Hunting regulations summary for migratory birds: Nova Scotia, 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.

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.

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.

Use of bait prior to and during the migratory bird hunting season is restricted; please consult the Migratory Birds Regulations for restrictions regarding deposition of bait. Check your permit and provincial hunting regulations for additional restrictions, such as Sunday closures and minimum required distances from residences and businesses.

National Wildlife Areas located in Nova Scotia are administered under the Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act. Refer to notices posted at entrances for area-specific rules.

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

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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.

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

Shot

  • Non-toxic shot must be used to hunt all migratory game birds, except for woodcock
  • 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

Species at Risk

Barrow’s Goldeneye is listed in the Species at Risk Act as a species of special concern, and the daily bag and possession limit is 1 bird.

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 and Open Seasons in Nova Scotia (No open season for Harlequin Ducks)

Open seasons and Waterfowler Heritage Days in Nova Scotia

Area

Waterfowler Heritage Days

Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks) and Geese

Open seasons in Nova Scotia

Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks and Eiders)

Open seasons in Nova Scotia

Eiders

Open seasons in Nova Scotia

Geese

Open seasons in Nova Scotia

Woodcock and Snipe

Zone No. 1i

Sept. 19

Oct. 1 to Jan. 7

Nov. 9 to Jan. 7

Sept. 8 to Sept. 22

Oct. 1 to Dec. 31

Oct. 1 to Nov. 30

Zone No. 2ii

Sept. 19

Oct. 8 to Jan. 15

Nov. 17 to Jan. 15

Sept. 8 to Sept. 28

Oct. 22 to Jan. 15

Oct. 1 to Nov. 30

i “Zone No. 1” means the counties of Antigonish, Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland, Hants, Kings, and Annapolis.

ii “Zone No. 2” means the counties of Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Halifax, Guysborough, Cape Breton, Victoria, Inverness, and Richmond.

Bag and possession limits in Nova Scotia

Bag and possession limits in Nova Scotia

Limit

Ducks (other than Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, Eiders, and Scoters)

Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, and Scoters

Geese

Woodcock

Snipe

Daily Bag

6 (a)

5 (c) (d)

5 (g) (h)

8

10

Possession

18 (b)

10 (e) (f)

16

16

20

(a) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In Zone No.1, during the period beginning on December 1 and ending on January 7, and in Zone No.2, during the period beginning on December 8 and ending on January 15, not more than 4 may be American Black Ducks.

(b) Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye.

(c) Not more than 4 Scoters may be taken daily.

(d) Not more than 2 Eiders (1 female) may be taken daily.

(e) Not more than 8 Scoters may be possessed.

(f) Not more than 4 Eiders may be possessed.

(g) In Zone No. 1, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 8 to September 22.

(h) In Zone No. 2, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 8 to September 28.

Note
For more information on hunting districts, contact the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

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
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville NB E4L 1G6

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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