Summary of Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations: Northwest Territories, August 2022 to July 2023

Summary

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

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

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

The 2022 federal permit is also valid for the 2023 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 applicable 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.

New! It is no longer required to sign the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (both physical and electronic forms). This allows you to carry your permit in a digital format, such as on a mobile device. If you choose to carry your permit on your mobile device, it must be in the PDF format provided by the e-permitting system (a photograph or screenshot of your permit is not valid). It is also your responsibility to be able to show the permit to a game officer immediately upon request.

If you are hunting on private lands within an area with a settled land claim, you must ask permission first.

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

The format of the Summary has changed. The Migratory Birds Regulations have been modernized. Many important clarifications and changes have been made to the regulations regarding migratory game bird hunting, including: the concept of possession, gifting of harvested birds, labelling requirements, hunting methods and equipment, and the introduction of new permits.

New! Youth Migratory Game Bird Hunting (MGBH) permit

Waterfowler Heritage Days have been abolished and replaced with a MGBH permit for youth, which is referred to as the Youth MGBH permit.

Hunters who are minors (less than 18 years old) may now hunt with a Youth MGBH permit. The Youth MGBH permit, as well as the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp, can be obtained through our online purchasing system, free of charge.

The Youth MGBH permit provides young hunters with the opportunity to practice their skills under the supervision of an adult mentor (in possession of a MGBH Permit) throughout the full open season and the special conservation season, and provides Youth MGBH Permit holders with their own daily bag and possession limits.

Mentors must possess their own MGBH permit, must have held such a permit in a previous year, and may accompany no more than two youth hunters. Mentors may carry a firearm, and may hunt. For more information on the new rules pertaining to hunting migratory game birds in the modernized Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, please consult the Migratory Game Bird Hunting web page.

Enforcement

The Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties 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.

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 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 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

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) or “Échec au crime” in the province of Quebec at 1-800-711-1800. Your call is anonymous, and you may be eligible for a cash reward.

Open season and daily bag and possession limits for migratory game birds in the Northwest Territories

Throughout the Northwest Territories
Species Open season Daily bag limit Possession limit

All ducks, combined

September 1 to December 10

25 for residents of Canada

8 for non-residents of Canada

No limit for residents of Canada

16 for non-residents of Canada

Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, White-fronted Geese and Brant, combined

September 1 to December 10

15 for residents of Canada

5 for non-residents of Canada (not more than 2 may be White-fronted Geese)

No limit for residents of Canada

10 for non-residents of Canada (not more than 4 may be White-fronted Geese)

Coots

September 1 to December 10

25

No limit

Snipe

September 1 to December 10

10

No limit for residents of Canada

20 for non-residents of Canada

Special measures for overabundant species in the Northwest Territories

Banks Island and the portions of Victoria Island and of the Queen Elizabeth Islands that are in the Northwest Territories
Species Open season Daily bag limit Possession limit Additional hunting method or equipment

Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese, combined

September 1 to December 10

50

No limit

Electronic bird calls of Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese may be used. While hunting those species with those calls, any other species of migratory bird for which it is the open season may be hunted.

Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese, combined

May 1 to June 30

50

No limit

Electronic bird calls of Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese may be used.

Throughout the Northwest Territories except Banks Island, Victoria Island and Queen Elizabeth Islands
Species Open season Daily bag limit Possession limit Additional hunting method or equipment

Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese, combined

September 1 to December 10

50

No limit

Electronic bird calls of Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese may be used. While hunting those species with those calls, any other species of migratory bird for which it is the open season may be hunted.

Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese, combined

May 1 to May 28

50

No limit

Electronic bird calls of Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese may be used.

Note: no person shall hunt earlier than one hour before sunrise or later than one hour after sunset.

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.

For more information, consult:

You may also direct your questions to:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
5019 52 Street
P.O. Box 2310
Yellowknife NT X1A 2P7

Tel.: 1-800-668-6767
enviroinfo@ec.gc.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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