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Hunting laws in Canada

Hunting is a livelihood for some people in Canada and a sport for others. However, our government is concerned with preserving wildlife while also allowing those who make a living off hunting to be allowed to do so and regulating hunting who do so for recreational purposes.

Hunting rights for native people in Canada

In Canada, hunting for food or to make a livelihood is allowed for indigenous peoples who got the right to hunt in exchange for giving up land to the Crown. However, these rights can vary from province to province and even native people face restrictions when hunting and also have to follow conditions or restrictions when hunting, though they often have fewer restrictions than others.

Which laws regulate hunting in Canada?

Hunting is provincially regulated in Canada. This means every province and territory has its own rules and regulations regarding how, what and when certain wildlife may be hunted.

For example, the Regulations Summary Yukon Hunting not only sets out requirements for the territory but it also explains the ways someone hunting for wildlife is allowed to do so, and which wildlife the person is allowed to hunt.

Within those regulations, the guide points out, for instance, that it is unlawful to waste the meat of small game, such as a snowshoe hare or ground squirrel, because they are a valued food source in the tradition of First Nations people.

The guide also explains how to kill the animal they are hunting in the quickest and most humane way possible in order to prevent wounding losses. Furthermore, the guide warns that only male moose may be hunted and that “everyone who harvests a moose must report the kill to an Environment Yukon office no later than 15 days after the end of the month in which the moose was killed or upon the request of a Conservation Officer.”

The above is only a small sample of the regulations found in the Yukon guide.

In other provinces, regulations may vary a bit, though there are similarities.

For example, in Ontario the regulations make it mandatory to report hunter and harvest reporting for hunted wildlife including: moose, wild turkey, elk, white-tailed deer, black bear, wolf and coyote and snapping turtle.

In the Ontario Hunting Regulations, there is an entire section devoted to wild turkey regulations, which includes having to go through an Ontario Wild Turkey Hunter Education Course, as well as pass the exam.

In contrast, in the Yukon guide, wild turkeys aren’t even mentioned. This illustrates that particular wildlife or game may have particular hunting rules attached to them of which hunters must be aware.

If I am not a Canadian resident and I want to hunt in Canada, what should I know?

Every province and territory also sets its own rules about hunting for Canadians who reside in other provinces or non-residents of Canada. It’s up to the hunter to ensure they are aware of the rules and regulations before going to a certain Canadian province or territory to hunt. There are often guides/outfitters who offer their services that are able to guide people who come to a province for hunting purposes. For hunting of certain wildlife, certain provinces require that a guide/outfitter be hired.

Should you want to go hunting in a Canadian province you should consult the appropriate government websites which contain guides to hunting regulations or else hire a guide who is familiar with provincial or territorial laws.

Read more:

Yukon hunting regulations

2018 Hunting Regulations Summary - Ontario