations
  • young hunters must be accompanied by a licensed mentor (who is not a minor)
  • adults acting as mentors:
    • must have a valid Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp
    • may not hunt or carry a firearm
    • may accompany no more than two young hunters
  • only young hunters are allowed to hunt when Waterfowler Heritage Days fall outside of the regular open seasons

Open season and Waterfowler Heritage Days in Alberta

Open seasons and Waterfowler Heritage Days in Alberta
Area Waterfowler Heritage Days Open seasons in Alberta
Species

Ducks, Geese, Coots, Snipe and Sandhill Cranes (a)

Ducks, Geese, Coots, Snipe and Sandhill Cranes (a)

Zone No. 1

Sept. 5 to Sept. 6 (b)

Sept. 1 to Dec. 16 (b), (c)

Zone No. 2

Sept. 5 to Sept. 6 (b)

Sept. 8 to Dec. 21 (b), (d)

(a) Only PWMUs 200, 202 to 204, 206, 208, 220, 222, 226, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244, 248, 250, 252, 254, 256, 258, 260, and 500 of Zone No. 1 and PWMUs 102, 104, 106, 112, 116, 118, 119, 124, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 148, 150 to 152, 156, 158, 160, 162 to 164, 166, and 210 in Zone No. 2 are included in the season for Sandhill Cranes

(b) Recorded Snow Goose and Ross’s Goose calls may be used when hunting Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese; any species of migratory birds for which it is open season may be taken while hunting Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese with those calls

(c) Falconry season open from September 1 to December 16

(d) Falconry season open from September 8 to December 21

Bag and possession limits in Alberta

Bag and possession limits in Alberta
Limit Ducks Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese Canada Geese, Cackling Geese and White-fronted Geese Coots Snipe Sandhill Cranes

Daily Bag

8 (a)

50

8 (c)

8

8

5

Possession

24 (b)

No limit

24 (d)

24

24

15

(a) For non-residents of Canada, not more than 2 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye or Common Goldeneye or any combination of them

(b) For non-residents of Canada, not more than 6 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye or Common Goldeneye or any combination of them

(c) Not more than 5 may be White-fronted Geese

(d) Not more than 15 may be White-fronted Geese

Overabundant species

The Migratory Birds Regulations also provide for special conservation harvest periods when hunters may take overabundant species. See the table below for details.

Measures in Alberta concerning overabundant species

Measures in Alberta concerning overabundant species
Area Period during which Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese may be killed Additional hunting method or equipment

Throughout Alberta

March 15 to June 15

Recorded bird calls (a)

(a) “Recorded bird calls” refers to bird calls of a species referred to in the heading of column 2

For more information

The information presented here is a summary of the law. If there is a discrepancy between the law and this summary, the law prevails.

Please consult:

You may also direct your questions to:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
9250-49 Street
Edmonton, AB T6B 1K5

Tel.: 1-800-668-6767
ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

Report your migratory bird bands

Call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) to leave a message or go to the Report a bird with a Federal Band or Color Marker website.

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