Hunting regulations for migratory birds: Nova Scotia 2018-2019
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 complete information on fines, general prohibitions, permitted hunting methods and equipment, the requirement to have adequate means to retrieve birds immediately, restrictions on the use of bait, the description of hunting zones, and other restrictions on hunting, please refer to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and Migratory Birds Regulations. These, along with other useful information for hunters, can be found on the Government of Canada website, or you may contact:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227 Sackville
New Brunswick E4L 1G6
You are required to possess a valid federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit with a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp to hunt migratory birds in Canada. This permit and stamp 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. Note that all required permits and licences must be in your possession while you are hunting.
The Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit is now available online on the Government Canada website. Purchase and print your permit from the comfort of home.
Consultation process and migratory birds regulatory reports
The hunting provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations are reviewed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, with input from the provinces and territories, as well as a range of other interested stakeholders. Environment and Climate Change Canada has developed a consultation process for establishing hunting regulations for migratory birds, and publishes the Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Series that can be found on the Government of Canada website.
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 tool, fine regime, and sentencing provisions
In June 2017, the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations came into force and administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) are now available to game officers to enforce designated violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) and its associated regulations. In addition, amendments to the fine regime and sentencing provisions of the MBCA and the regulations necessary to complete the fine regime, the Designation of Regulatory Provisions for the Purposes of Enforcement (Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994) Regulations, came into force on July 12, 2017. The amendments aim to ensure that court-imposed fines more accurately reflect the seriousness of environmental offenses. The new fine regime will be applied by courts following a conviction pursuant to the MBCA or its associated regulations. Under the new fine regime, when a contravention of a designated provision occurs, the offender upon conviction, is subject to minimum and higher maximum fines. For more information on AMPs and the new fine regime, please visit: About the Environmental Enforcement Act.
Waterfowler Heritage Day provides young hunters who are minors (under 18 years of age) with the opportunity to practise hunting and outdoor skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured, supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors have an opportunity to pass on their considerable skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to younger hunters. The following rules are in effect:
- to participate, young hunters do not require the federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit or the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp
- young participants must comply with all existing safety and licensing requirements found in the Firearms Act and provincial hunting regulations
- participants must be accompanied by a licensed mentor (who is not a minor)
- mentors may not hunt or carry a firearm, and may accompany no more than two young hunters
- only young hunters may hunt when Waterfowler Heritage Days fall outside of the regular open seasons
In Nova Scotia, non-toxic shot must be used to hunt migratory game birds, except for woodcock. Within National Wildlife Areas, the possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting, including the hunting of migratory birds and upland game birds. Hunters should consult provincial or territorial regulations for additional restrictions. For those birds still hunted with lead shot, remove the lead shot before cooking in order to reduce your exposure to contaminants.
Barrow’s Goldeneye is listed in the Species at Risk Act as a species of special concern, and the bag and possession limit of 1 remains in place.
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.
Open seasons table
|Area||Waterfowler heritage Day
Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks) and geese
|Open seasons in Nova Scotia
Ducks (other than Harlequin Ducks, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, eiders, scoters, Goldeneyes, and Buffleheads)
|Open seasons in Nova Scotia
Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, eiders, scoters, Goldeneyes, and Buffleheads
|Open seasons in Nova Scotia
|Open seasons in Nova Scotia
Woodcock and snipe
|Zone No. 1 a||Sept. 15, 2018||Oct. 1, 2018 to Jan.7, 2019||Oct. 1, 2018 to Jan. 7, 2019||Sept. 4 to Sept. 18, 2018, and Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018||Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018|
|Zone No. 2 b||Sept. 15, 2018||Oct. 8, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Oct. 8, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Sept. 4 to Sept. 24, 2018, and Oct. 22, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018|
|Zone No. 3 c||Sept. 15, 2018||Oct. 8, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Oct. 8, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Sept. 4 to Sept. 24, 2018, and Oct. 22, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019||Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018|
a “Zone No. 1” means the counties of Antigonish, Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland, Hants, Kings and Annapolis.
b “Zone No. 2” means the counties of Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Halifax, Guysborough, Cape Breton, Victoria, Inverness and Richmond, except the area described under Zoone No. 3.
c “Zone No. 3” means Bras d’Or Lake and all waters draining into Bras d’Or Lake including waters on the lake side of the highway bridge on Great Bras d’Or at Seal Islands (Highway No. 105), at St. Peters on St. Peters Inlet (Highway No. 4) and at Bras d’Or on St. Andrews Channel (Highway No. 105).
Bag and possession limits table
|Limits||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 d||5 f||5 h, i||8||10|
|Possession||18 e||10 g||16||16||20|
d Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye. In Zone No. 1, during the period beginning on December 1, 2018 and ending on January 7, 2019, and in Zone No. 2 and Zone No. 3, during the period beginning on December 8, 2018 and ending on January 15, 2019, not more than 4 may be American Black Ducks.
e Not more than 1 may be Barrow’s Goldeneye.
f Not more than 4 scoters or 4 eiders may be taken daily.
g Not more than 8 scoters or 8 eiders may be possessed.
h In Zone No. 1, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 4 to September 18, 2018.
i In Zone No. 2 and Zone No. 3, up to 3 additional Canada Geese or Cackling Geese, or any combination of them, may be taken daily from September 4 to September 24, 2018.
Report your migratory bird bands
Call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or go to the Report a bird with a Federal Band or Color Marker website.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
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