Welcome to the Ask the CO FAQ

Please note that the comments posted here are an opinion based on the CO's interpretation of the question posed. Under varying circumstances outcomes may be different, and the contents of this page should not be seen as definitive.

GAME


Question 187:

I understand that in 2005, we can hunt wild turkey from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset and that a taken bird must be presented at a registration station by noon the following day. If I take a bird at, say, 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday and the accessible registration stations close at 5:00 p.m. and don't reopen until Monday morning, can I take my bird in on Monday morning or must I avoid hunting late on a Saturday?

Asked April 17, 2005

Answer from the MNR

The first thing we need to clarify is that the new “extended-day” for wild turkey hunting is from ˝ hour before sunrise until 7:00PM and NOT until ˝ hour after sunset. This new change is noted in the 2005 Hunting Regulations Summary (pages 4 and 28)

You are correct that a bird must be registered by noon following the day of kill. The bird may be registered at any one of over one hundred designated check stations. More than 70% of these check stations are open on Sunday, so this should ensure that you can get your bird registered. Note: all check stations may not be open 7 days a week (or may be closed on statutory holidays), so you need to ensure that you have access to a check station that will be open before you head out hunting or harvest your bird.

You can find a list of all the wild turkey check stations at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/fwmenu.html Scroll down this page to find the “hunting “area and click the link to the check station list. Facility hours, location, and directions are posted as well.

Have a great hunt!


Question 186:

If I shoot a deer 5 or 10 minutes before the legal half hour after sunset. I usually wait a half hour to allow the animal to lye down and die (to cut down any chance of pushing the deer). It is my understanding that by the definition of hunting, I would not be allowed to pursue, follow after, search for etc. that evening because one can not hunt between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise. My question is what happens if this was Saturday afternoon the last day of the season. Now I have a problem. I can not track the deer that afternoon or on Sunday. Would you comment on this situation please?

Asked March 22, 2005

Answer from the MNR

You are correct in your interpretation. If you wound an animal and cannot locate and dispatch that animal during the legal hunting hours, you cannot continue to hunt the animal after the legal hunting hours (normally ˝ hour after sunset to ˝ hour before sunrise).

In the scenario which you have suggested, it would be an offence to continue to hunt beyond the close of the season.

However, if you had made a clean killing shot and were merely recovering an animal that you had killed during the legal hunting hours, you would be permitted to do so - as long as you ensured that your firearms were encased as required by law. I would even suggest that you might want to return your firearms to your house, camp or vehicle before you undertake your search, so that there is no misunderstanding as to what you are doing, should you be checked by an officer.

If the animal was wounded and not killed, then chances are that it would eventually die and be eaten by scavengers. You could not continue to hunt and kill this animal unless you had contacted an officer who authorized you to do so.

Clearly, then, you should be very aware of the consequences of making a poor shot at an animal at the end of a day or season. Chances are that animal’s life will be wasted and that is not what good hunting ethics are all about.


Question 185:

I was just wondering if you could tell me what the rights of a native hunter are. I kept hearing different things and I just want to know for sure.

Asked January 4, 2005

Answer from the MNR

This is an extremely complex area of the law and there are literally libraries full of case law and other materials pertinent to the issues of native rights. It is extremely difficult to capture or describe exactly what a native persons rights may or may not be in this forum because the answers are very dependent upon the facts of each case. Are we talking about a treaty right or an aboriginal right? Is a treaty area or a traditional harvest area involved? Is the person First Nation or Metis? Is the harvesting for traditional, ceremonial, subsistence or commercial purposes? Does the applicable treaty exempt them or even speak to the use of the resources? Are there safety or conservation issues which may override the aboriginal rights? And on and on...

Both treaty and aboriginal rights are guaranteed under the Constitution Act of Canada, 1982, and have been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in many cases. Generally, a First Nation person may exercise their rights in their treaty or traditional area if they are harvesting for personal or ceremonial uses. Generally they are not restricted by seasons, limits, or licencing restrictions. These rights generally may not be “shared” with a non-native – a non-native person will not have any right to hunt outside the normal regulations because they are hunting with an aboriginal person. Aboriginal rights generally do not apply on private property. Of course, all of these are generalizations and as suggested, may vary depending upon the answers to the questions above on a case by case basis.

In order for you to know “for sure” what native rights are in your area and under what conditions, you should seek the counsel of a lawyer who is specialized in aboriginal law for the area in question.


Question 184:

I have heard that with the 21 day limit on crown land camping, the limit applie to the year and not the campsite. For example if I camp at Lake X for 21 days, I cannot move my setup to Lake Y for another 21 days, I must not camp on crown land again that year. Is this true?

Asked July 10, 2004

Answer from the MNR

You are correct. You can only camp on Crown land for a maximum of 21 days in one calendar year regardles of where you camp. This only applies to Canadian residents north of the French and Mattawa Rivers.


Question 183:

Wild deer rescued by me: She is a 3 year old female, I found her on my land and she was in need of help. So naturally I took care of her. Of course the game warden was aware of this. The deer is free in the wild but she comes and goes as she pleases. I had a few words exchange with the wardens (2 wardens and one of their helpers). They are keeping a very close eye on me while I am with my deer. Am I breaking any laws here? I am asking because a friend of mine recieved a fine and has to appear in court for doing the same thing I am doing. His deer went in his barn but wasn't held captive, he was free to go as he wished (like mine) and somebody reported him. The day after the game wardens went back and tranquilized the deer to relocate it. As you can imagine the family was heartbroken. When the animal may come and go as it pleases ,what is so wrong with this? I got wind that the game wardens will be paying me a visit also so I need to know, what could I be looking at? I live in the eastern townships of Quebec, I am not aware of the laws here. Given my situation what could they do?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Since we are the Ontario MNR and you live in Quebec I would contact your provincial agency responsible for wildlife management and enforcement.


Question 182:

Hamilton Wentworth: What is the law about using a shotgun in the are around waterdown? Are you allowed to shoot south of the 5 th con. east the area I was wondering about is north of the 4th con and south of the 5th.

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The MNR does not have any specific hunting regulations of this type for that area. I would be concerned about discharging a firearm within the town limits. I would suggest you contact the municipal office of local police agency.


Question 181:

May I shoot an exotic deer that is on my property (must have got loose from a local game farm)? If so, may I use a rifle (even in a shotgun only zone), and "out of season" for whitetails?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The Criminal Code of Canada states that a person who keeps a wild animal in captivity shall be deemed to have a special property interest in it while it is in captivity and after it has escaped from captivity. If you take something from another person who has a special property interest, you are committing theft. Treat this animal as if you would a neighbour’s horse or cattle. Do not shoot any escaped wildlife unless you have been given clear permission by the owner. I would strongly suggest you contact your nearest Ministry of Natural Resources office for specific clarification.


Question 180:

I ran into a CO today in the bush. I was with my brother and we each had a .410 shotgun and appropriate licences. However, we had a rifle which was registered to me and my brother had the only valid moose licence in the bush. I have a moose licence, but did not have my sticker on my card. I am being fined for failing to produce a licence. As there was only one rifle.... is this not OK? I figured as long as we had one licence with one rifle in the vehicle, this would be satisfactory. We were out bird hunting, our .410's were out why would we have to each have our tags? Could you explain to me furthur why I am being charged, I don't understand.

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

This site is not to second guess the decisions made by CO’s in the field. I would suggest contacting the officer who laid the charge or the Justice of the Peace for clarification.


Question 179:

I am looking for public areas, in Ontario, where hunting is allowed. I have contacted MNR in Aurora, however had a difficult time locating any such area. They won't provide answers unless specifiaclly asked for certain area i.e. Holland Marsh e.t.c. Most of the information I could gether is by word. Could you possible provide me assistance and let me know of any public hunting (Crown Land, WMU...) areas within 300 km radius from Toronto. Since your organization is enforcing hunting regulation in Ontario, I am hopping such information is at your disposal.

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

I will unfortunately give you the same response. This is difficult for me to address without knowing exactly where you want to hunt. I would suggest contacting the Ministry of Natural Resources Offices in Aurora (905-713-7400), Guelph (519-826-4955) or Midhurst (705-725-7500).

Further away there is a greater amount of Crown land in the Bancroft and Parry Sound districts. While Crown land hunting opportunities is limited in southern Ontario compared northern Ontario, there are literally hundreds of thousands of hectares of public land within 300 km of the GTA.


Question 178:

Ignace Region, Hwy 599: Does the law for discharging a firearm from a roadside differ in Northern Ontario? A CO informed me that, I could shoot parallel to the road: Is this correct?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes, you have been informed correctly. In northern Ontario (including the Ignace area) you can shoot parallel to a road. You must be off the travelled portion of the road and cannot shoot down or across the road. Safety is the reason behind these regulations. Keep in mind if you were to shoot parallel to the road with a curve ahead, there is the potential for you to shoot at vehicles or pedestrians. In these circumstances, if you were lucky (i.e., you did not hit a person or vehicle) your bullet would cross the road and you would be committing an offence.


Question 177:

I want to become a Conservation officer and I live in Toronto. What courses/schools in toronto give you the skills I would need to become a CO? also what is the employment rate for CO's in Ontario. also can you giv me some telephone numbers and websites that might be able to help me. I know about sir fleming college but are their any other places?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

See question #70 under Fish.


Question 176:

My question is in regards to the SCC decision to grant Metis' traditional hunting rights. I know in Sault Ste Marie ON alone, there are currently 900 potential Metis hunters. I know that this years draw results, tags and limits are not affected, however my question is what is the MNR's plan to help protect the our natural resources. I feel that in todays society only a limited number of people acctually depend on natural resources for food. Hunting/Fishing equipment has now gotten to a level where the success rates are much higher then in the past. Is it fair to gamble our natural resources on decisions made by the SCC?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The SCC makes decisions on merits of individual court cases by examining the facts. The results of some of these decisions do indirectly affect the way the government must manage natural resources.

Check #73 in the Fish summary


Question 175:

My question is what the population of deer on the island. I was told that a survey was done and there are 21000 deer's on the island, and that the island can only hold 14000. Is that true, if so why dont they give out supplement tag's to the property owners. That way there are less chances that deer will get diseases.

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to Espanola area office of the MNR assuming you are referring to Manitoulin Island You may also want to send your question to the Ask the Biologist site.


Question 174:

Do i need my registration certificate to carry my gun in the 2003 hunting season? also I have registered but lost my paper work, where can i get a duplicate?

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

This is not the MNR’s mandate. I would suggest you contact the Canadian Firearms Centre at http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/. or by calling toll free at 1-800-731-4000. See also Game question #3


Question 173:

Looking for Thames River hunting regulations. Have landowner permission need municipal or provincial restrictions. In particular Thames Rive east of Hwy 73, Dorchester!

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Your question is much too broad. You can find all you need to know about the hunting regulations in the Hunting Regulations Summary (Fall 2003-Spring 2004) wherever hunting licences are sold. You can also access them online at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/hunting/huntRegs/2003/hr2003.pdf.


Question 172:

If out hunting grouse can I carry slugs for bear?

Asked November 15, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes you can as long as you have a bear licence and there is an open season for bear. Remember, that during the open season for bear, if you are bear hunting and not in a tree stand you must wear hunter orange.


Question 171:

Hi. Just to clarify - I have taken the stance with a couple of other hunters that party hunting for waterfowl is not permitted. Each person in the party is permitted to shoot their daily limit but not fill out someone else's in the group once they've finished their own. Am I right on this?

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

I hope you put money on it because you are correct! Check out question 110 under FAQ/Game


Question 170:

Would a trigger lock be an acceptable lock on a lever action rifle?

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. The firearms laws are not the mandate of the MNR. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to The Canadian Firearms Centre at http://www.cfc.gc.ca/.


Question 169:

How does one become an outfitter in the province of Ontario and how then does he/she qualify for adult moose tags for their clients? My search so far has run into all kinds of dead ends and bogus leads! What I am trying to do is supply out of province business associates with a chance to hunt with me this fall. I look forward to your reply...

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

I’m a little confused here. I understand your main interest it to provide hunting opportunities for your out of province associates and becoming a bona fide tourist outfitter secondary. If they want to hunt moose the rules a more stringent. They would have to register with a tourist outfitter who will provide them with accommodation and adult validation tags as part of their hunting package. Check with the tourist outfitters in the area you wish to hunt.

Becoming a new tourist outfitter can be difficult especially if you want to get moose tags. Most people in this situation will purchase an established business that already has tags. The Big Game Management Advisory Committee and the Ontario Moose/Bear Allocation Advisory Committee are involved with the management of big game and the issuing of moose tags to tourist outfitters. It is based on a points system. I would suggest you contact a biologist at your local MNR office to further discuss this. I would also contact the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters. They are a wealth of knowledge in this area.


Question 168:

Here in Northern Ontario, some of the forestry industries use herbicide aerial spraying to control competing vegetation. Does this spraying effect the feed for the moose in the area? I have noticed for a few years now that once spraying takes place,the moose definately do not hang around some of the areas they used to.

Not only for moose, but this spraying can't be good for any of the other animals can it. The stuff is in a sense poison.

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (English) or 1-800-667-1840 (French). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.

You may also want to send your question to the "Ask the Biologist" site.


Question 167:

Is it legal to start a bear bait station before the opening of bear season in that unit??

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

See question 35 under FAQ/Game


Question 166:

I am hoping that you can help me, I am interested in helping with the forest fighting. As far as experience in this area, I do not have any. When you look at my qualifications I have sixteen plus years experience as a Shipper/ Receiver. Have also helped out Wal-Mart and Zellers do renovations to a couple of their stores. Would I need training before I had a chance to contribute, or would what ever body organizing the forest fire fighting do the training.

I am eager and any information that you can share with me would mean a lot.

By the way Regina is where that I am writing you from, for quit a while I have wanted to relocate to the greater Toronto area.

Asked August 26, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (English) or 1-800-667-1840 (French). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.

More specifically if you are interested in becoming a member of an MNR fire crew you should contact an MNR district office. They do the hiring in the early spring before the fire season. Most MNR fire crews are based outside of the Greater Toronto Area.


Question 165:

Is it legal to use ferrets for rabbit hunting in ontario. I've heard alot of people say there illeagal but there are a few that say you can use them. I was wondering if you could clear this up.

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

It is illegal to use a ferret to hunt in Ontario.


Question 164:

I am interested in training my dogs on a friend of mine 10 acre farm just north of toronto. My question is can I train with pigeons and or quail. I will not be shooting the birds or useing a gun other then a cap gun to simulate a shoot. If yes are there any limitations or rules and guidlines to what I want to do.

Asked August 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

See Q & A #57 under FAQ/Game for the reply.


Question 163:

I don't have hunting license and I don't hunt and I am not interested in hunting. I am a licensed gun owner and I would like to go plinking in the wilderness with my nonrestricted rimfire carabine, centerfire rifle and shootgun.

I want to know the following:

1. If I find a safe location such as a hill slope or a deep pit that is located on Crown's property, would I be able to just bring my guns and cans ( of course, I'll pick them up aftewards) and plink them?

2. Would I be asked to show an Outdoors Card with hunting rights if approached by CO or PO ? How can I "safely" indicate that I am just plinking not hunting?

3. Where can I find the calliber restrictions for certain areas ? Is there are any publication (map) that shows calliber restrictions?

Asked April 23, 2003

Answer from the MNR

1. It is legal to target shoot on Crown land without a hunting licence. Of course the officer will have to believe that you are not hunting. I would suggest you plink as close to home as possible.

2. Section 109 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 states that: In a prosecution under this Act in respect of hunting or trapping, (a) proof that a person possessed, in an area usually inhabited by wildlife, a firearm, trap, decoy or other hunting or trapping device, a ferret or a specially protected raptor or other bird of prey, is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the person was hunting or trapping, as the case may be….

In other words, the onus is upon you to prove that you were NOT hunting. The CO or PO would ask why you have firearms and it will be officer discretion. You likely would get asked for a hunting licence and why you have firearms. Refer to '2' above.

3. Check the 2003 Hunting Regulations Summary. They are available at no charge at most tackle shops and some Canadian Tire stores or check online at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html

If you still feel unsure about going target practising you might want to call you closest MNR office and advise a CO where and when you'll be out plinking.


Question 162:

I have been reading about DCOs lately and have even contacted my local conservation officer and posed a few questions. I did however forget to ask him one. If a person gets sponsored to become a DCO and completes the course, do they still require the 2 year college diploma to become a CO? I have a 2 year diploma, but it is not from the listed schools on the OCOA site

Asked April 23, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The Ministry did away with credentialism for CO's a number of years ago. You do not have to have post secondary to bid on CO positions. Having said that I don't know of any full time CO's that don't have at least two years of college. Many have 3 years of college or more and some have university degrees. Your best course of action is to try and find work with the MNR to gain experience.


Question 161:

I appreciate the information you publish on this site. Thanks for sharing your expertise. However, I think that you have not been too helpful in answering questions #146, 144 and 77. The fact is that some of us hunt by canoe or on foot, and cannot move a deer, moose or bear carcass out of the bush. We must de-bone all the meat and pack it out, leaving the carcass behind. How can this be done within the law?

Asked April 23, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The law hasn't changed and we are still bound to enforce the regulations as described in questions 77, 144 and 146. The intent of the legislation is to help ensure that the animal that you may be transporting when you are checked by an officer is one to which you may be entitled to take.

The hunting regulation made pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 states that

17. (1) The holder of a licence who has killed a moose, deer, bear or wild turkey shall, (a) immediately after the kill and at the site of the kill attach the seal provided with the licence or licence tag to the game wildlife in the manner indicated on the seal; and
(b) keep the seal attached to the game wildlife while being transported and, in the case of wild turkey, keep the seal attached to the wild turkey until it is prepared for consumption. O. Reg. 665/98, s. 17 (1).

If you look at the various seals, they will tell you when and where the seal must be attached. i.e, on the antler or ear in the case of a deer, though the nose in the case if a bear, through the jaw of a calf moose and through the tendon of the leg with the sex organs attached in the case of an adult moose.

In all cases, the seal must remain attached while the animal is being transported. This does not preclude you from de-boning your animal, but you would still have to bring out the appropriate piece of the animal where the tag is affixed. Generally, to save yourself from any issues when being checked by an officer, I would suggest that this would mean the

• head of a bear or deer,
• the intact jaw of a calf moose
• in the case of an adult moose, the portion of the leg with the tendon along with connective tissue and/or hide which connects to and including the scrotal sac or vulva, as the case may be.

If you were to get checked while packing out your meat you have to prove it's a bull, cow, or antlered or antlerless deer depending on what type of licence/tags you have. Officers do have discretion but common sense always prevails. The intent of this law is to prevent hunters from shooting a cow for example and tagging it as a bull or calf. Without the head or sex parts it is impossible for an officer to discern in the field.


Question 160:

Is it illegal to spot light for deer or moose at night if you don't have a weapon in your possession?

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Generally, it is legal to spot deer or moose at night as long as you don't have any firearms in your possession. However, "hunting" in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act includes "searching for,…," or if the animal is "injured,…,or harrassed" as a result of your actions. Therefore you could be charged with night hunting if it is deemed that you harassed or injured the animal in question by virtue of your activity.


Question 159:

I wish to pursue a career as a Conservation Officer but am concerned about the prospect of finding a job. I am almost finished a University degree in Criminology but I am going to take the natural resource technician program. I love hunting, trapping, and fishing and know i can't work in a job that keeps me at a desk every single day. My father spent his entire career with the MNR and it is clearly what i want to do to have an enjoyable job, and help protect our resources from the minority that choose to abuse them. I know i will do extremely well in the program, but what i am wondering is if top marks, a sincere desire for the job, and a dedicated attitude will give me a reasonable shot at employment. Any enlightenment you could provide would be much appreciated.

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes, your attributes will give you a reasonable shot at employment as a CO. Most of the CO's in Ontario went to Sir Sanford Fleming, Sault College, or Algonquin College. Some took the two year technician course and some went on to take the 3rd year law course at SSFC. Some have university degrees in biology, geography, environmental science and I know of one officer with a criminology degree. Once you are finished your education it will be imperative to gain contract work with the MNR as soon as possible. We have offices spread all over the province so you need to try and keep an open mind about leaving home to seek work. Most officers seem to start in smaller towns, often up north. I would encourage you to speak with a local CO to discuss job opportunities. I would also advise you to visit http://www.ocoa.ca to assist you with some decisions. Good luck, I can assure you it's a rewarding field to get into and jobs are showing up on the job board regularly.


Question 158:

While deer hunting in our shotgun only area, can we carry bird shot in our pocket so that we can shoot a grouse if we see one. This has caused great debate over the years and I have tried to locate an answer. Thanks for your time in answering.

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes you can, presuming there is an open season and you are properly licenced for small game.


Question 157:

I have a question regarding the answer to question 14. I may bit a little slow to understand but it seemed like there is some discrepancy in the laws...or better said, in my understanding of them. The question was asked early and confirmed that you may in fact carry two fireams with you at one time. You are out with a youth hunter with his proper apprenticeship licensing. I thought the law said that there is to be one gun shared between the two. Does this mean that while you are supervising the youth that you are not allowed to carry a second firearm?

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

You are correct. If you are out hunting alone you can carry all the firearms you like as long as you are licenced for and there is an open season for your calibre/guage of firearm. There are exceptions to this rule when hunting migratory birds. When accompanying an apprentiship hunter you can only share one firearm between the two of you. This applies until he/she turns 15 and purchases his/her own Outdoors Card and hunting licence.


Question 156:

I live very near a court house, and often see Conservation Officers attending court dates. I have also seen Canadian Wildlife Service and Fisheries Officers around too. I was wondering why there are federal officers enforcing fish and game laws in Ontario when Conservation Officers enforce both federal and provincial legislation regarding fish and wildlife as a matter of their normal duties. Are there particular jurisdictions they have in the province that CO's do not?

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes you are correct. Some resource laws are federal and some are provincial legislation. This stems from the divison of federal and provincial powers under the Constitution Act. Ontario Conservation Officers do have authority under a few federal statutes, but are not appointed as officers under others. Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) Game Officers are federally appointed officers and mainly enforce such legislation as the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRITA). This act assists officers investigating the illegal importing and exporting of wild animals. CWS officers also enforce the Migratory Birds Convention legislation,the Canada Wildlife Act and the new federal Species at Risk Act to name a few. Ontario Conservation Officers do actively enforce the Migratory Birds Convention Act and regulations but are not appointed as officers under WAPPRITTA for example.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officers spend the bulk of their time enforcing the habitat provisions under Fisheries Act which is federal legislation. MNR Conservation Officers work more with the fishing provisions of the Fisheries Act and Ontario Fishery Regulations. This is all done under a Memorandum of Understanding regarding compliance issues between the federal and provincial governments.


Question 155:

I purchased 100 acres of land in Niagara a couple of years ago, 50 acres of the land is hardwood bush. I have spent considerable time and money enhancing these lands for wildlife. I have been working with a biologist and the Niagara Region Conservation Authority following there suggestions to improve the site. The problem I am having is hunters trespassing and shooting the game, even though I have posted the property with "No Hunting or Trespassing" signs about every 50 feet. I know this was an area that has been hunted for some time as I see empty shotgun shells all over the bush. I talked with the person I purchased the property from, who owned it for over 25 years and he said he never gave anyone permission to hunt it. I have approached these people in a very civil manner, because they could be my neighbours, but in every case they did not live in the area. When I ask them to leave, I get verbal abuse, they say they have hunted here for years and have permission ! from the owner. When I ask them who the owner is they just try to walk away, I then inform them that I am the owner and to please leave. Some do, but most say they are just going to pass through and won't come back, but they always do. I want to know what I can do about this, I have called the Police, but by the time they respond, if at all, these people are gone. This goes on at least twice a week during the fall, I have called the Ministry Office in Vineland and they tell me to call the Police. Even when I have obtained licence plate numbers I don't think anything is done, once I give it to the Police I never hear anything back, and then I will see the same hunters a few weeks later. I don't have anything against hunters, I have hunted for 50 years and at times I hunt my own property, but I am sick and tired of people trespassing. If it hadn't been for all this trespassing, if someone acually came and asked permission to hunt I wouldn't have minded, I beleive land should be ! shared, but not any more! Is it possible for me to lay charges against these people, what can I do?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

We will respond to fishing and hunting related trespass complaints if we have the ability to respond. We do encourage complainants to also call local police services as they are usually better resourced and capable of responding quicker than we are. The more information you collect the better it will be for officers in fully investigate the matter. We encourage landowners to engage the trespasser and ask them to leave. Often they do not want charges laid.

The occupier of the premises is entitled to exercise the powers given by the Trespass to Property Act as do police officers.

A police officer, or the occupier of premises, or a person authorized by the occupier may arrest without warrant any person he or she believes on reasonable and probable grounds to be on the premises.

Where the person who makes an arrest is not a police officer, he or she shall promptly call for the assistance of a police officer and give the person arrested into the custody of the police officer.

If the trespasser refuses to comply with the direction to leave, or if the occupier thinks a prosecution is necessary because of resulting damage or the possibility of recurring trespass, then the occupier may consider laying charges. To do so, the occupier will need to obtain the entrant's name and address. The occupier should also record the facts surrounding the incident, date, time, witnesses, if any, and the conduct of both parties. This record will be helpful in refreshing the occupier's memory of the event when the matter comes to trial. Once the identity and address of the trespasser are known, the complainant may lay an "information" before a local justice of the peace under oath. This is rarely done by members of the public.


Question 154:

Is a sling shot classified as a firearm Or can I use a sling shot for Grouse?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

A sling shot isn't considered a firearm under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. You can use it to hunt grouse as long as you have a current small game licence and follow the seasons and limits. The usual laws still apply.


Question 153:

If rumours of the cougar release in Lanark County are false, is the Ministry aware of any significant presence of such a dangerous animal in this area? If so, how did they get here? and what is being done to inform the public of possible threats?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (english) or 1-800-667-1840 (french). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.


Question 152:

I received a call from a client asking if it was legal to use a deer decoy while deer hunting. I can find nowhere that says you cannot and by virtue of this, I think you can. Would you clarify for me?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

You are correct. I would only caution you to use extreme caution with hunter safety in mind. Always picture some other hunter coming to your location from any angle (perhaps tresspassing) and shooting your deer decoy. Always be cognizant of the decoy's background from 360 degrees.


Question 151:

I've read over the regs numerous times and I've heard what the kids are being taught but I'm still not clear on it. A minor or hunting apprentice age 12-14 has to share a singal firearm with the mentor. Does this mean that the mentor can only carry 1 firearm or can he be in possession of 2 or more?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Yes you are correct. The apprentice must share a single firearm with the mentor.


Question 150:

I am 21 years old, and am currently enrolled in the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Technician Program Co-op for 2 years, and then plan to go into the Natural Resources Law Enforcement at SSFC in Lindsay, my home town.

Now, as a female, I would like to know the amount of female CO's there are, and if there is much job security foreseen in the future. I would like any information possible about becoming a CO.

I thoroughly admire the job of the conservation officer, and would love to learn about it. I would appreciate any information.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

You've made a good choice about school programs to follow. Many of our CO's have taken the third year Natural program at SSFC, although the job requirement only calls for a resource technician diploma. In the MNR we have approximately ten female CO's. We also have a number of female Deputy CO's. To date CO's have had good job security and I expect that to remain constant in the future. You can find a wealth of information at the Ontario Conservation Officer's website at www.ocoa.ca. Good luck in your career.


Question 149:

I have a friend who has his hunting license although does not currently posses a firearms license. He intends to come to our deer camp although can obviously not hunt in the traditional sense. Can he participate in a deer drive? As I read the regulations, if he participates in a deer drive, he is considered to be hunting. Is that correct? If so, he would need to buy a deer license. Is that correct? If he was participating in the drive and possesed a deer license, could we use his deer tag to dag a deer shot?

Any information you could provide on the above subject would be appreciated.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Yes you are correct. If a person is involved in a deer drive he will have to possess a current deer licence even if he doesn't have a firearm or cannot use one. If he had a licence while on the drive you could use his seal as long as the shooter is actively involved in the hunt as a member of the party.


Question 148:

I will be moose hunting this fall and enjoy taking some partridge home for the winter months. I am never sure what the allowable limit is when I have been hunting for a week and now returning home. Should this be considered as a daily bag limit restriction or can I add the number of days not to exceed total possession limit?

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The limit for grouse is five per day up to a maximum of fifteen in your possession. This is a combined limit including both ruffed and spruce grouse.

The limit for sharp-tailed grouse and ptarmigan is five sharps and five ptarmigan per day or fifteen sharps and fifteen ptarmigans in your possession.

If you have a season for Hungarian partridge in your area the limits are eight per day with a possession limit of sixteen.


Question 147:

I understand that it is necessary to obtain landowner permission when hunting on private land. However, what is the law regarding hunting on navigable rivers surrounded by private land? I know that the landowners do not own the river itself. For example, can I hunt ducks while paddling down the Thames River in SW Ontario without obtaining landowner permission?

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Assuming the river bottom is Crown land and navigable you can hunt ducks while paddling down the Thames River without landowner permission. You may run into tresspassing issues if a crippled duck ends up on private property. I would also be cognizant of any local by-laws regarding restrictions on discharging of firearms within town/city limits.

See also question 170 under FAQ/fish.


Question 146:

If you have to quarter a moose deep in the bush, and can't get a 4 wheeler to it, and you want to de-bone it on the spot.(to make a lighter load)what then do you do with the tag. As it is attached to the cartilage on the back leg, it would just fall off after de-boning. Also i heard that you could be charged for de-breasting grouse.(just removing the breast and throwing the remain's away.) I thank you for your time and will be waiting to here from you.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

See question 77 below for your question about de-boning moose in the bush.

Regarding the grouse question you are not allowed to waste or abandon flesh suitable for food and the legs of a grouse are definitely suitable for food, so you could be charged for throwing away the legs.


Question 145:

I have a deer tag for WMU 89 and a second deer tag for WMU 88. I am invited to deer hunt up in WMU 56. Can I use my 89 tag for 56 or Do I have to buy another tag for 56. Note I will be bowhunting in all WMU's.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Your original deer licence is valid for hunting antlered deer through the entire province. (Subject to Controlled deer hunt limitations).

A validation tag for antlerless deer is only valid for the WMU in which it was issued. Therefore you could hunt antlered deer in WMU 56. You could also hunt in WMU 89 subject to the conditions on your validation tag.

A second deer tag is only valid in the WMU for which it is issued and subject to the conditions under which it was issued.

Controlled hunts are area-specific and often have their own regulations. Some controlled hunts even issue multiple tags. However, controlled hunt validation tags are specific to WMU's and are a separate process from the province wide antlerless deer validation tag process.


Question 144:

I would like to know what the legalities are surrounding the processing of game in the field. Being that I will be hunting on foot, some distance from the road with no motorized assistance, can I tag my deer or moose as per regulations, and then proceed to remove the meat from the bones, thus leaving all inedible parts in the bush? I'd hate to have to drag all the weight from the bones and hide, if I can leave it there.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

See question 77 below.


Question 143:

Will Conservation Officers be checking for Registration of firearms, and Firearms licences this year (2002)?

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Conservation Officers will not be checking this information as a matter of routine business. However, during the course of certain investigations where firearms are involved we may want to verify this information on a case by case basis.

Also check question 3 below.


Question 142:

Is it legal to hunt small game on Sundays using a pellet gun, or is a pellet gun considered to be a firearm and therefore not legal to use?

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

You cannot use a pellet gun to hunt small game on Sundays in the areas where Sunday hunting is prohibited. In these areas, the only firearm which may be carried or used, for the purpose of hunting, is a long bow or a cross bow.

A pellet gun is considered a firearm under the Fish and Wildlife Conserservation Act (MNR legislation) but is not considered a firearm under the Criminal Code if the pellet travels less than 500 feet per second.


Question 141:

We are wondering what rules as far as securing guns apply at a wilderness hunt camp. whenever we go back to camp at night or at lunch we leave our guns outside on a rack with no trigger locks also when we go out to hunt,any extra guns are left at camp without trigger locks and we never lock our camp during hunting season for safety reasons, eg lost hunters ect. Is what we are doing legal or do we have to trigger lock our guns.

Asked September 25, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Your questions are concerning the federal Firearms Act legislation and should be directed to the firearms officer at:
http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/en/default.asp

While conservation officers may incidentally enforce the Firearms Act by virtue of their being Peace Officers, it is not a part of the MNR mandate to enforce this statute. This web site is only intended to clarify and answer questions about statutes which are within the MNR's mandate.


Question 140:

I have heard that with the 21 day limit on crown land camping, the limit applie to the year and not the campsite. For example if I camp at Lake X for 21 days, I cannot move my setup to Lake Y for another 21 days, I must not camp on crown land again that year. Is this true?

Asked July 23, 2002

Answer from the MNR (updated May 2003)

The Public Lands Act regulates the placing of things, including camping equipment and gear, on public (i.e Crown) land in Ontario. MNR has for a number of years allowed through policy that some things may be placed on Crown land without approval. The MNR has recently revised this policy. The amended policy now states that a person may camp on Crown land, without land use authority, permission or paying a fee, as long as:

• an individual site is occupied for no more than 21 days in a calendar year,
• after 21 days, the camping unit moves a minimum 100 metres to a new camp site, and
• the sites are not posted with signs prohibiting camping

The above policy does not apply to non-resident campers over the age of 18 years old who camp on Crown land in northern Ontario (i.e., north of the French and Mattawa Rivers). Those campers must apply for and purchase a Crown land camping permit for each night that they camp on Crown land in northern Ontario. This requirement is detailed in Ontario Regulation 326/94 made under the Public Lands Act.

However, some Crown lands may have restricted travel zones for forest fire prevention, officially closed forest access roads and areas posted with signs to prohibit all or certain kinds of travel.


Question 139:

If it "against the law" to poach protected wildlife, is it not to be expected that the O.P.P. would enforce these laws. Would the striking officers consider this strike-breaking? where does the T.I.P.S. program fit into your field of enforcement? Can poaching activities that are observed be reported through TIPS? These are just some questions that could be answered and put out for public information. Great website,heard about it on CBC today.

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The OPP has the authority to enforce fishing and hunting laws. It is not their mandate but in the course of their duties then can make arrests, lay charges and make seizures etc. In most cases the information is usually gathered and passed on to a Conservation Officer. I would not consider these constables to be strike-breaking since they are not and cannot go on strike.

Members of the public can report hunting and fishing violations to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS the same way you would report a drug deal or break and enter to the police. The more information the better. We like vehicle descriptions, GPS locations and most importantly licence plate numbers with specifics.


Question 138:

Are we allowed to hunt and fish in minesing swamp (in season of course)?

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

This area is managed by the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. You can hunt and fish in this area but the access is restricted as far as vehicles are concerned. I would advise you to contact the CA directly to get any further information.


Question 137:

I was wondering if hunting is allowed in the area around the wilmot creek south of the 401. It's public land open for fishing, and looks like a good spot for rabbits and ducks by lake ontario. Are there any regulations that would prevent me from heading down there with a shotgun when duck season opens?

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Duck hunters access Lake Ontario at the end of Curtis Road. The land along Wilmot Creek is partially owned by the municipality and partly private. There is a small pine plantation south of the 401 frequented by rabbit hunters. Its off Cobbledick Road and is Crown land.

My suggestion would be to contact the by-law officials for that area since you are not generally allowed to discharge firearms within municipalities. If you are on private property you will require written permission from the landowner. You cannot discharge a firearm within 300 m of the high-water mark at the mouth of Wilmot Creek.


Question 136:

I have coon and rabbit hounds. We recently got formal training permits for racoons last year. What is the view of CO's as far as running beagles on rabbits in the off season to keep them in shape for the trials?? I am hoping to sign on as a DCO if I can and would like to make sure that I don't get a charge.

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The views of CO's really do not come into play here. We enforce laws regardless of our feelings towards them. You must have an authorization issued from the local MNR office to conduct dog training and field trials on game mammals and game birds during the closed season. Of course you would require a hunting licence during the open season. I'd advise you to visit your local MNR office to get such a permit.


Question 135:

Most of you are familiar with the use of falcons and hawks to chase away birds from airport runways but are you aware that baiting them and killing them is also practiced by the falconer hired by Transport Canada and by Transport Canada itself.

Well it does happen. This afternoon at the Toronto Island Airport I watched as three (3) Ring-billed Gulls were shot gunned from the sky. After killing one of the birds the body was used (by tossing it up) to attract more gulls (not chase them away) and when a gull was lured in it was killed. This only stopped when the shooter, the falconer and the Transport Canada employee spotted me watching them through my binoculars. The shooter then started to watch me through his own binoculars until probable frustration set in and they all left. This all happened as I took notes and noted times, etc.

You may also be aware that if you or I kill a gull that we are subject to prosecution and a fine and perhaps the 3 men I observed today are also subject to prosecution and fine also. If Transport Canada or the proper wildlife ministry would like to look into this. I do have the Transport Canada vehicle license number and vehicle number and I can identify the 3 men and besides they all were wearing security clearance tags so as to be able to be on airport property so they should be easy to identify.

Asked May 23, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Chances are very probable that the activity which you witnessed took place under a "Damage Permit" which is issued by the Canadian wildlife Service, pursuant to the sections in the Migratory Bird Regulations which state:

"26. (1) A game officer may, with the prior concurrence of the Regional Director, issue to a person who owns, leases or manages an area of land, a permit that describes the area and authorizes that person and his nominees to scare or kill within that area migratory birds that are causing or are likely to cause damage therein."
AND
"26.1 (1) The Minister may, where he has reason to believe that it is necessary to reduce the damage or danger that migratory birds are causing or likely to cause to health, safety, agricultural or other interests in a particular community, issue to a person who owns, leases or manages an area of land in that community, a permit that specifies the area and authorizes the person or his nominee to collect and destroy the eggs of migratory birds specified in the permit and to dispose of the eggs in the manner provided in the permit."

The CWS issues literally hundreds of damage permits annually to airports, golf courses, parks, businesses, residences and others who may need to deal with nuisance or problem wildlife. Some permits are "scare-only", other are "scare and/or kill". The majority of Damage Permits are species specific and are issued for controlling of Gulls or Canada Geese. It is not unlawful for an individual to harass or kill a migratory bird if they have been granted the authorization to do so under a damage permit. To verify whether the individuals that you observed have been authorized under a Damage permit to do the activities which you have described, you may want to contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Burlington at (905) 336-4464.


Question 134:

What is the reasoning for the Ministry to sell calf moose tags over the counter? Is there any other province or state in North America using the same system?

Asked March 4, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (english) or 1-800-667-1840 (french). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca

You may also want to send your question to the "Ask the Biologist" site at:

http://dragon.zoo.utoronto.ca/askMNR/mnrbioquestions.html


Question 133:

I've been going to Quebec the last 4 years to bow hunt for moose within close driving distance of Trois Rivieres and Quebec City. The season includes both bulls and cows and is bow hunting only. With the growing numbers of bow hunters in Ontario why has no cosideration been given for bow hunting only for moose in Southern Ontario?

I live in area 56 and the moose hunt with guns is a farce as well as plain dangerous. Please consider turning areas 53,54 56 and 57 into a longer season for bow hunting only for moose.

Asked March 4, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (english) or 1-800-667-1840 (french). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca

You may also want to send your question to the "Ask the Biologist" site at:

http://dragon.zoo.utoronto.ca/askMNR/mnrbioquestions.html


Question 132:

I shot a mature buck in the shotgun hunt in WMU 69A. It has both antlers broken off from apparently fighting with other deer. Does both antlers have to be 3 inches long or does 1 antler allow it to qualify. Curious for future hunts and tag allocation. Three years ago I shot what would have been a good 8 pointer however one side was broke off, it weighed in at 209 pounds field dressed

Asked February 7, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The regulations state that an "antlerless deer" is defined as a deer that has no antlers, or has antlers both of which are less than 7.5 cm (3") in length. So if it only had one antler and it met the size requirement you could run with that. The monster you shot three years ago would qualify as an anterlered deer because it, too had a single antler greater than 7.5 cm. You might be interested to know that every year very few hunters will shoot does which have antlers greater than 7.5CM. These can be sealed with an antlered deer tag, even though the tags are causally referred to as "buck tags" and "doe tags.


Question 131:

Can I purchase an outdoors card on line? My current card expires at the end of THIS year, and I don't remember how I got it. Will I receive something in the mail automatically, and be able to choose what type of licenses I want to purchase?

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Visit this MNR site: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/fishing/oc6.html
 
It will give you your five options for Outdoors card renewal, including renewal on-line.
 
You should have received a renewal notice with this information over the last Fall/early Winter. Of course, if you have moved since you purchased the card and failed to notify the Outdoors Card Centre, your mail will go to your old address!


Question 130:

I am hunting in the regular season hunt the first week of November. I have also been invited to participate in two controlled hunts the first week of December. If I harvest a deer in the regular hunt, can I still hunt the controlled hunt?

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You can certainly do this if you either:
 
a) Party hunt in the first week of the hunt and have one of your party use their appropriate seal on any deer which you may shoot, or
 
b) If you use your seal during the first hunt, you may party hunt during the December hunt.


Question 129:

I was reading a post on this site about hunting crows. I believe its legal to shoot crows but not ravens would like to know if I'm correct also do crows have yellow beaks and ravens have black. If this correct a post regarding the legal aspect might be prudent.

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA), the holder of a small game licence may shoot crows, starlings, cowbirds, etc. and any other bird that is not:
 
- a Specially Protected Bird or
 
- protected by either the Migratory Birds Convention Act (i.e., almost all song birds, waterfowl and a long list of other birds) or any other bird designated by the Minister.
 
A Raven is a Specially Protected Bird under the FWCA [schedule 8] Therefore it is unlawful to shoot Ravens.
 
You are correct, it is legal to shoot crows but not ravens.
 
These two similar looking birds can mostly be differentiated by their overall body size (ravens are considerable larger than crows) and by their voice or song. These characteristics are often much easier to see than beak colour. To find out about these birds you might want to visit the ASCAR (American Society of Crows and Ravens) site at: http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.azstarnet.com/%7Eserres/index.html


Question 128:

Is it against MNR policy for a full time Conservation Officer to guide or run an outfitting business??? Is this not a "Conflict of Interest"??? If this is currently occurring and the MNR has no policy on this issue, would the Ontario Ombudsman be interested?

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I do not comment on MNR policy issues. Can only suggest that if you have any conflict of interest concerns about any MNR employee that you discuss them with the appropriate District Manager.


Question 127:

According to 2001 Hunting regulations, "You may not let the flesh of any harvested game wildlife which is suitable for food be destroyed, spoiled or abandoned. This includes Black Bear." Having said that, the next paragraph states "You cannot process a black bear gallbladder that has been removed from a black bear." The logic of these seems to be contradicting. Here is my understanding, please correct me.
Black bear is a harvested animal. This implies: Cannot let the flesh spoiled.
Cannot possess black bear's gallbladder. This implies: Flesh is wasted.
There is a huge contradiction there.
OR
Black bear's gallbladder is NOT flesh for food and therefore flesh has to be wasted.
I am just toally confused, please clarify on this.

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The simple answer is that your third hypothesis - "(Black bear's gallbladder is not flesh for food) and therefore flesh has to be wasted" is the correct one. The "flesh" of an animal is interpreted generally to be the muscle tissue which one would expect to eat off any animal. From that perspective, the requirement to leave the gall of a bear is no more of a wastage issue than leaving any other of the internal organs, all of which someone somewhere might consider tasty - i.e. intestines,(for sausage) stomach wall (for tripe) tongue, brains, testicles, etc. etc.


Question 126:

Please advise me of the Provincial Governments policy regarding the new requirements under Bill C-68.

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, this site and my role is to try and focus on interpreting and answering questions about legislation which anglers, hunters, and others may have about their activities. This is not a forum for me to discuss or comment on the broader government's policies.


Question 125:

I am inquiring if it will be the policy of Natural Resources Officers (Game Wardens) or O.PP. Officers to ask hunters for an F.A.C., P.O.L. or a P.A.L. this deer season. Up to this point the officers only required that we produce a valid hunting licence. Many members of my hunting gang are hearing from Game Wardens that they will be checking for the new permits which are required by the Federal Governments Bill C-68.

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Please see question 106 which covers this question already. Of course this only deals with Conservation Officers and it would be inappropriate for me to suggest how the OPP will deal with this.


Question 124:

Having recently posted a query on a web board about hunting opportunities in the off season, it quickly became evident that there is much confusion about the status of pigeons in this province. This has been further confused by the recent changes in regulations regarding the control of pest species. Some people seem to think that they are protected, others that they are not, and some believe that they can be shot only if they are causing problems for a landowner, in which case the new rules concerning pest control may or may not come into effect. I have in years past seen an article in Ontario Out of Doors which stated that pigeon shooting used to be popular until the use of insecticides in the 1960s killed off most of the pigeons as well, only to make a comeback in more recent times as the use of such chemicals has been greatly curtailed. I have even seen pigeon decoys in stores and bought several of them myself just to have available during hunting trips in so! uthern Ontario. I read the article at least several years ago however, and would like to know their present status. Even if it is legal to shoot them for pest control, would this make it illegal to shoot at pigeons that I may come across while hunting in smaller Regional Forests and plots of Crown Land that are scattered throughout southern Ontario farm country? As you could probably tell from this query, I would like to eat any pigeons that I may shoot, but I would also like to know if the laws against spoilage of game meat would also apply to them.

Once again, this issue has resulted in much debate on the Hunting Board on which I first mentioned it, where some people have questioned the practice while others say that they have been shooting the birds for years.

Asked June 24, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I am not sure what you are referring to when you indicate "the recent changes in regulations regarding the control of pest species." Notwithstanding that point, I will try to clarify the laws around hunting of these birds in Ontario.

Pigeons are among a number of species in Ontario that may be hunted year round. This list of species includes animals which are not generally considered "game" but are also hunted. This list includes crows, groundhogs, and porcupines, for example. For this reason, they are not listed as game animals in the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act.

As a result, the regulations regarding spoilage do not apply to these animals. That being said, there needs to be some responsible behaviour amongst the hunting community who might want to pursue these animals. For example, for the benefit of the sport it would obviously not be wise to kill several dozen or more of these animals and leave them lying on the roadside.

There are no limits on the number of pigeons, groundhogs, etc., that may be shot.

However, all other hunting laws apply - eg. no hunting from a roadway, no discharge from or on a vehicle, daylight hours, wearing of hunter orange during big game seasons, etc., etc.

In general, one requires a valid small game licence in order to hunt these birds. The exception is to a landowner who may shoot these birds on his or her own land in defence of their property.


Question 123:

In question 98 of your game section, you deal with the issue of hunting waterfowl in areas where agricultural practice has left seeds and feed out for birds versus an area which has been intentionally baited. My concern is about what conditions satisfy the criterion of "baited area." As much of my waterfowling has taken place in cottage country, which usually has several cottages within a couple hundred of meters of a given hunting location, I was wondering if a cottager could try to claim an area off bounds as a result of their having regularly fed the birds up to the start of hunting season. I have once read of cottagers making the claim that some people living a few lots next to them had no legal right to shoot at birds off of their own shoreline since they were within the boundaries of the "baited area" that they had created by simply feeding "their" ducks. While I doubt such a rationale would hold in court, what does the conventional reading of the regulations have to say about such a claim?

Asked June 24, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The Migratory Birds Convention Act regulations state that no one (not just hunters) may not set out bait at any time after 14 days before the start of the open season unless they have written consent of:

  1. every landowner within 400 meters of the place where the bait is deposited. (Note that this is the distance that you must be away from bait when hunting), and
  2. the Regional Director of Conservation at the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada), and
  3. the chief game officer of the province.
This permission must be obtained at least thirty days before the start of the season. Bait may not set out again until the end of the season.

This precludes exactly the type of scenario that you have described.


Question 122:

I was wondering what the potential for promotion is when you are a CO? And also is there a current need for CO's?

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Please have a look at our Conservation Officer (CO) web page at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/fishing/co.html This page explains what CO's do and the educational requirements one needs to become a CO.

If one wanted to promote from the field CO position, you would be able to compete for most any other position within MNR or even the entire OPS. However, many CO's are career officers as they thoroughly enjoy the field work that they do as a part of their position.

As a rule and as you can imagine, there is minimal turnover of the 281 CO's who work for MNR. Because of the demographic of our current force we anticipate that we will be hiring about fifty or so officers in the next couple of years. This is not a lot of officers and there is a lot of competition, but this number is higher than our normal attrition rate of 4-6 officers per year.


Question 121:

I wanted to know if there is a season for turkey in WMU 63. Where would the nearest check station be? I have downloaded the ministry licensing phone in brochure and was surprised to see WMU 63 on the list. We have heard them in the morning while deer hunting in the fall but was unaware of a season. Is there ---really--- a season for turkeys up there or not.

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Yes, there are more opportunities for hunting turkey this year in expanded area's including WMU's 59, 60A, 61, 63, and 65 (not including Prescott/Russell). See pages 19-21 of your new Summary of Hunting Regulations for the details. These summaries are, of course, downloadable from: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html

For information about local check stations, you need to contact the Kemptville district office. The contact information can be found in both the hunting and fishing summaries.


Question 120:

I read your DCO fact sheet throught the O.C.A.A. internet site and I would like some clarification on the section which describes "How to be appointed as a DCO.

It says that you must successfully pass the 4 week Intro to Law Enforcement course or an APPROVED EQUIVALENT. I have successfully passed the Nat. Res. Law Enforcement Program at Sir Sandford Fleming College which is a 1-year intense course containing intro to law, investigative techniques, court procedures etc.. and would like to know if this would be an APPROVED EQUIVALENT.

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

As of this date, the only approved equivalents to MNR's Level 1 course are:

  • Ontario Police College Training (M.N.R. Enforcement Course)
  • Previous Conservation Officer Appointment
  • Previous appointment as a Police Officer under the Police Services Act
  • National Park Warden Course
However, the equivalency issue as it applies to the third year law program at SSFC has been discussed. The training section within the Enforcement branch will be looking at the training at this course this year to determine if, in fact, it may be considered as an equivalent training program to the Level 1 course.


Question 119:

I have some questions about wild turkey hunting in ON. How are they distributed? What is estimated population size? What are the boundaries (north)? Which ares have higher numbers of birds and Which have larger birds?

Where turkeys can be hunted on public lands?

I heard in some places wild turkey carry some kind of desease?

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (english) or 1-800-667-1840 (french). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.


Question 118:

I recently purchased a few acres of land on which I will soon be building my house. My question is this. My property backs onto 75 acres of privately owned bush and both sides of the lot are field. I do know that they deer hunt there in the fall. How far must the hunter stay from my house. It is shotgun only but if the hunter is off of my property but still within slug range of my house are there regulations that would keep them a safe distance? I have nothing against people hunting as I hunt myself this is just a safety concern. Any info would be appreciated.

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

There is nothing in legislation which specifically states a distance which one must be from a building or residence in order to discharge a firearm. However, there is legislation in both the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act and in the Criminal Code that basically says that any person who uses a firearm is legally responsible to use it in a safe manner. An individual may be charged under either or both of these pieces of legislation for careless use. In some cases, municipalities, in their no discharge of firearms bylaws, may specify a distance from a residence within which a firearm may not be discharged. In these cases, the bylaw may state "no person may discharge a firearm within x metres of a residence or outbuilding or …" In these cases, the bylaw applies to all discharges of firearms, (ex. trap or skeet, target shooting, etc) and not just hunting. Bylaws, of course, are enforced by municipal bylaw officers and not MNR.


Question 117:

I know that I have to have my firearm encased during the dark hours as set out in the regulations. My question is: can I have my shotgun in a sock with the sling swivels protruding and the sling attached so that I may sling the gun over my shoulder, allowing me to carry other equipment into my duck blind? In effect, if the sling is considered part of the firearm, then it is not closed in on six sides.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

If I am envisioning what you are describing correctly, you would cut or otherwise adapt your gun sock so that the two swivels and nothing else, would be exposed, but that the entire rest of the gun would still be inside of the case and not accessible. From this perspective you may not be meeting the letter of the law as a portion of your gun (the swivels) is not encased. At the same time, if what I have described above is what you are really talking about, then you have most likely satisfied the intent of the legislation.

I would suggest that this is not likely going to cause you a problem, but would still suggest that you run your idea past the local Conservation Officers or District Enforcement Supervisor where you intend to hunt. While I may conceptually see where you are coming from, local issues and enforcement problems may put the officers in a position where they may have to take a letter of the law, hard-line approach to a local problem. If I can use an analogy that you may be more familiar with, in some areas the police may be responding to safety issues and complaints and ticket drivers who are only a couple of clicks over the speed limit. In other areas where the problem may not be as significant, they may allow for ten or more km "wiggle room". The fact is that you may be charged with speeding for doing 1 km over the posted limit. Similarly, you may be charged with an un-encased gun if only 1% or so is exposed.


Question 116:

My questions is related to the training of bird dogs.

1) Are training permits required to train bird dogs during closed season and if required what are their limitations on what months a person can train in a habitated area of game birds?
2) When training a bird dog what restrictions apply to the possession of game birds during a closed season?
3) When training bird dogs in a field with the use of "barn pigeons" can one be in the possession of a firearm to be used for the training of the dog with the pigeon?
4) What are the prerequisits of the MNR with regards to game farms for the use of pheasant,quail and chukar.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Please see question #57, which answers your questions 1-3. As far as your last question - game farms, they are more properly termed "game bird hunting preserves". These facilities need to be licenced. These licences are for specific species (i.e., northern bobwhite, wild turkeys, pheasants, etc.) and the licence holders are restricted as to whom they may sell their birds to. A licence to keep game birds captivity is not required to raise chukars.


Question 115:

Where can I obtain a map that shows what land is crown and what land is not in any given area?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Generally most MNR districts produce a district map which shows crown and patented (private) land. Alternatively, if you are in Northwestern Ontario, MNR is partnering with Crime Stoppers and the tourism boards to produce a series of maps which have land tenure, plus a whole bunch more info on them.


Question 114:

Is there any legislation preventing someone from brushing a trail (on crown land) to make it easier to travel to and from a hunting spot or tree stand quietly? (by brushing I mean cutting small limbs and shrubs not large trees.)

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act is the legislation that controls the use of trees in the forest on Crown land. If your trail is on Crown land, you cannot, by law, cut or damage any trees in the forest ecosystem without a licence. The Public Lands Act could also come into play if brushing is so extensive that a road or new ATV access is created. A work permit might be required in some cases.

Minor clearing of an occasional raspberry bush is likely OK, but every location must be looked at individually. You should talk to your local MNR district office to confirm that what you wish to do will not impact any local values.

If your trail is on private land, it is up to the land owner to permit brushing or any other use of their property.


Question 113:

I am interested in becoming a conservation officer and was wondering what the physical requirements are for the job. In particular, I would like to know if there are any minimum vision requirements.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

As of right now, there are no specifically laid out sight requirements [enough with the three blind mice music!!!] to become a conservation officer. However, our recruitment process is being modified at this time and we will be requiring a medical exam in the future, which will include an eyesight element. What exactly that will look like has not been determined yet, but would suspect that it probably will not be all that different from the police standards.


Question 112:

I own a large parcel of land north of the French River. If we place "No Hunting" signs around the edges of our property, is it illegal for us to hunt our own land?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

No, but you are not the only person who believes this urban legend. Think about it - if I put a no trespassing sign on my house, does that mean that I can no longer go onto my own property? Obviously not, and the same applies to any other restrictions on my land under the Trespass to Property Act.

Along the same lines, however,
-if you do place "permissive" signs (eg. "Cross country skiing Permitted" or graphic of cross country skier inside of a green circle) then the presumption is that all other activities, such as snowmobile riding, horseback riding, hunting, etc. are prohibited,
OR
-it you place "prohibitive" signs (eg. "No Hunting" or a graphic of a hunter inside of a red circle with an oblique line drawn through the graphic) then all other activities, such as fishing, hiking, trail biking, etc., are presumed to be permitted.

From this perspective, you may want to consider using "No Trespassing" signs rather than indicating a specifically prohibited activity (i.e. No Hunting).


Question 111:

Just wondering if it is legal to hunt waterfowl from a hydro tower right of way?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Whether the property is on a hydro right of way or not is not the issue. The point is that you need to know who owns the property and if they do or do not allow trespass. Obviously, if the hydro line is on crown or public land where you can otherwise hunt, then you may hunt on that portion. If the hydro line is on private property, then you have no more right to hunt on it than I have to walk under the wires to trespass at your house. The only "right of way" on private land is an agreement to allow hydro workers access to the property to do line maintenance.


Question 110:

A recent posting to a fishing message board referred to an ice fishing party where in total they had less than the party limit of whitefish but individually some had caught more and some obviously less than their individual limit. The ones catching more were charged. When I read the posting I assumed there was probably more to the story such as the party was not physically fishing from the same hut. However a response to the posting referred to Question #49 in the FAQ Fish section wherein the CO answer stated that it is illegal to party fish. This comes as a real surprise to me and I wondered if the same applies to waterfowl hunting. Two licensed hunters hunting from the same blind shoot a limit of 12 ducks..one hunter shot 7 ducks and the other 5 ducks. The hunters are leaving the marsh and are stopped by a CO. Would a CO even ask the question who shot what?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You cannot "party fish" for any species of fish, nor party hunt for ducks, rabbits, grouse, turkey or any other small game. The only species for which you can "party hunt" for are deer, moose or bear.


Question 109:

I was wondering why only a shotgun is legal for the hunting of wild turkeys.Is it a safety issue or is there another reason? For instance.Why could not a .22 magnum be used as it is more than enough power to harvest turkeys humanely?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I am not exactly sure of the history of this legislation, but do know that the hunter safety community recognizes that, at least in North America, Wild Turkey hunting tends to be the most dangerous in terms of relative number of hunting incidents. From that perspective, I would rather be shot with bird shot at 100 yards than a 22 magnum - what about you? Personally, I don't think I want to be shot at all. Think safety!

The other element of the hunt that is likely captured in this piece is the "fair chase" concept. That is, yes, you could potentially kill a bird from several hundred yards using a .22 magnum, but a good portion the "hunt" in hunting turkeys is the searching for sign and roosting areas, hiding, and the ability to successfully call a bird to within shotgun range. This process is a fair pitting of your skills versus the bird's cunning and survival instincts.


Question 108:

Sometime ago I took the Wild Turkey course and the Ontario Trappers course, and never purchased a licence. I would now like to purchase both licences, but I can't find my certificates after moving.

I also would like any information on where I can obtain a map of Crown Lands in WMU 89, 90.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You did not say how long ago "some time ago" was, but I am presuming that it means over five years ago. If this is so, you are not going to have much success with either of these pursuits.

First, In order to get issued a Trapper's licence, you need to have either been issued a previous licence or have taken the trapping course within the previous five years. This regulation has been in effect for as long as I can remember. I took the same course in the mid-80's when it first came out and was not allowed to trap because of 'conflict of interest' guidelines, so I have lost that course as well. If, however, a) you took the course less that five years ago or b) you want to renew your interest in trapping and take the new course, you need to contact the Ontario Fur Managers Federation. This is the trappers association and they administer both the licencing and the trapper training. They are in Sault Ste. Marie at (705) 254-3338 or at www.furmanagers.com

As far as the Wild Turkey training is concerned, you need to contact the district office where you took the course and see if they have a record of your course and attendance. Otherwise, unless you have purchased a turkey licence since you took the training, there is no record in our licencing section. I also checked with OFAH as they administer the courses, but they apparently do not keep a record of graduates.

Finally, for crown land maps, you need to contact the district office in which the WMU's are located. This may or may not be successful as not every district has a map available at this time, however many still do.

Sorry I could not be more helpful.


Question 107:

I would like to know if it is legal to hunt the area north of Oakville and Burlington, between highway #5 and the 401.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

From the perspective of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) and other natural resource legislation, there is nothing that specifically says that you cannot hunt in this area. However, you need to look at and research a couple of other issues. First, can you safely hunt in this area? If you cannot safely hunt in the area you could be charged with unsafe hunting under the FWCA or careless use of a firearm under the criminal code. The second thing you need to do is to find out if there are any municipal bylaws which may restrict the discharge of firearms and what types of firearms that the legislation, if there is any, applies to. Under the legislation that MNR is mandated to enforce, you could hunt in most cites, including Toronto, if you could do so safely. However, you cannot do this because the municipality, which has the mandate for safety, has "no-discharge" bylaws.



Question 106:

In addition to the necessary game licences do hunters now need to carry their POL/PAL/FAC licence with them in the field to prove that they can legally be in possesion of a firearm? If not, then how do the CO's plan to validate that the hunters are in compliance?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

See question # 3. The Firearms Act and Regulations are federal pieces of legislation. Conservation Officers, by virtue of their being peace officers under the Criminal Code, may enforce this legislation where it is appropriate to do so. However, this legislation is not an MNR mandated legislation and we do not anticipate that officers would routinely enforce this legislation unless they had a reason to do so. This is the same approach Conservation Officers take with most Criminal Code and many other federal statutes - that is, we do not actively search out violations, but will undertake enforcement action where it is appropriate - arresting an impaired driver, for example. Officers have access to and will be able to do the same records check as police do through the Canadian Police Information Computer system.


Question 105:

I know that there is kind of an ongoing debate about the cougar population in Ontario and every so often I hear about a sighting or two. Due to the reclusive nature of the cougar I do not doubt there is a presence in Ontario but often wonder about the actual number.

Recently I heard that the MNR had released three cougars into Lanark county to control the thriving deer population. Is there any truth to this rumour and if so what was the basis ofr this release? I am aware of the difficulty that the wolf (coyote) population is having in this area due to the mange and also that the deer population is "dangerously" high in areas due to the last few easy winters but was unaware that we had reached the point where introduction was necessary.

If this rumour is true, would it not be worth attempting to control the population through means of increased hunting opportunities by:

  1. A controlled deer hunt by lottery
  2. Muzzleloader season
  3. Extended rifle season
  4. Extended bow season
I don't want to start criticizing the MNR's efforts on a rumour, but I am concerned about the introduction of such a powerful predator that requires such a large area to exist without first attempting to increase hunting opportunities. Any clarification on this issue would be greatly appreciated and if the introduction is true I would be very interested in the study that led up to this and the reasoning behind it.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

This is a resource management question and is not one which I can offer much advice. I can tell you that Cougars were not released in Lanark County to control deer populations. Rumours are fun, though, aren't they?

As I understand it, the separation of WMU 63 into "A" and "B" was done to increase the deer harvest In the agricultural portion of the WMU by giving every person who applied for an antlerless permit a tag. This would certainly increase hunting opportunities as you have suggested without threatening the smaller herds in the shield portion of the unit.


Question 104:

Why is it that in the area that i have hunted for many years you need to have 10 hunters to qualify for maybe getting 1 adult tag when i discovered a group of 4 hunters who were drawn and recieved a bull tag for the fall 2000 moose hunt for rifles.This does not seem fair at all to the other hunting parties of lesser or more hunters such as a group of 12 hunters who applied as a group and did not recieve a tag. Could someone in the M.N.R. explain please?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

This is not a question of law (which this site is intended to respond to) but it is a question that you need to bring forward to the folks in the licencing section of MNR. However, before you do so, you need to be absolutely sure of your facts. That is, who are all the members of each of the groups? Who received the tag? Was it for that WMU? How many were pool 1, Pool 2? The scenario that you described (i.e. 12 hunters apply in an area with a guaranteed group size of ten and are unsuccessful) should not happen. However, I have seen the MNR folks at countless outdoor shows do the data search and find out that somebody was having their "chain pulled". That is, things like:

  • the group of four got their tag through an outfitter, or were drawn in the individual draw [which takes place after all of the guaranteed size groups have been assigned tags], for another WMU, or never even had one.
  • the group of twelve consisted of two pool 1 hunters and ten pool 2 hunters. In this case, they are not a group of 12 but of 2, and will not meet minimum group size for a guaranteed tag. Still the names go into the draw, but only as individuals.
  • the group of twelve got a tag but they didn't want to tell anybody
  • etc., etc.
If you do all the research and get the necessary information, I will forward your question to the draw folks.


Question 103:

I recently relocated to Ontario from New Jersey. Am I required(before I am able to hunt in Ontario) to take an Ontario Hunter Safety Course if I have already taken one in New Jersey? Finally, do I qualify for a resident license?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

See question # 52. By virtue of having a licence issued to you as a resident in another jurisdiction, you are entitled to one challenge of the Hunter Safety exam without taking the course.

Define "recently". You become a "resident" for the purpose of purchasing a licence after you have resided in Ontario for a minimum of sixth months


Question 102:

What is the fine for shooting over your limit while duck hunting? ie; If I find a dead duck or a cripple on the way out and I pick it up with a limit already in hand will I be fined the same as someone with 20 ducks over their limit?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The maximum fine for this offence is $50,000.00, six months in jail, plus forfeiture of equipment and forfeiture of you migratory bird hunting privileges for one year. The prescribed fine, should an officer proceed with an out of court option is $200 plus $50 per bird over the limit, plus court costs and victim surcharges (20% of the fine total). From this perspective, 1 bird over versus 20 birds over is a different fine (the same way as speeding 10 kph is a lesser fine than speeding 50 kph over) although I would suspect that very few officers would give an out of court option for a twenty bird over limit.

If you have a limit of birds, why would you pick up another so that it puts you over your limit? If you can demonstrate to the court how it (or an officer), could determine whether you had picked up birds killed by some other "mystery hunter" versus an over-limit of birds which you shot yourself, they might look at your situation in a different light, but I don't know how you might do so.


Question 101:

I was wondering about the legalities behind wolf hunting. Presently, I have two guys pushing wolves with dogs through and around my 60 acre bush lot. My guess is they are shooting from a roadway which I already know is illegal, but what about not having permission from the land owner. Is there some exception to the rule because they are running dogs?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

No, there are no exceptions to the rule that would allow hunters using dogs to either shoot from the roadway or trespass. There have been precedents where hunters have been convicted of trespass merely by virtue of their releasing their dogs into an area that is posted no trespassing and not even walking on the property themselves!


Question 100:

I am a US citizen planning a trip to Ontario, Canada soon. I would like to know what is required of me to bring a shotgun across the border for the purpose of hunting ducks. Please advise.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You may want to visit the federal firearms site at which explains this legislation. It is located at: http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/Default-en.html. When you get there look for the "visitors to Canada" link. Gun control legislation is federal Criminal legislation. While Conservation Officers in Ontario are peace officers and are capable of enforcing federal legislation, it is not the mandate of MNR.


Question 99:

Are in-line muzzle-loaders legal for use in muzzle-loader only deer and moose seasons in Ontario?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

As I understand it, the inline muzzle-loader is simply a more technologically advanced muzzle - loader that has the percussion cap situated in the centre of the breech (in line with the barrel - hence the name) as opposed to the traditional exterior location of percussion caps and flintlocks. Short answer...."YES", in-line muzzle-loaders are legal for use in muzzle-loader seasons in Ontario


Question 98:

My question is concerning the part of the act which states that it is "illegal to hunt migratory birds within 400m (437 yds.) of where bait has been deposited umless it has been free of bait for at least seven days".............

If this is so then why can hunters get permission from farmers to go into the various corn fields where there is corn kernels scattered everywhere after cutting, set up decoys and hunt ducks and geese.

Why can this not take effect on water as well ??

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The reason that this is not illegal is because there is an exception in the Migratory Birds Act which states that material which has been deposited as a result of normal agricultural practices is not bait for the purposes of the section which prohibits baiting. As normal agricultural practices do not include growing corn under water, well, I guess that answers the second question.


Question 97:

Is it legal to track wounded deer with a dog in an area that does not allow deer hunting with dogs or during bow season?

Asked December 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Tracking of a deer (wounded or not) with dogs is considered hunting under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Therefore, if the section says no hunting with dogs, then it is illegal to use dogs for any reason or in any way (including on a leash).


Question 96:

Could you point me in the right direction for the deer 2000 crest? I would like to get 9 crests for the deer my dad and our gang shot this year. Would also like to fill out the information study. All the butcher's around have the hats but no crest. Would like some help has to where to get them.

Asked December 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You need to contact your local district office to determine if they are collecting deer jaws this year and their depot locations.


Question 95:

Ontario law requires that big game hunters wear hunter orange in one solid colour during a firearm season. (good idea) However, this could put a gun hunter in a tree stand in a difficult position, visibility wise. Is it legal to hunt from a blind, or alternatively, put something like a camo net around a stand to break up the hunter orange?

Asked December 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, it is legal to hunt from a blind when you are wearing the mandatory (and for your own safety) hunter orange.

I am not sure I understand how you perceive this regulation puts a tree stand hunter in a more difficult position than a ground-based hunter. However, you did not suggest how you came to this conclusion.

There is nothing in the regulation that would prevent one from standing in a blind which is camoflagued. I for one, however, would not even consider hunting out of a blind where another hunter could not see me from a distance during the deer-gun season. I have seen the mount of the world record white tail deer a couple of times and even that buck isn't worth risking my safety over.


Question 94:

Can you advise me why there is a no-hunting on Sunday law?? Bowhunting, target shooting and pheasant hunting at clubs is allowed?? Also, north of the French River and some townships in Southern Ontario.
a. What is the reasoning for this?
b. I assume it is provincial and not federal?
c. What are the penalties if someone was charged with this??

Asked December 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

a. You May want to read the answers to questions 20, 32, and especially 35 which talks about the history of this piece of law.
b. Yes, it is found I the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and Regs.
c. As with most FWCA violation, the maximum penalty is $25,000.00 fine and/or 1 year in jail, plus loss of seized items, plus loss of hunting privileges.


Question 93:

a. Are sinkboxes are legal in Ontario?
b. Is this a provincial or federal law?

Asked December 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

a. Please see question #87.
b. Both. If Migratory Birds Convention Act it is Federal legislation. If Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act it is provincial. Note that the rules vary between the two pieces of legislation. (i.e. cannot hunt from a motor boat, period, when hunting other than migratory birds)


Question 92:

I thought when hunting from a boat, the motor did not have to be raised out of the water?? Only off and no forward momentum?? Also, does the boat have to be anchored?? What about sculling or jump shooting from a canoe??

Asked December 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

See question # 55


Question 91:

The hunting regulations state the areas for "no discharging firearms for the purpose of hunting on Sundays in ..." so does this mean that I can target shoot on Sundays in those areas?

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, absolutely, but make perfectly sure that it is obvious that you are, in fact, target shooting. You might also want to know that this restriction does not apply to long bows or cross bows and also does not apply on a licenced game bird hunting preserve.


Question 90:

I hunt deer in an "Archery Only season" area (Area 70) and have numerous encounters with Coyotes. My question is, "Can I have my Bow and a Shotgun in the treestand (or the shotgun on the tie rope) so that if a Coyote comes by I can shoot it with the shotgun?" Obviously, if a deer comes by I use the bow.

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

From a legal perspective, the short answer to your question is "yes, you may possess a shotgun, for the purpose of shooting coyotes when you are in a tree-stand and also bow-hunting deer".

That being said, I will also add a couple of other things for you to consider:

  • Why are you shooting the coyote? The main reason for hunting coyotes is for the purpose of collecting the pelts. As a hunter, you are obligated to skin and process the pelt if you shoot the animal. You may be charged if you simply shoot coyote and abandon the pelt or permit the pelt to be spoiled or destroyed. You also may seriously damage the non-hunting public's perspective of hunters if you simply want to 'kill for sport'. You will almost assuredly spoil your deer hunt as well, at least for that day.
  • If you are planning on using the hide, as above, why would you use a shotgun and not a low powered rifle, which does considerably less damage?
  • You can expect to receive extra attention by a Conservation Officer should you get checked in the field. While you and your story may be legitimate, it is also the same cover which poachers use to hunt deer with rifles and then stick an arrow into the animal after it has been shot. Of course, they do not know that many officers carry lead test kits and can seize an animal if they have reason to believe it has been shot.


Question 89:

I am not a hunter. I teach at a school that borders crown land. Are hunters allowed to hunt right up to our property lines?

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The answer is a qualified "yes". That is, they are legally enabled to stand on crown land and hunt, assuming they are in compliance with all of the other regulations around hunting.

One of the few exceptions to this might be if there is a municipal bylaw which prohibits hunting in a designated area. These bylaws are worded in different ways, but most simply restrict hunting within "x" metres of an occupied building or residence.

That being said, even if no law is being broken, you may want to visit with the hunters to share your concerns and to hear their perspective. You may even want to invite them into your classroom to discuss the pro's and con's of hunting! Certainly issues such as these are very fertile areas for initiating all kinds of activities - writing, art, social studies, math, etc., and capture a lot of enthusiasm on both sides of the debate.

It is usually not wise for hunters to hunt "on the edge", that is, against a property line where there is no hunting permitted or along the boundary of a Provincial Park or game sanctuary. What occasionally happens is that an animal that is being hunted will be shot when the animal is in the 'legal' area and run or fly into the 'no hunt' zone. This often puts everyone into a lose/lose situation.


Question 88:

How does one get into the Jr Rangers program, not just as a Ranger but a supervisor?

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (english) or 1-800-667-1840 (french). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.


Question 87:

Just wondering if sinkboxes were legal for waterfowling in Ontario?

Asked October 20, 2000

Answer from the MNR

In general, yes, you can use sinkboxes to hunt (where it is otherwise legal to hunt) in most of Ontario.

There are some areas, however, where you may not hunt out of a sinkbox, not because they are illegal, but because it is either illegal to hunt offshore where you would typically use a sinkbox, or you must hunt out of a designated blind. These areas include:

A) when you are hunting in a controlled hunting areas which require that you hunt out of a designated blind. Upper Canada and Camden East hunting areas are examples of this, but many of the provincial hunting areas (Luther, Tiny marsh, etc.) would also have an indirect restriction on the use of these boats.

B) it is not legal to hunt from a sinkbox (or any boat) if it is situated beyond certain mainland locations ie 300m off Turkey Point, 300m off mainland or any island in Lake St Francis, 300 m off shore of Rondeau Bay in Kent county and 300 m. off shore in Lake St. Clair.

C) In addition there are new regulations put in place this year under the Migratory Birds Act Regulations which restrict hunting in the Wolfe Island area so that hunters must be on the island, on the shore, or in the marsh within 20 metres of the shore.


Question 86:

Just wondering why there is no open season for Mourning Doves in Ontario?

Asked October 13, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Mourning doves are a migratory bird and, as such, the Canadian Wildlife Service creates regulations that prohibit hunting them. You may want to contact the CWS with this question. Often times and I suspect that this may be so in this case, the hunting or non-hunting of some species is a matter of tradition. i.e. Doves can be shot in Texas, because they always have hunted these birds in Texas. They are not hunted in Ontario, because they were traditionally not hunted (probably because there was fear they would be mistaken for passenger pigeons before they became extinct). Similarly, we do not hunt songbirds in Ontario because it is not a part of our culture, but this is an accepted practice in many European countries. There is also the traditional link between doves and peace and love which makes these birds more symbolic than most other birds that we might consider hunting.


Question 85:

The rule of no hunting within 8 meters of a roadway doesn't seem to be enforced during the three 2 day Peele Island pheasant hunts. What is the position of the CO's on "ditch hunting" by the Island roads and are there any other related issues that I should be awarae of when hunting Peele?

Asked October 13, 2000

Answer from the MNR

That is because the regulation that you are referring to does not apply province wide and Township of Pelee is one of the exceptions insofar as the "loaded on a roadway" component is concerned. Let me explain.

There are two elements in your question. The first is the issue of "possession of a loaded firearm". As I have indicated there are essentially three 'variations' of this regulation. In the first instance, which covers the majority of southern Ontario, it is unlawful to possess a firearm from fence-line to fence-line (or where there are no fences, within 8 metres from the travelled portion - the pavement or the edge of the gravel) of a maintained roadway. In the central part of Ontario - Haliburton, Renfrew, Muskoka, and the northern portions of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Hastings, Peterborough, and Victoria counties, this regulation applies only during the open gun season for deer. In the balance of the province, which is the North and Pelee, this straight possession prohibition does not apply. I do not know the history of the Pelee exemption. The second part of the answer is - Notwithstanding the above, in the parts of the province where the prohibition on possession is not applicable, it is still unlawful to discharge a firearm in or across the travelled portion of a right of way.

I don't think I can comment on your "other issues" part of your question as it is too general…almost like "what are the rules about hunting?" Sorry.


Question 84:

We were scouting an area in southern Ontario for Duck Hunting. We found quite a nice place with lots of potential. There were even a couple of blinds already set up by other hunters. As we walked around and then drove a little further we noticed some no hunting signs and "bird sanctuary" signs. These signs seemed to be put up by the MNR but mostly by other conservation groups. I believe one of them also said that the birds were being fed? I'm not sure. There were no signs where the blinds where set up, but it was directly across from the bird sanctuary. We were wondering if there is a certain distance that we must be away from the sanctuary, if there is just no hunting within the borders of the sanctuary or if these were signs for other types of hunting....... Should we spend our time and energy setting up a blind in this area, or would we be hunting illegally?

Asked October 13, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The regulations regarding sanctuaries do not specify a distance, which one must be from a sanctuary in order to hunt. In other words, one could legally stand 1 foot away from the boundary of a game sanctuary and hunt. [Remember that this is the legal answer, not the ethical one]. This would apply if the 'sanctuary' were a game preserve, provincial or National Park, private game preserve or whatever. Keep in mind, however, that if you shoot an animal that subsequently enters the 'preserve', you may not pursue and hunt that animal or take your firearm into the preserve area to 'finish off' a wounded animal. You could also be charged with failing to retrieve an animal that you have shot. Placing yourself on the edge of a sanctuary may often result in putting yourself into awkward dilemmas of this sort and may not be worth the perceived advantage of standing so close to the edge of a no hunt zone. You might be better advised to give yourself a margin of error by moving a reasonable distance from the preserve boundary.

On the other hand, if there is bait involved, you need to be a minimum of 400 metres away from where the bait has been deposited. You can be charged for hunting within this 400-metre zone whether or not you have shot any migratory birds.

My suggestion in your particular case is that you do a little more research in to exactly what you are looking at: who has placed the signs, what are the exact boundaries of the sanctuary, who has placed bait and where. The fact that there are already blinds there does not legitimize an illegal activity. ("Sorry, officer, everyone else on this highway was speeding so I thought is was OK for me to speed, too") You may want to contact your local MNR office to discuss the boundaries of the sanctuary and to determine if this is a baited area.


Question 83:

The regulations say that firearms must be encased if you are in the bush while it is not legal to hunt (1/2 hr before sunrise, 1/2 hr after sunset). Does having a trigger lock on the gun classify it as being encased? I have cases that are big and clumsy and are a real pain to take in the woods, and it seems just as effective to have a trigger lock on the gun.

Asked October 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

There is case law (no pun) on "Encased" and it defines this as enclosed on all six sides. A trigger lock obviously does not fit this definition. Not withstanding that these devices would satisfy the intent of the statute, my experience would tell me that there would be all kinds of evidentiary issues as a lock is obviously not as visible as a cover, particularly from a distance. There are all kinds of gun socks which are extremely light and portable which will satisfy the statute.


Question 82:

I was just wondering if it is legal to hunt for waterfowl at the mouth of the Wilmot Creek on Lake Ontario. I often see many ducks flying in at sunset and often hear gunshots in the area.

Asked October 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

From the MNR's perspective and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, hunting is permitted during the open season at the mouth of Wilmot. However, you may be required to hunt a distance off shore or a specified distance from buildings, etc.. This would be covered by a no discharge of firearm bylaw within the Town of Clarington. You should contact the municipality to confirm. If there are no local bylaws, then the seasons, limits, licencing, etc. are the same as in the rest of the Wildlife Management Unit.


Question 81:

I recently debated with someone about selling wildlife parts in Ontario. I always assumed that you could not legally sell any game animals or parts thereof including meat, taxidermy, antlers, bears rugs, "stuffed" fish and other critters, etc.. The response that I go back was:

The restictions on selling wildlife parts in Canada apply (with a few exceptions) only to non-processed parts. So, while you cannot sell a raw bear hide, the restrictions disappear once that hide has come back from the tannery. There are further restrictions getting things out of the country (a 3-year time limit exists before being able to export anything with antlers, for instance). But, in accordance with all relevant statutes and regulations, black bear rugs *can* be legally bought and sold here in Canada.

Which is true ?

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I am not sure where you received the above advice from, but you need to know that there is both federal legislation which is consistent across Canada and there is also provincial legislation, which applies only within our province.

As a blanket statement, it is unlawful for anyone to buy or sell wildlife (which includes all of their parts) except under the authourity of a licence. There are exceptions to this of course. Some of the exceptions (that is, these people do not need a separate but/sell licence) include:

  • a licenced trapper may sell legally obtained fur
  • a licenced game bird preserve may sell birds or eggs
  • a licenced dealer in cast antlers may but/sell cast antlers
  • a licenced commercial fisherman may sell lawfully obtained fish
There are pages and pages of regulations, forms, and policies that regulate the sale of fish and wildlife. Some rules apply only to pre-processed parts only as indicated [it is obviously legal for a furrier to sell a fur coat] while others apply whether or not the animal product has been processed or otherwise altered.

The short answer, then, is that you should not enter into any commercial trade in fish and wildlife parts unless you have determined that the transaction is completely legal. If you have a particular transaction that you have in mind, please feel free to ask about that at this site.


Question 80:

Where and how can I get lisenced for trapping in Ontario? No one seems to have the correct answer for me.

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

In most cases, licencing of trappers is being managed by the Ontario Fur Managers Federation (OFMF) under a New Business Relationship agreement with MNR.

Simple licence renewals are sent through and processed by OFMF. The trapper need only complete the licence renewal form supplied with the previous licence or submit a completed Application for Licence Renewal. (form FW 1035)

New trappers in Ontario must first successfully complete the Trappers Course and Exam. Having completed this training, the new trapper attends the local district office and completes and application form [FW1035] with the district furbearer specialist assigning a new trapper number and quotas for various species as appropriate. The application is then forwarded to OFMF for processing. Please note that the number of licences issued is controlled by the district and may limit the number of opportunities available.

For information regarding trapper-training courses in your area, you may contact either the district furbearer specialist or the OFMF, 531 Second Line East, Sault St. Marie, ON P6B 4K2, (705) 254-3338 fax (705) 254-3297. There is also an option for a trapper mentoring program in the remote areas of Ontario where there are no courses available.


Question 79:

Is it legal to walk the bush on crown or private land before hunting season with a bow and arrow and practice by "stump shooting"? How about the same during season without a valid licence for specices that are in season?

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Section 109 of the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act says that:

"In a prosecution under this Act in respect of hunting or trapping,
(a) proof that a person possessed, in an area usually inhabited by wildlife, a firearm, trap, decoy or other hunting or trapping device, a ferret or a specially protected raptor or other bird of prey, is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the person was hunting or trapping, as the case may be…"

Therefore, I would suggest that walking through the bush as you have suggested would be interpreted as hunting during the closed season. Of course, if the season is open and you are appropriately licenced, you can hunt as many stumps as you like.


Question 78:

If we've reached our possession limit in one WMU, could we continue hunting in another WMU that has a different opening season until the possession limit is reached for that WMU?

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Your possession limit is cumulative between WMU's. That is, if you have shot a limit of animals in one management unit, you could only hunt more animals in another WMU if the limit is higher in the second unit. In that case, you could continue to hunt (assuming open seasons) in the second unit for the number of birds that constitute the difference between the two areas. For example, if you hunted for geese in the morning in WMU 68 and shot the daily limit for that area (3 geese), you could travel to another area where the limit was 5, but you could only shoot two more birds.


Question 77:

What are the rules about butchering a deer in the bush with regards to proper transportation/tagging requirements....

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The rule re: tagging is reasonably straightforward :

The holder of a licence who has killed a moose, deer, bear or wild turkey shall,
(a) immediately after the kill and at the site of the kill attach the seal provided with the licence or licence tag to the game wildlife in the manner indicated on the seal; and
(b) keep the seal attached to the game wildlife while being transported and, in the case of wild turkey, keep the seal attached to the wild turkey until it is prepared for consumption.

Also, the regulation regarding transportation is also quite succinct:

"A person shall not transport a container that contains game wildlife, specially protected wildlife or fish unless the container is plainly marked on the outside with a description of the contents, the name and address of the person who is sending the container and the name and address of the person to whom the container is being sent".

The transport regulation does not apply if the game is being transported by the hunter who killed the animal.

As you have not indicated exactly what it is you are considering or would like to do, I do not think I can advise you further. If you are in a situation where you feel you may be rubbing up against these rules, please send me a note describing what your plans are and I can suggest how you can stay in compliance.


Question 76:

I graduated from the Ontario Hunters Saftey course in 1970 (I think). Would the MNR have a record of this for Federal Firearms Licence purposes? If so, where would I enquire? The only proof I have, is book two of the Hunters Handbook, which was only given to graduates.

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

There are two parts to this answer. The answer to the first part, records of hunter safety courses, is that there are records back as far as the early 1960's. The bad news, however, is that the records are not complete and the further back in time that you go back, the less material is on file. I can only suggest that you attend your local office and request a search be done.

The second part if the answer is that even if you do find a record of having taken Hunter Safety training some thirty years ago, that training is not, according to my information, a substitute for the Firearms Safety Training Course and exam. For further info on federal fire-arms legislation you can call 1-800-731-4000 or check out the CFC web-site at:
http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/Default-en.html

Of course, you can still challenge the exam without taking the course and you do not have to do either if it is your intent to apply for a 'possession only' [that is, not a licence to obtain, formerly known as an FAC].


Question 75:

For many years our hunting party has used walkie talkies as a form of communication for safety reasons. We use them for checking in every 2hrs to ensure all the hunters are O:K: and we are aware of everyones location. In the bush these units give us about a 1 to 2km range depending on local conditions. We would like to continue using them in this fashion. Is it legal to use them this year? and what is the MNRs position on using them in the future.

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You are likely referring to a proposed change in the wording of the party hunt definition, which was being circulated for public discussion over the past winter. The proposed change would have prohibited the parties from using electromagnetic devices (walkie-talkies, cell phones) in achieving their 'party' status. It would not have at any time outright prohibited these devices being used for other purposes. That proposed change has been tabled and there are no restrictions on the use on electromagnetic devices at this time.


Question 74:

I am thinking of buying a compound bow and since I do not want a firearm for hunting ,I was wondering what the regulations were for using the bow for hunting rabbits, if I would need a lic. And if so how I would go about getting one.

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The requirements for obtaining a licence for hunting with a longbow, cross-bow, or compound bow are all the same as those for obtaining a licence for hunting with a shotgun, rifle, or primitive weapon. All of these instruments are deemed to be "firearms" under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

You would not need to take the federal firearms training or take part in their licencing scheme if you were limiting yourself to archery. For further info on federal fire-arms legislation you can call 1-800-731-4000 or check out the CFC web-site at:
http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/Default-en.html

The requirements and procedures for obtaining a licence for a new hunter are spelled out on page 7 of the Hunting Regulations Summary. It is available at most outdoors stores, any MNR office, or on-line and downloadable at:
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html


Question 73:

Is it legal to call moose after/before legal hunting hours?

Asked October 3, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, it is legal to call for moose before or after the time that one must have all firearms encased. You simply cannot shoot them. This is not unique to moose. It is legal to be in the bush early in the morning or late at night as long as your firearms are encased and there is no reason to believe that you are actively hunting. Many times, for example, turkey or duck hunters are into their blinds or watches long before it is legal shooting time. I am not sure why there might be a legitimate reason that you would want to be calling after ˝ hour after sunset? Of course, there is always a need for balance and common sense. While we all feel we might want to be out before the crack of dawn to ensure we are ahead of the other guy, wouldn't it be a slice to call in a trophy moose before legal shooting hours and then have to watch (or maybe just listen to) him walk away!!??


Question 72:

Could two people go on a hunting trip together and one person has a small games license only with the intension of hunting only small games and the other has a deer license with the intension of hunting only deers? Is this considered party hunting for deer and both people have to purchase deer licenses?

Asked September 28, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The answer is "that depends...". Let me give you some situations which the answer is yes, and some where the answer is no. Hopefully, one the scenario's will fit into what you had in mind.

Situation A
Two persons, each with .30 calibre rifles go hunting during the open gun season for deer. Hunter # 1 has a deer licence; hunter # 2 dos not and is "hunting coyotes". ANSWER: Hunter # 2 is in violation for carrying rifle over the maximum calibre during the open gun season for deer.

Situation B Two persons, one with a .30 calibre rifle and the second with a .22 calibre. The person with the large rifle is licenced for deer, the second person is not and is "hunting rabbits". In the course of their discussions, they decide that the first (the one with a deer licence) hunter will set up on a watch and his partner (the small game hunter will walk through the bush from the other side of the woodlot, ostensibly hunting rabbits, but is attempting to 'dog' the area and push out a deer to his partner. Hunter number two is in violation for hunting deer by virtue that he is "chasing, pursuing, molesting, etc.."

Situation C Two friends go out hunting together. They decide to walk through the bush together. The first is licenced for and is searching for deer. He is carrying a high powered rifle for the purpose of shooting a deer. The second is carrying a shotgun with (and only with) light shot, number 6 perhaps, and his intention is to shoot any grouse which the pair may flush while they are walking. The second person only has a small game licence. Both are hunting legally.

Situation D Two friends decide to go to their hunt camp for the weekend. Hunter one leaves the camp and heads out to hunt deer to the south of the camp. Hunter two leaves and heads north, hoping to shoot some birds. Both agree to meet back at the camp for lunch, but are clearly hunting independently. No harm; no foul. Both hunters are within the law. As you can see, the question that you have asked can be interpreted an number of different ways. I hope that I have covered a situation that may be similar to yours. The key elements are what size are the weapons being used? what amount of collaboration, if any is occurring in the hunt? Is there any cooperative effort in achieving the game?

If none of these situations covers the scenario that you are thinking about, please feel free to write back again with the details of your hunt and I will be happy to advise further.


Question 71:

My wife and I are taking a canoe trip up north over Thanksgiving. I am a licenced hunter (moose, bear, small game, migratory bird). She has a hunter outdoor card, but no current permits.

The regulations say every licenced hunter must wear hunter orange during the open seasons. Since I am a licenced hunter in a hunting area but not hunting, do I need to wear orange? Does she?

I know it makes good sense in a way, but it will also affect such things as life preservers since wearing a floatation vest over the orange would obscure the required, "visible from all directions" clause.

Further, having me wearing orange and her not would make me look silly, in my opinion, since it would appear I am concerned more for my safety than hers.

On the other hand, weight and volume are imperatives on a canoe trip, and MNR has already demanded I carry an extra bucket and a throw rope. Dictating my outer clothing as well seems to be stepping rather over the bounds. After all, excess weight can make you sink in a current and break legs on a portage. Since my canoe is bright red, I doubt anybody will mistake me for a moose.

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The short answer to your question is that the section in the regulations specifically indicates that the individual is required to wear the minimum hunter orange clothing requirements ONLY when they are hunting. So if neither you nor your wife are hunting you are exempt from the regulations. That being said, I would suggest that if I were canoeing in an area during a open big game season I would ensure that both my wife and I had on bright clothing with a very minimum of a hunter orange hat. There is no law requiring this, but…

As a point of clarification, the requirement for a bucket and throw rope are under the federal Small Vessel Regulations which MNR does not create. (Nor enforces at this time, other than in Parks.)


Question 70:

Hi, I am currently in school and was wondering which courses I need to take in order to become a CO, I am also wondering when Ii am done highschool which courses I should pursue to further my enhancement in becoming a Conservation officer...

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The educational requirement to become a Conservation Officer is a Resource Technician diploma or equivalent. This course is offered at five schools in Ontario - Algonquin College - Pembroke Campus; College Boreal (french) - Sudbury; Lakehead University - Thunder Bay; Sault College - Sault St. Marie; and Sir Sandford Fleming College - Lindsay. Equivalent course might include a biology or other resource management related degree.

You needn't worry about your high school courses except as they may prepare you for college.


Question 69:

Laws regarding game and hunting often conflict with by-laws. Am I right about the following?

In the City of Toronto there is no hunting allowed, and no discharge of firearms permitted. Furthermore, the criminal code makes it an offence to leave poison out where it may be eaten by domesticated animals. It is also an offence leave traps, use snares or cause unnecessary suffering to any animal, all under differing laws.

That being said, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act clearly allows landowners (anywhere in the Province - including Toronto -since this is a provincial law) to kill animals like racoons or other nuisance animals if the land owner finds them destroying their property (digging up grubs in the lawn, dumping garbage cans, etc) or reasonably believes that they are about to do these things.

So, if these circumstances are met, it is legal to kill the animal provided you can do so while complying with all of the raodblocks thrown up in your path by the city by-laws and the criminal code, right? In other words, if you can send said racoon to the afterlife without using a firearm, trap, snare or poison, then the city can do nothing to prevent you from killing it, right? A quick blow over the head with a shovel or axe to the head comes to mind.

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You need to understand the heirarchy of laws and legislative authourity within our country. The authourity flows from the Constitution. A municipal law cannot be made about a subject, or override provincial authourity, or be made on a subject which is provincial jurisdiction. An example of provincial jurisdiction is the regulation of hunting. Similarly, provincial laws cannot be made or override things of a federal or national nature. So… Municipal bylaws do not and can not control hunting. They can only regulate the discharge of firearms. This can have the effect of restricting hunting, but the purpose and intent of the law can only be for public safety. In some cases, no discharge of firearms bylaws may make exceptions when dealing with nuisance animal control. I do not know if this is the case in Toronto.

Section 31 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act applies, as you have suggested, to the entire province. It allows a landowner to deal with nuisance animals by exempting that landowner (or their agent) from most, but not all, of the other sections of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. For example, it does not allow for the use of traps by an un-licenced individual. It also does not exempt the landowner from following any other laws - federal, provincial, or municipal. It also requires said landowner to capture or kill the nuisance animal in a way that is humane and causes the least amount of suffering. From this perspective, I am not sure that an axe or a shovel would be appropriate.

Nuisance animals in urban setting can cause a great deal of grief, as well as damage. Most often the best long-term solution is to determine what is attracting the animals and to remove or reduce the attraction. Killing an individual animal may be a short-tern solution if the attractant remains. Nature abhors a vaccuum, and often nuisance animals will keep on coming until whatever it is that is attracting them is no longer present


Question 68:

Is this a hole in the regs?:

In WMU 71 there is an open season for small game, deer and bear. There is also the usual southern Ontario restriction on no rifle greater than .275 calibre for small game:

"You may not use a rifle of greater calibre than .275, except a flint-lock or percussion cap muzzle-loading gun, FOR HUNTING SMALL GAME in the counties of...." Page 74, 2000 Hunting Regulations Summary (emphasis own)

Deer in WMU 71 - although not a controlled area - may only be hunted with "bows, shotguns and muzzle-loading guns only; no dogs" IBID, Page 68.

And Bear? The regs say only that "a rim-fire rifle, a shotgun smaller than 20 gauge when loaded with shot or any shorgun loaded with shot smaller than SG or number 1 buck CANNOT be used for hunting black bear." IBID Page 71 (emphasis theirs)

So, hunting bear with a 30-30 or 30.06 calibre rifle would be allowed in WMU 71 since bear is NOT small game (and therefore the .275 calibre restriction would not apply as it clearly refers only to hunting "small game"), and since no separate restriction on calibre usage has been placed on bear hunts, as with deer?

Is this right? Or are the regs just messing us up again?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You are correct in all of your logic. The .275 restriction is only for small game hunting and the shotguns only restriction is only for deer hunting. Ergo, .30 calibre firearms may be used during an open season for species (other than deer and small game) which do not have a specific maximum firearm restriction. This is not a loophole, there is simply no intent to do otherwise.


Question 67:

..... there is an open bear season in this WMU; therefore, blaze orange requirements would take effect while hunting 'small game other than waterfowl'. We are obviously NOT wearing blaze orange when out on a waterfowl hunt, so is it then ILLEGAL to even take a shot at a grouse if we are not wearing the requisite blaze garments?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The hunter orange requirements only apply to bear hunters during open bear gun seasons. You do not need to wear orange when hunting grouse, although it is still a good idea to do so.

During other big game gun seasons,(deer and moose) hunter orange requirements apply to all hunters, including grouse hunters. The only individuals that are exempted are waterfowl hunters. When you are hunting waterfowl, you are a waterfowl hunter; when you are hunting grouse, you are a grouse hunter.


Question 66:

I have a question regarding the possesion of lead shot while primarily hunting waterfowl. Where We hunt, there is a 2-3 km hike from the road to the marsh. Ruffed Grouse are numerous in this area, so I am used to taking a pair of LEAD 7.5s along with my STEEL 3" 2s and 4s. It is apparent to anyone who is familiar with this area that grouse are often seen on the trail, and many are flushed while we travel to the marsh. Sometimes grouse are even seen along the edges of the marsh, and offer potential shots while we are close to our blind.

Would we be contravening the laws by chambering a 'grouse load' while it is obvious (camo, chest waders, duck calls etc.) that we are primarily hunting waterfowl? What about having them in our possesion?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Absolutely! You simply cannot possess or use lead shot while hunting for waterfowl. I can only suggest that you may want to chamber a lighter steel load if you feel that you may have some pass shooting opportunities for upland game birds. There is certainly nothing restricting you from using steel shot on these birds.


Question 65:

Is it possible to get a summary of the areas in Ontario that have limited use rulling in effect? By this I refer to those areas that have "gates" across the roads, and restrict vehicular traffic. Also, how would a person travelling cross country on an ATV know when he enters such an area, if he was travelling trails instead of roads?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I am sorry, I am not sure that I understand the question or the term "limited use ruling".

If we are talking about private land, then the Trespass to Property Act applies to the entire province. Accessing private property by taking a cross country route is still trespass. The requirement under the Trespass to Property Act is that landowners post their properties at all the normal points of access. The ethical obligation on all sportsmen is to be aware of where private property lines exist if they are hunting or travelling in areas where there is private posted property. Nothing aggravates landowners more, or will turn a neutral person into an anti-hunter more quickly than a lack of respect for private property rights. Please take this responsibility seriously.

If we are talking about areas of Crown land which are closed because of forestry or other operations, I can only suggest that you contact the local office in the area that you are referring to as these closed areas change on a regular basis.


Question 64:

Are electronic callers legal for hunting coyote and fox in Ontario?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, you may use electronic devices for all hunting in Ontario with the exception of Wild Turkey and Migratory Birds.


Question 63:

"You may not use a rifle of greater calibre than .275 ...for hunting small game in the counties of ...".

This would infer that it is legal to use a rifle commonly referred to as a .270 Win to hunt small game in the specified counties. However, the actual projectile diameter is .277".

How does the MNR define calibre (projectile diameter, bore before rifling is cut, groove to groove, land to land, etc.) ? & on what value does the MNR determine compliance (actual measurement or the data stamp on the barrel (ie. .270 vs .30-30)) ?

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The MNR stance on this section is that we use the nominal calibre of the firearm in determining compliance. That is, even though as you have correctly suggested, the actual dimensions of a .270 cal. shell are .277, we accept that rifle as being a .270 and therefore treat it as a legal firearm within the restricted areas.


Question 62:

I was wondering if you could elaborate on the regulations relating to hunting waterfowl from a boat blind. I am under the impression that the boat must be anchored and the motor must be out of the water. Any more information would be greatly appreciated.

Asked August 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Your impressions are correct. See also question 55.


Question 61:

I have heard of moose hunters who carry an air PISTOL while hunting to take the occassional grouse. Is this practice legal? (we can assume they have a small game licence)

Asked August 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes this is legal as long as the pistol does not meet the Criminal Code definition of a firearm (i.e., muzzle velocity greater than 500 ft/sec). The pistol is a firearm under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.


Question 60:

I would like to know if I am legally allowed to put out salt lick or vegetable matter to entice a moose?

Asked August 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

There is not a legal issue with putting out bait for moose.See question # 37.


Question 59:

Can I build a duck blind on crown land? If yes, do I need to register it? Anything on this subject is welcome.

Asked August 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, you can build a blind on crown land. The placing of hunting blinds in Crown owned marshland is a privilege that the MNR continues to extend to hunters. Hunters need to investigate the ownership of a desired location prior to placing a blind to ensure that they are not locating their blind over private land. The blind does not need to be registered, although it is common practice in many areas for hunters to put their name on their blind. The placement of a blind on Crown land does not guarantee any rights to the use of that particular blind. However, usual hunter etiquette indicates that the "builder" should be reserved the ability to be the sole user for the opening day of the hunt.

Hunters are reminded that blinds should be portable and that hey be prepared to remove all materials if requested to do so by a Ministry official. As well, they are reminded that approvals are required to cut any trees growing on Crown Land. Federal and Provincial legislation prohibits any structure which may impede or otherwise interfere with navigation. You may be liable to charges and/or civil action if you construct a blind in the normal navigational channels which is subsequently hit by another boater.


Question 58:

Why does it take from May 15 till August 1 to find out if you have received an adult moose tag? Also I would like to know the reason why on a party application the party themselves cannot select the tag holder. We understand that it cannot be one of us that held one in the previous year. The reason we are asking this is that in out particular camp, all of our hunters cannot stay for the full week and a lot of times the hunter with the tag is one of these.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

The answer is in the statistics that you have likely reviewed in your hunting summary. As you can see, through pages 36 to 50, there are charts and charts and charts full of data. There are a total of 10 tables. Some of the key pieces of information include:

* There are over 103,000 applications to be processed, data must be entered, checked and rechecked for every application
* There are almost 20,000 tags to be issued
* There are over 65 wildlife management units in which moose are hunted
* There are the decisions around group or individual application, cow or bull, pool 1 or 2, choice 1 or 2, gun, archery or other special seasons
* There needs to be screening for ineligible hunters, hunters under suspension, multiple applications from the same hunter,...

OK, so what I am trying to say is that the moose tag process is an incredibly large and complex process. Achieving all of the above in 8-10 weeks is a success story!

What if I were to tell you that there are hunters out there, if the allocation of the tags were not random, who would simply buy enough licences in the names of people who have no intention of hunting, but would cover off the group size? These individuals are simply ripping off the honest hunters like yourself.

We, too, lose the opportunity to use tags in my hunt camp as hunters come and go, but I believe that is a small price to pay. The more loopholes we close off for the system to be manipulated or abused, the better it is for all honest hunters. While personally my hunt is about camaraderie and enjoying the hunt, and the meat is way down my list of priorities, there is still a need to make that meat available to as many hunters as possible. It is unfortunate that the system must be as complex as it is, but every nuance and layer that has been put into that system is there to make it better, fairer, and more equitable to the average hunter.


Question 57:

I have a bird dog that I have been doing some extensive training with. I am interested in obtaining some live birds to further his training. Due to their ability to recall I was planning on obtaining bobwhite quail. I have several questions surrounding this issue.

1) Do I require a special permit to obtain and release these birds for training purposes. If so, where do I obtain such a permit.

2) Is it legal to shoot these birds during the training.

3) Is their a specified training period for bird dogs. Common sense leads me to belive that I should keep my dog out of the woods in the spring while the grouse are having their young, but is this law?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

The regulations surrounding buying, selling, keeping, training and hunting of game birds are somewhat complex and can be to understand. I will attempt to clarify these regulations by walking step by step through the various activities or elements that you have asked about, using bobwhite quail as you have indicated. These same rules also apply if one were to use another game bird such as pheasant.

Step 1 - Buying Birds for Release
You need an authorization to release these game birds. This is a requirement under Section 46 of the FWCA, which prohibits the release of wildlife that has been kept in captivity without a permit. This permit is required whether you intend to hunt these birds with a gun during the open season or simply to train your dog on these birds during the closed season. You must buy birds from an individual who is licensed to Keep Game Birds in Captivity. This authorization simply allows you to release the birds, not to hunt them.

Step 2 Closed Season TRAINING
Section 26 of the FWCA states that one cannot train a dog on game birds during the closed season without an authorization. Training authorizations are available. They may restrict you as to locations and times.

There is no designated "training season" for bird dogs. However, you are headed in the direction when you suggest that molesting young birds may be an issue. For this reason, your training permit may be restricted with regards to time of year when you may train.

If your dogs injure, capture or harass wild birds, then you would be liable for hunting those same birds or animals, the same as if you had shot or shot at them in the close season.

Also, you will not be able to take a gun with you if you are doing any training in a game inhabited area.

The policy on training reads (in part):
"Authorization is only required for training or field trials using live game mammals or game birds. The species of game mammals or game birds will be specified in the authorization...Game bird (wild population) authorizations may include any species listed in schedule 3 of the Act excluding wild turkey. Birds that may be released for this activity under Subsection 54(1) of the Act are ring-necked pheasant and northern bobwhite quail."

HUNTING
You may only legally hunt (that is, shoot at and kill) the bobwhites which you have released during the open season for hunting these birds. You will be restricted to regular bag limits and also will require a small game hunting licence.

You do have some other options:

As one alternative, you may want to consider using birds that are not designated game birds. For example, you could obtain and use chukar partridge without the need for training permits and you would be able to shoot these birds year round as a part of the training process with your dog. You would still require an authorization to release these birds and a valid small game hunting licence.

Finally, the use of migratory birds is governed under the migratory birds regulations administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service and will not be included in any authorization. Pigeons (rock doves) are migratory game birds under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (Canada). Currently, the Canadian Wildlife Service does not require authorization for the release of pigeons under the MBCA. Therefore, the release of pigeons does not require authorization under the FWCA, but one would need a small game licence to hunt (and train on) these birds.


Question 56:

The M1-GARAND is an 8 shot semi-automatic .30-06. Under Canada's new firearm laws, autoloading centre fire rifles are limited to shots, with a few exceptions, one of which is the M1-GARAND. The hunting regulations state that centre fire rifles allowing more than 5 shots are prohibited (This statement is NOT correct) by Canada's firearms laws.

Is it legal to use an 8 shot M1-GARAND to hunt big game in Ontario? The regulations, by referring to Canada's firearms laws imply that it is.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

You are right and it is an error in our hunting summary. I have passed this observation on to the folks who produce the regulations summary.

As the federal firearms regulations are not ones which CO's are directed to enforce, I asked for help from the CFC. This is a reply which I received from the Canadian Firearms Centre "I would clarify that the M1 Garand is a non-restricted firearm. Although overcapacity magazines are prohibited devices (it is not the firearm but the magazine that would be prohibited in these circumstances), the magazine for the M1 Garand is not an overcapacity magazine since a specific exemption is made for it in the Regulations passed under Part III of the Criminal Code." In fact, what the hunting regulations summary say is that "..you cannot possess any clip/magazine that holds more than five shots for a semi-automatic centre fire rifle". We need to add a tail clause to that sentence which adds "unless that clip has been specifically exempted pursuant to the Firearms Regulations".


Question 55:

Can you please clarify what the provincial or federal regulations are for waterfowl hunting from a boat. Does the motor have to be up, off, or the boat just cannot be under power nor have any forward movement. Also, is there a certain distance as far as being too close to shore or too far away from shore.

I am under the understanding, that there is no limit as far as distance and that the motor can be in the water but not running or the boat cannot have any forward movement.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

You are very close. For the purpose of waterfowl hunting, one can hunt from a boat with the motor attached if the motor is out of the water and all forward motion resulting from the motor has stopped. In general, this allows you to hunt from a stationary boat blind or jump shoot from a motor boat that is either being rowed or is drifting with the current. Generally, there is no set distance that a boat or blind must be from shore, from another boat or distance between blinds. This is mostly just common sense, and when that fails, is covered by dangerous/careless hunting. However there are a few areas - Lake St Francis and the controlled waterfowl hunt areas of Lake St. Lawrence where minimum distances do apply. Also, some municipalities have bylaws prohibiting the discharge of firearms within specified distances of buildings, which may be a consideration. Contact your local bylaw officer to check on these bylaws.

You, of course, are allowed to engage your motor and fire from a motor boat when retrieving a crippled or wounded bird, but may only fire at that bird.

These rules only apply to migratory bird hunting and are not the same when hunting from a boat for other game. When hunting for moose, for example, your motor must be removed from the transom of the vessel, as the definition of a motor boat in the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act is any "..boat with a motor that is attached to the boat.."


Question 54:

I have assisted a bear guide for five years. Iiwould like to guide on my own. I have built up a good client base but I am having trouble getting any information from my local district office ( kemptville) I was looking for an area around the kemptville or pembroke offices. I have hunted and guided in both these areas in the past I was hoping an area had not been renewed in one of these districts. I know the ministry is short staffed and busy, but any information you could give me would be appreciated.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, I have no idea what Bear Management Areas might be open in either of those districts. I can only suggest that you contact the allocation technician for the areas. In the meantime, I have copied your question to the two respective District Managers (Kemptville and Pembroke)and received the following replies:

KEMPTVILLE:
"At the moment there are three vacant BMA's in the Kemptville District and we are planning on allocating these within the next couple of months. If this guy is interested he should contact me so I can have him fill out an application form." Jeff McNaughton Allocation Tech, KV.

PEMBROKE:
As you can imagine we have a higher demand for BMAs than we have available areas. To ensure fairness in the allocation of BMAs that become vacant, the procedure we follow in Pembroke District is:

  1. Request is received at the office (letter, telephone call, etc.)
  2. An application is sent to the requestor who completes it and returns it to the office. The application requires information such as:
    1. type of business
    2. years of experience
    3. are accommodations offered
    4. years of guiding experience
  3. The application is put on file until a BMA becomes vacant (available)
  4. The applicant is then advised of the vacant BMA and is asked to come in and look at the map and indicate whether they are interested and wish to participate in the allocation process
  5. Applicants that indicate their interest are evaluated (scored) under criteria such as:
    1. years of operation/guiding experience
    2. proximity to vacant BMA
    3. etc.
  6. The applicant that scores the highest is usually given the opportunity to take over the BMA
  7. In some instances where the vacant BMA is small, they will be combined with an adjacent BMA. This results in a larger BMA that is more sustainable from a one bear per a set number of sq. km.

I believe that most Districts follow a similar process."


Question 53:

If hunting in an area where the bow season for deer is open at the same time as the rifle season for moose, is it legal to carry both a bow and a rifle?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Absolutely! Remember, however, that where there is an open gun season, you need to meet the requirements for hunter orange apparel [i.e., 400 sq. in. of solid material above the waist, visible from all sides, plus a head covering].


Question 52:

I have just recently moved from Saskatchewan to Ontario. While in Sask my wife and I both enjoyed the thrill and challange of upland game bird and big game hunting. During the past 3 years I have aquired qualifications such as, non restricted firearms instructor,restricted firearms instructor, and have a senior instructors certification to teach hunter safety. I have been told that my hunter safety qualification is not valid in Ontario.I have no interest to teach now, however to obtain and outdoor card I have to retest. Why is it that Ontario feels that Sask hunter safety qualifications are not valid. Saskatchewan is well known throught North America for the high standards of there instructors and the hunter safety courses.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

You are right; the Saskatchewan SAFE program is well known as a quality program, as are those from many other jurisdictions. What is required of you, as it is of any hunter coming from another jurisdiction who is the holder of a resident licence from that jurisdiction, is this: You are given one attempt at the Ontario Hunter Safety exam. If you are successful in this first attempt, you will be issued an outdoors card from Ontario. If you were not successful on your first attempt at the exam, you would be required to take an Ontario Hunter Safety course before you would be eligible to take another attempt at the exam. While you may feel that this does not recognize the quality of the Saskatchewan program, please consider this:

It would be a bureaucratic and bookkeeping nightmare to try and keep track of and monitor every hunter safety program outside of Ontario. We would then have to make rules on obtaining a licence in Ontario on a province by province, state by state, country by country basis. (Remember that there are still states and provinces where one can get a hunting licence without a hunter safety course.) Secondly, even where there are outstanding hunter safety programs, (Germany comes to mind) there is a concern that a hunter coming from another jurisdiction may have no idea what the rules and regulations are in Ontario. Taking the exam at least forces one to review the hunting summaries and understand our rules. Thirdly, an exam is valuable as it sets a standard that all hunters must meet. As a field CO and as an Ontario hunter, I feel some comfort in the fact that there is a standard and no residents may hunt in Ontario until they have met this standard. Hunters in Ontario have a great safety record and I like to think that our hunter education course and this standard contributes to our safe track record. This is proven statistically by the fact that prior to the initiation of HS programs in the mid 1960's, 35-40 hunters per year were being killed. Last year 1999, there were no hunting fatalities reported in the entire province. Finally, I believe we are pretty much consistent with this approach. Across North America at least, most agencies take this or a similar approach to issuing hunting licences to new residents.


Question 51:

I would appreciate it if you could inform me of the laws regarding airplanes and hunting.

I would like to hire a "sight-seeing" plane to fly me around the area of NW Ontario (West of Thunder Bay) that we hunt. As there is no chance of doing this in the "off-season" (live in S Ontario)what are the laws in regards to doing this during the "open season". The main purpose of this flight would be to locate swamps/logging roads/etc., that could not be seen from either the ground or from maps, but I am also quite aware that one would see "game" at the same time.

I believe that in the "old days" you were not allowed to "hunt" on the same day that you flew ... was this/is this still true.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

If you are referring to the "old days" you must have a very good memory as I have been a CO for over twenty years and have never seen the regulation that you referred to. On the other hand, many other jurisdictions do have a time limit type regulation which says that you may not hunt for 12 or 24 hours after flying over the area. Not so here in Ontario.

The activity that you are referring to is covered in section 24 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which simply reads:
"Aircraft
(3) A person shall not use an aircraft while hunting."

Referring to the definition of hunting, which includes "searching for, pursuing,...", my response would be that if you spot a moose from the air and subsequently shoot that moose, you have violated this section - whether or not it was your intent when you started your flight to spot moose.

Clearly you are putting yourself in jeopardy by the activity that you are describing. It is only human nature to expect that if you were returning to the camp from your sightseeing tour and spotted a moose on the North side of the lake, that your subsequent hunting activity would not take place on the South shore where you had seen no moose. In fact, using the aircraft to merely look for game trails could be deemed to be hunting.

On the other hand, I understand clearly that one wants to have a feel for the lay of the land prior to adventuring out into remote areas. I would suggest the following options might better serve your purpose without jeopardizing your enjoyment of the hunt:

-You might put your hands on the most recent aerial photos of the area that you intend to hunt. These are available from a number of suppliers as well as the MNR Information Centers (Toronto and Peterborough) or the National Air Photo Library in Ottawa. You should ensure that you get the most recent photo available.
-If you really feel like you can only see what you want to see from an aircraft and cannot talk your wife into a summer fishing trip, you might want to consider getting up to your site a day or two prior to the start of the season, doing your flight during the closed season and then hunting when the season opens a day or two later.


Question 50:

Do the hunt clubs have a exclusive right to post and prevent others from hunting on crown land? Lake Nippising area. If they do have the exclusive right, how does one register a hunt territory with MNR or which ever department?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Hunt clubs DO NOT have the right to post and prevent others from hunting on Crown land. Anyone giving false notice without authourity is in contravention of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and liable to a penalty of up to $25,000.00


Question 49:

The M1-GARAND is an 8 shot semi-automatic .30-06. Under Canada's new firearm laws, autoloading centre fire rifles are limited to shots, with a few exceptions, one of which is the M1-GARAND.

The hunting regulations state that centre fire rifles allowing more than 5 shots are prohibited (This statement is NOT correct) by Canada's firearms laws.

Is it legal to use an 8 shot M1-GARAND to hunt big game in Ontario? The regulations, by referring to Canada's firearms laws imply that it is.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Strictly from the perspective of MNR legislation, there is no prohibition that restricts the use of semi-automatic rifles or the number of rounds that they may hold while hunting. I.e. There is nothing in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act that prohibits these weapons generally, or the M1-Garand specifically. (notwithstanding .275 calibre restrictions in SW part of the province)

Any restrictions regarding magazine capacity would be found in the federal firearms legislation. Interpretation of that legislation is beyond the scope of this site and needs to be answered by the federal firearms agency. You may contact them and ask questions about firearms legislation at: http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/default_e.asp.


Question 48:

I would like to know if you can please "shed some light" on the following:

1/ Is it permissable to "jack light" deer/game at night if you have ABSOLUTELY no guns/ammo etc. in your vehicle. This would be in regards to simply driving around "observing" wildlife at night. NOT HUNTING them in any way.

I have been given conflicting answers on the above with regards to it being during an OPEN SEASON, CLOSED SEASON, etc. and was hoping that you could perhaps answer in a more "official" capacity.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

The answer is that the answer is not simple. Let me explain.

The definition of hunt in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act reads:

"hunting" includes,

  1. lying in wait for, searching for, being on the trail of, pursuing, chasing or shooting at wildlife, whether or not the wildlife is killed, injured, captured or harassed, or
  2. capturing or harassing wildlife, except that "hunting" does not include,
  3. trapping, or
  4. lying in wait for, searching for, being on the trail of or pursuing wildlife for a purpose other than attempting to kill, injure, capture or harass it, unless the wildlife is killed, injured, captured or harassed as a result,
Using this definition you see that "jacklighting", even without a gun present in the vehicle, could be interpreted as hunting if the courts felt that the animals were being harassed as a result of the activity.

While you may feel than your individual activity may not amount to harassment, the deer may not agree with you!

Rural landowners, too, have shared with officers their concerns when high powered spotlights pan over their residences late at night. It can be very distressful to lay in bed and wonder if there is going to be a shot fired with the light.

My suggestion is because this is an activity which is open to interpretation and dependent upon some very fine nuances in behaviour, that you discuss your plans with your district enforcement supervisor in the area that you would like to engage in the activity. While some districts will tolerate some forms of night viewing, in others this has become such a problem that they will consider charges.


Question 47:

I have been seeing some Snow Geese mixed in with Canada Geese over the past while (during the late season hunt) and I'm wondering if any CO's have seen any as this is the first year I have seen them. They have been spotted as far East as in the Port Hope area and I have seen two mixed in with Canada Geese in Peterborough and in the Bowmanville and Pickering areas. Any help or information would be great as I did not think they were this far north ??

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Snow geese migrate from the Arctic, James and Hudson Bay regions, where they summer and raise their young. Their populations have increased incredibly over the past deacde, to the point where they are causing some serious habitat damage to Canada Geese nesting area's in the North. It is because these Canada Geese [which are a different subspecies of bird from our Southern Ontario Canada's, whose populations are skyrocketing!] bird populations are threatened by Snow Goose expansion that we have the various Goose seasons around the province. The seasons are attempting to harvest the surplus Southern birds, while the Northern Canada's are protected. Which is a long way of answering your question by saying that, as snow geese numbers are increasing dramatically, a few of more them are wandering off of their traditional Atlantic and Western Flyways and coming down through Central Ontario in our portion of the Mississippi flyway.


Question 46:

I have never had a gun before in my life and I would like to know all the steps required to buy,own,regester, and to be able to go hunting.Please inform me of how to aquire training,certificates and licences needed. Could you also inform me of where these courses are available and how much each one cost.I am 43 years old and I live in Wasaga Beach near Collingwood Ontario.Thank You very much to take the time to answer,what might seem silly questions from a person my age.

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

There are no such things as silly questions - only people too silly to ask questions! As far as purchasing, owning, registering, etc. of firearms is concerned, that is federal legislation. I can suggest a document called "Understandng Canada's Firearms Law", produced by the Canadian Firearms Centre, CFC also has a lot of excellent information at their web site at: http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/Default-en.html

As far as the hunting end of things are concerned, you should be able to get a "one stop shopping" course in your area, which will get you trained and examined for both your hunting licence certificate as well as your Firearms Act requirements.

The local MNR area office in Midhurst or your local OPP detachment should be able to direct you to an instructor/examiner who teaches both Hunter Safety and Firearms safety. The course is a minimum of 19 hours and there are both written (short answer/multiple choice) and practical firearms handling portions to the examinations.


Question 45:

How powerfull are those lead testers as i reload an am wondering it the testers will pick up the traces of lead from once fired AA hulls

Asked on March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Absolutely not possible! And, if for some reason, there was a positive reading the field tests would be backed up with a controlled lab test. You will not be charged for shooting lead unless you are shooting lead.


Question 44:

We are haveing a discusion on rabbit hunting and i was told that a air rifle are alowed for rabbit hunting i say no way but the other guys say not a prob please help.

Asked on March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Pay up! Your friends are right. While it may not be a recommended load, it is not illegal.


Question 43:

My question involves crossing the U.S./Manitoba border. I am going to Bissett, and want to know which port would be best? I will be transporting 2 firearms and will this be an issue?

Asked on February 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Sorry, I am a Conservation Officer for Ontario. I would not even try to give you advice about Federal legislation in another province/country.

You may be able to get more information from:

http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/Default-en.html


Question 42:

I can not find any reference to porcupine hunting in the ontario regs. May I hunt them in ontario

Asked on February 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, in general you may hunt any animal year round except:

- "game animals", or

- "specially protected wildlife " or

- any other bird that belongs to a species that is wild by nature and is not a game bird (except crows, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds, red-winged blackbirds, house sparrows, grackles)

This would include such animals porcupines and groundhogs. These animals are still protected in that the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act still applies. Therefore you still require a hunting licence, must comply with all other hunting rules like unloaded in a vehicle, plugged shotgun, etc., but there is no closed season and there is not a limit on the number of animals which may be hunted.


Question 41:

I hunt with reloads i was told that if the officer stopped me he would confiscate some of my shells to see if they were steel if so how many would het ake, would he do this every time and would he return them just wondering what would happen

Asked on February 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

In this situation, because the lead shot regulations are under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, officers would be guided by that Act with regards to their enforcement authorities. That Act says that:

" For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations, a game officer may, …, enter and inspect any place in which the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, there is any thing to which this Act or the regulations apply … and the game officer may

  1. open or cause to be opened any container that the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, contains any such thing …
  2. inspect the thing and take samples free of charge;…
  3. seize any thing by means of or in relation to which the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, this Act or the regulations have been contravened or that the game officer believes, on reasonable grounds, will provide evidence of a contravention."

The key word which any officer has to work with in that section is reasonable. There will be a requirement in a court of law for the officer to justify the reasonableness of the search and seizure. Once the officer is comfortable that this is the case, then the seizure can be effected. Seized items may be: sent for analysis, kept for court, permanently forfeited, or returned.

In the specific situation which you have described, an officer who believes that you are using illegal shot may, in some cases, be able to do simple do a field test right on the spot on a number of your shells. If they test negative for lead, end of story. If not….


Question 40:

I have noticed that a good number of waterfowlers are still using lead on the sly. I am curious as to what measures MNR enforcement use in order to collar these guys, what are the fines and punishments etc.

Asked on December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

Well, without giving away any 'trade secrets' I can only suggest that some officers are now carrying "lead testers" in the field. That being said, one of our most valuable tools in catching these thieves is YOU. I say thieves because anyone who takes any resource illegally is literally stealing fish and game and the opportunity to enjoy them from legal hunters and anglers. Would you stand by and say/do nothing if this thievery was happening in your home? The maximum penalty under the Migratory Birds Convention Act is $50,000.00 and six months in jail. The out-of-court fine, should an officer wish to give an offender this option when committing this offence is.


Question 39:

Who is the leading authority in Ontario or Canada on coyotes? Please supply a telephone number or email address, thank you.

Asked on December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

For information on fish and wildlife biology and management, you should have a look at the MNR home page at www.mnr.gov.on.ca ; to answer specific questions you can contact the MNR's Information center

By e-mail at: mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca

By phone at: 1-800-667-1940 (in Toronto 314-2000)

By conventional mail at: Ministry of Natural Resources Natural Resources Information Centre P.O. Box 7000 300 Water St. Peterborough, ON K9J 8M5

 


Question 38:

Could you tell me why canada geese could be so tender and the next one so tough. We recently shot 3 canada geese and we cooked them all in the same fashion and 2 canada's were so tough we could hardly bite into it, the 3rd one could be eaten with a fork. Why ! Why ? please explain.

Asked on December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

Sorry, my friend. CO stands for Conservation Officer - it's not the first two letters of "COOK". I don't have a clue - could be age, diet, stress…same thing often occurs in deer….

 


Question 37:

There has been some discussion about this, and I have been unable to find it in the regulations.

I know the recently cancelled spring bear hunt allowed for baiting bears, and this served a useful purpose in identifying sows with cubs. However, is it legal to bait bears in the fall, or bait deer, moose, etc.? How do buck lures, etc., fall into this? Are there restrictions on types of bait, distance, etc.?

Asked on December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

There are no restrictions on the use of baits (or scents, or lures) in Ontario, except those which restrict the use of bait for migratory birds and Wild Turkey. This means that you can use either food or scents to attract deer, bear, moose, or most any other game animals. That being said, you need to also be cognizant of the Public Lands Act, which regulates the use of Crown Lands, including littering or otherwise depositing material on public land. If you were to get over-zealous with you depositing and under-zealous with your clean up, you may find yourself in conflict with this piece of legislation.

 


Question 36:

Last month we had a discussion while moose hunting. If I shoot a moose just before legal hunting time and it takes off in to the bush what should I do. On one hand I am obligated to find it. On the other hand I am not allowed to carry a loaded and uncased fire arm after legal hunting time. The weather is mild. How would a CO answer that question.

Asked on November 29/99

Answer from the MNR:

The short answer is that there is no way that we will condone or endorse the carrying of a firearm at night…it also reminds me of the many times I used to check hunters at night “looking for their dogs”. The wily, old warden that I worked with would always ask, “What’s the gun for, ya gonna shoot ‘em?” OK, seriously. First, there is nothing in law that says you are ‘obligated’ to find this animal. It is only the Migratory Birds Convention Act that makes it an offence not to “immediately retrieve,…” That being said there is certainly a moral and ethical obligation. You have some options, including:
 
if you believe that you have mortally wounded the animal, you can still follow the blood trail, tracks, etc. after the one half-hour after sunset time without a firearm. Finding the animal dead and proceeding to dress it out etc. is legal after this time
 
if you have wounded the animal, but not mortally, you can leave the animal overnight and follow up the next day
 
you always have the option of discussing this, or any other situation where you feel that you are caught in a legal bind with your local conservation officer. Discussing possible options before you take action will always put you in a better light than trying to scramble around after you have been contacted in one of these awkward situations by an officer.

 


Question 35:

Why in this day and age of "free for all" Sundays, what with malls, stores, beer/liquor stores, etc. being open, are we not allowed to gun hunt on a Sunday in the area south of the Fench/Mattawa River area (other than the few exceptions as listed in the regulations)?

What is the reasonong behind this and is there any hope of this changing in the near future?

How do the exceptions in the regulations (Northumberland Cty, Renfrew Cty, etc.) allow this and not everywhere else?

Asked on November 29/99

Answer from the MNR:

This is a regulation with a long history going back to the “blue laws” days, in which the decisions to allow or not allow activities on Sunday (hunting, movie theatres, store opening, etc.) was almost literally a township by township decision. These regulations, like all regulations, are subject to change. However, you must realize that hunters only make up less than 10% of the population. Others may feel that they have a right to enjoy public areas as well and would likely prefer to engage in their activity (be that hiking, outdoor photography, mushroom picking,…) in a non-hunting atmosphere. There has also traditionally been a “fair chase” argument which suggests that the critters, too, deserve a day of rest.

 


Question 34:

After a succesfull Moose Validation Tag Draw involving a group application, can the person receiving the tag refuse to hunt with the original group that he applied with and then use this tag to form another party thereby denying his original group the opportunity to harvest the adult moose that they were all instrumental in applying for.

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes this is allowed as the group is formed strictly for the purpose of the application. The final 'party' can be all, part, or none of the original group. Of course, it would certainly be the first and last time that this would happen…..


Question 33:

Do I need to plug my 12 guage shotgun, so it can only hold 2 shells in the magazine, when I'm hunting deer or grouse?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, the regulation which restricts the number of shells in a shotgun to three (one in chamber, two in the magazine) apply to all hunting, regardless of species.


Question 32:

The way I read the 1999 hunting regulation book I believe it says that I can hunt grouse in Northumberland County, in the Port Hope area on Sundays now. I this correct?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

What you should be reading is that you may hunt on Sundays in:

"iii) the Township of Haldimand in the County of Northumberland; "

This township is east of Port Hope and Coburg, but in the same county. It is only the Haldimand township portion of Northumberland county that allows Sunday hunting. It is one of several areas in southern Ontario including Renfrew County (except Raglan Twp) and the counties of Prescott and Russell where one may hunt on Sundays.


Question 31:

Is it legal to hunt with a bow within city limits since it is ok to bowfish in the same area?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

If the bow season is open for the species you are seeking, then from MNR's perspective, you may hunt anywhere in that management unit. HOWEVER, you must check with the city to determine what restriction they may have regarding discharge of firearms and what definition they may have for firearms. Some municipalities restrict or prohibit the discharge of shotguns and rifles only; others may include longbows, crossbows and others in their definition of firearm. Of course, there are some municipalities which do not have discharge of firearms bylaws.


Question 30:

While deer hunting in the woods, I found a dead deer that had been (poorly) shot by another hunter several days earlier. The meat had spoiled. If the meat had been good and I wanted to keep the deer, would I have to affix my tag to the deer in order to keep it?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Definitely NOT. It is illegal to attach your tag to an animal shot by another person. The exception this prohibition is the exemption which allows you to tag an animal of another person who is party hunting with you. In the circumstances described above I would strongly advise against doing anything with a animal which has been found until an officer has been contacted and may attend the scene to investigate. The investigating officer may do a number of things including: seize the deer and send for forensic examination, take the deer and deliver to a charitable organization, or he may release the animal to the individual who found it.

Try to think about why we cannot tell you to take this deer, no questions asked. Can you imagine how many deer would be "found, shooter unknown" if that was the ticket for not having to tag a perfectly good freshly killed deer!


Question 29:

I am seeing hunters using tracking collars on their dogs to see wich way a chase is moving. They then radio their buddies to stop the chase. Is this a legal procedure?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, this is legal as there are no restrictions on the use of electromagnetic devices (cell phones, walkie talkies, etc.) while hunting.


Question 27:

IS THERE A MISTAKE IN THE HUNTING REGS REGARDING THE ARCHERY SEASONS - DEER, PAGE 27, WMU 89?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

I am not sure what you are referring to here…can you suggest what you think the error is?


Question 26:

I am 20 years old and from a family of non-hunters, but I enjoy hunting of all kinds. I don't have many other people to go out deer hunting with, and since it is dangerous to go alone my dad often comes with me for company. He doesn't have a hunting license, but he enjoys being with me, and dresses in orange just to be safe. We were told that is illegal for him to do this and he can be charged with illegal hunting even if isn't carrying a gun? How can this be? Aren't crown lands open for everyone to use, not just hunters during hunting season? How can he be charged for simply walking around in the bush with me?

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

This practice is absolutely legal if the non-hunter does not actively participate in the hunt. Let me give you a couple of scenarios to explain this:

a) in our hunt camp we have a member who is a non-hunter. On occasion, he goes out with one of the 'doggers', walking alongside him and talking photographs. This is perfectly legal as he is not an integral part of the chase. Equally legitimately, he sometimes sits on a watch with another hunter (only one gun) and takes photos, visits, etc.

b) in the same scenario, if the non-hunter decided that he wanted to walk by himself in the same general area and thus function as an additional 'dogger', then that would mean he is now meeting the definition of "hunt" and would need a licence.

Clearly, anyone can simply walk around on crown (or private, with permission) land but once there is any indication that they are actively involved in 'chasing, pursuing, in search of,…" then they are liable to the requirement for a hunting licence and may be charged if they do not have one - whether or not they have a firearm!


Question 25:

If 3 members of a hunting party apply for and receive a bull moose tag, can a 4th person join the party and still be eligable to hunt under the parties bull moose tag

Asked on November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Absolutely, as indicated in the question above about group applications, once the tag has been allocated the group may expand, contract, dissolve, or remain exactly the same.


Question 24:

My hunting partner and myself were wondering if we are permitted to hunt for ducks and geese along the Lake Ontario shore east of Darlington Prov. Park? Who owns the property along the lakefront? My partner noticed a couple of blinds set up in the area.

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

Please see the response to the question below: WMU 72B. As far as land ownership is concerned, again that is something that you can check with at the municipality. MNR does not keep land tenure records.


Question 23:

I have seen a vast amount of wterfowl in the area of the 401 and 115 as well as around the Taunton Road area. They have been in the corn fields which is in WMU 72B area. Can you hunt for waterfowl in this area of Taunton Road (Taunton, Hampton areas) if permission is granted by the farmer ??

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, from the MNR’s perspective there are open seasons for waterfowl in that area (Ducks – Sept 25 to Dec 31, Geese Sept 25 to Dec 31 and Jan 15 to Jan 22 and Feb 17 to 29) However, local townships may pass their own Discharge of Firearms bylaws. Therefore you should check with the municipal office before heading afield. All assuming of course, landowner permision, as you have indicated, has been granted.


Question 22:

I would appreciate any quantitative data about deer populations in WMU's 59 and 63 (deer/square kilometer, buck:doe ratio, harvest data, etc.) Thanks.

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

You should contact the local district offices Pembroke (WMU 59) and Kemptville (WMU 63) they produce a Deer Hunters report which gives the ‘state of the nation report’ type information, including population trends, tags allocated, success rates, etc. Some very good reading!


Question 21:

I am having an argument (friendly of course) with fellow hunters regarding the use of a doe tag while party hunting. Certain individuals seem to think that since they have an anterless tag, they can leave it at the "camp" after they leave and that it can be used by anyone in the "camp".

I have told them that I am 99.9999% certain that this is not the intention of a tag for use in party hunting. They state that it does not say this specifically in the regulations, but I in turn argue that it does under "getting together at the kill site and affixing tags, etc."

Does the person actually issued the tag have to be actively hunting for the tag to be used? Does this mean he must be "afield" or what is the clarification there?

Your answer will finally put an end to this "debate".

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

The short answer is you are right and I hope you bet your pals lots of money. Let me tell you why you are right.

First, lets have a look at the definition of party hunting…[FWCA Hunting Reg. Sec 1] “A reference to "a party" in relation to hunting means two or more persons hunting the same species of animal under the following conditions:

1. The animal being hunted is moose, deer or bear and each person has a valid licence to hunt moose, deer or bear, respectively.

2. Each person has agreed to hunt the species co-operatively during a period in an area that can reasonably be hunted by the persons during that period so that the intended objective of the hunt can be achieved.”

Well from this we can see that the individual who has left the camp, is obviously no longer hunting in the party and therefore must take his tag with him. So, in answer to your question, yes, the individual must be out hunting with the group when the animal is killed for his tag to be used.

The second part of this answer is that the regulations also cover off and make it an offence to conveniently ‘forget’ your tag at the camp. Specifically it is an offence to “do anything to enable someone else to use a licence, or any component of a licence, that was issued to the person”


Question 20:

Can I bowhunt for deer on Sundays in WMU 75?

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

There are two parts to this answer. The first is part is, “generally, can I hunt with a bow on Sundays?” and the answer that is, yes, because the section [Section 66 of the FWCA Hunt Regs] specifically says “A person shall not carry or discharge a firearm, other than a long-bow or a cross-bow, for the purpose of hunting on a Sunday, in,…..”

The second part is does the season for WMU 75 include any Sundays and the answer to this is yes, as well.

By the way, many folks have asked, and the answer is yes, you can use your bow during the open season for firearms as well as the archery only seasons.


Question 19:

What is the law with respect to party hunting for deer. Is there a maximum distance of separation between hunters or can hunters be out-of-site of each other provided they have a means to communicate (i.e., cell phones, whistles, etc.).

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

The law, specifically says:

“A reference to "a party" in relation to hunting means two or more persons hunting the same species of animal under the following conditions: 1. The animal being hunted is moose, deer or bear and each person has a valid licence to hunt moose, deer or bear, respectively. 2. Each person has agreed to hunt the species co-operatively during a period in an area that can reasonably be hunted by the persons during that period so that the intended objective of the hunt can be achieved.”

FWCA Hunting Regulations, O.Reg.665/98, subsection.1(2)

Now, clearly, there are no references to specific or maximum distances, so the short answer to your question is there are no regulated distances. In these circumstances, CO’s are guided by the intent of the legislation and by the principle of reasonable-ness. The original intent of allowing party hunting was to allow for the ‘traditional hunt camp’ type of situation, where a group of lads would leave home and all meet at a cabin in the woods for a week and hunt deer. In this context, it is reasonable that they may, for some periods of time, be out of sight of each other [by the way, I hope that this is the ‘sight’ (visual) that you were referring to and not ‘site’, meaning location] provided that they can still communicate with each other and have an effective means of notifying other members when an animal has been killed. That communication may be by means of whistles, gunshots, or any of the traditional signals that hunters have always used. More recently, hunters have been able to enlarge their hunting areas by using the more modern technology that you referred to (walkie-talkies, cell phones), etc. There have been discussions about changing the definition of ‘party hunting’ so that this new technology is specifically prohibited for the purposes of defining the party. However, this topic is still under discussion and no decision has been made. Keep in mind however, that the definition above does say “in an area” and the legislators did not intend that area to be dozens of miles. So, even if you could call your pal who is hunting twenty or so miles away using a cell phone, you likely have stretched the definition beyond the limits of reasonable and may have to defend your decision in court. Sorry, I wish there was a simple answer to this question….if you have any doubt that your group’s practices may not be viewed as within the interpretation of party hunting, discuss your concerns with your local CO. (before they become an issue!!)


Question 18:

I have an original, black powder muzzle loading 16 ga shotgun. Is it legal for me to use Lead shot in this historic gun to harvest ducks and geese?

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

Sorry, but the restriction under the Migratory Birds Convention Act Regulations is for using lead shot, period. There are no exemptions based upon the source of the shot. The waterfowl that are eating the lead and dying likely don’t care much either!


Question 17:

In the Onatrio Summary it lists WMU65 season open Nov 5 to Dec31ST in the federal it lists gees season WMU65 open from Oct 23 to Dec 31. There seems to be some confusion on the actual open seasons, can you clarify?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

You are right, there is an error in the summary. The correct season for Division 65 for this year is October 23- December 31.


Question 16:

Is it legal to fish while at the same time you are hunting. This would specifically refer to duck hunting out of a blind or while anchored (obviously not while under power). Is it legal to have a fishing line in the water while waiting on the next flock of ducks to appear? Years ago I was told by two separate CO's ... two different answers (1 yes, 1 no). Furrther, what if two people are in the boat, 1 hunting (only 1 gun in boat) and the other is fishing (only one fishing rod in the boat) ... would this be legal?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes you may fish and hunt at the same time in the circumstances as described. And yes, it would certainly be legal for two individuals in a boat to be one angler and one hunter - or even to, in the circumstances as described above, both hunt and fish. What you need to avoid doing is having a loaded firearm in a powerboat in circumstances other than those described above (stationary blind).


Question 15:

How would I go about finding out if someone in the past was convicted of a fish or wildlife offense?

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

You need to contact the provincial Attorney General's office and apply under the Freedom of Information Act. MNR's conservation officers have quick and easy access to this, but generally speaking, the public has to follow the application process which is more involved.

 


Question 14:

Often when I am hunting big game I bring along my 410 for partidge slung across my back. When I'm in the mood I'll sling my rifle acroos my back and the shotgun goes into my hands. My son just passed the hunter ed course and is now in the hunter apprenticship program. My question is - instead of me carrying both firearms , can he carry the 410? We'll be side by side and following the rules,just I can finally not have to carry 2 firearms.

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

Sorry ... under the apprenticeship program, you and your son are permitted one firearm between the two of you. He shares your limit ... and your gun, until he turns 15 years of age and becomes elligible to buy his own Outdoor Card and hunting licence.


Question 13:

Please can you tell me why when I apply as soon as I can I never get doe tags and two of the fellows I hunt with get one for nine years in a row. We hunt the same area and have hunted together for over 20 years and these same guys continue to get doe tags.

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

Those who apply early in the draw do not have a better chance of obtaining an antlerless tag than those who apply near the end of the deadline(usually July 31). Why do those two other guys receive doe tags and you don't ... even for 9 years in a row? LUCK ... that's all there is to it. Some guys are just plain lucky. This Antlerless Draw, is a computer draw based on random chance. There is no pool 1 or pool 2 status(like the moose draw) so everyone who applies in that WMU has an equal chance at a receiving a doe tag. Tell your buddies who are lucky in the antlerless draw, to buy lottery tickets ... they probably will win there too!


Question 12:

What recourse is there if any, to a hunter that was successful in the antlerless draw (normal gun season) and is unable to find the tag/sticker issued via the mail? It had not been placed on the game seal yet.

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

No problem! This can happen to anyone. A few years ago it happened to me! Just go into your closest district MNR office with ID, your Outdoor Card, and $7.75. The friendly MNR Client Services Clerk will verify the information on the computer and then issue you a duplicate tag.


Question 11:

I recently shot a Canada Goose in the Peterborough area. The goose had the standard metal band on it but there was also a plastic band on the other leg which is black with yellow lettering (KO1) on it. The banding people did not know anything about this band but I have seen a vast amout of these banded geese in the Peterborough area. Where do these bands come from ?? Thank you for your assistance.

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

That bird K01 (black with yellow code) was banded just south of Peterborough on a farmer's pond on Bensfort Road. It was banded June 29, 1999 as an Adult Female.

Editors Note: IMPORTANT - The MNR would like to hear from the person that posted this question, please leave your email address on the Ask The MNR CO page and I will email to you the contact information at the MNR.

Thank you.......Glenn

 

 


Question 10:

Regarding property and ownership, if I am in a boat does a landowner have the right to refuse access to waters around their property? At what point does the landowners property begin?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

There is no one simple answer to this question. In some cases, yes the landowner does indeed have the right to refuse access to waters around his/her property. For instance, you may not access public waterways via private property. In many of the rivers and streams which are not normally used for navigation purposes, the owners of the property surrounding the stream can prohibit access. In a lake, there are cases where the property owner does have legal rights (for a specified distance which varies from one lake to the next) extending out from his/her shoreline. In other lakes, the landowners property extends to the shoreline and no further. My advice is that when you are fishing around someones dock for instance from a boat, and you see the owner along shore, you kindly ask permission to fish around the dock. Most cottage owners will respect your courtesy and allow you fish there.


Question 9:

Where can I find articles regarding taking or attempting to take out of season, taking in an illegal place, improper license, illegal method, possession, procedure, importation,taking, and the sales of wildlife.

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

The Ministry of Natural Resources routinely creates and distributes News Releases on the above fish and wildlife crimes, and then sends them out to the media. Outdoor writers for newspapers and magazines regularly include the details of these newsreleases in their articles. You can also check out the MNR website at: www.mnr.gov.on.ca to read these newsreleases in their entirety.


Question 8:

I often hunt roads far from highways. A recent newspaper article said that one of the most common chargeable offenses is shooting from a road or roadway. Is there a strict definition on what constitutes a road or roadway? How do I know if I'm breaking the law?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

The Hunting Regulation Summary states that:" You must not discharge firearms from or across any highway or road in any county or regional municipality designated in the Regulations or from or across the travelled portion in any other area. Generally, you are not allowed to have a loaded firearm between the fences, or if no fences, within eight metres, of the travelled portion of a King's highway, secondary highway, county road or a maintained township road in parts of Ontario as listed in the Regulations. Thes regulations apply year round in most of Ontario south of the French -Mattawa River system, however in some areas of southern Ontario, they only apply during the open season for deer." So, if in doubt as to the definition of a specific road or roadway and the legality of hunting, we advise that you contact the closest MNR district office for more specific information.


Question 7:

The reply to the previous question on this topic states that up to 4 hunters can apply on one form, and that if one of the 4 is successful, so are the other 3, and if one of the 4 is unsuccessful, so are the other 3. This seems to be a contradiction. Isn't each individual successful or not? How can you be both?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

Lets try this again. The original question refered to a Controlled Deer Hunt which takes place each fall in southern Ontario. Each Controlled Deer Hunt has an application number on the top right hand corner. You may include up to four names on the application. The entire application goes into the Controlled Deer Hunt Draw. If that application form is drawn in the computer draw ... then all four applicants are successful. If it is not picked by the computer, then all four hunters are unsuccessful and cannot hunt in the controlled hunt.


Question 6:

What is the time limit is to retrieve your ducks after you shoot them.

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

Every reasonable effort must be made to retrieve the ducks as soon as possible after you shoot them. MNR C.O.'s realize that sometimes it may take awhile to find and gather them up; other times, you can retrieve them right away. So ... you won't find an MNR C.O. hidden in the blind next to you with a stop watch!


Question 5:

What regulations are in place to protect the over-harvesting of snapping turtles and what are the export rules?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

MNR is concerned about managing snapping turtle populations in Ontario. To this end there are special regulations in place which limit the number of snapping turtles you may harvest. You cannot take more than 2 per day, nor may you possess more than a total of 5. You must have a current Outdoors Card with the appropriate fishing validation tag. You may only take snapping turtles by box or funnel traps or by your own hands (MNR takes NO responsibilty for lost fingers!) You may not remove the upper shell from the turtle until immediately before you eat it. There are also open and closed seasons throughout the province for those wishing to harvest snapping turtles. These are outlined on page 55 of the 199 hunting regs. In WMU 78 and throughout much of southern and central Ontario, the open season is from July 15 to September 15. If you wish to export snapping turtles outside of Ontario you will NOT require an Export Permit from MNR. You may need to show customs officials that you have a valid fishing licence and Outdoor Card to prove that you obtained the snapping turtles legally. Might be a good idea to carry a copy of the Fishing and Hunting Regs with you to in case you need to point out the section regarding snapping turtle harvest in Ontario.


Question 4:

Why is one not allowed to apply for the controlled hunt in more than one unit? Obviously, you should not be allowed to get a permit for more than one unit, but both the moose tag and doe tag lottery systems allow for 2 choices of units.

Asked on September 14/99

Answer from the MNR:

I think you are confusing the two types of Controlled Hunts that we have. Yes, there is a controlled hunt with just one choice. This however is for "FARMER-LANDOWNERS", who presumably have one piece of property in which they wish to hunt on. They fill out an application, and assuming they fit the criteria, they are automatically elligible to hunt with shotgun on their own property and within the WMU that their property is located. IF they are a farmer, then they can obtain a FARMERES DEER LICENCE for $16.00, instead of the regular deer licence for $24.00.

The 2nd controlled hunt applies to many more people. This is made up of a special form which is available at MNR offices and must be submitted by August 31 every year. A maximum of four hunters can apply on one form. With the regular controlled hunt YOU DO HAVE A 1st and 2nd CHOICE. You can pick 78A for instance as your first choice and 78B as your 2nd. You can even choose an early (1st week in Nov)hunt,for your 1st choice and the late hunt (1st week in Dec.) in the same WMU division(or different)as your 2nd choice.

In regular controlled hunts, we 'control' the number of hunters who can hunt in that section of the WMU (eg 78A 77C) during both early and late hunts. Successful applicants are picked at random by computer, and notified in the mail if they were successful. If one person on an application of four is successful, the other three are as well. Likewise, if one person isn't ... the rest aren't either.


Question 3:

Do Conservation Officers have the right to obtain information about my firearm. ie.serial number,registration?

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, Conservation Officers are Peace Officers under the Criminal Code. This means that authourity is given to them under the Code to deal with criminal offences. That is why we may arrest, for example, an impaired drivers whom we may contact in the course of checking hunters or anglers. At the same time, Criminal Code enforcement is not our mandate. So we do not do Code enforcement except as it comes to our attention coincidental to our mandated tasks of resource enforcement.

All of this comes under federal jurisdiction, not provincial. Right now our C.O's do not routinely ask for this type of information. However CO's could (in a co-operative effort with police) check and record serial numbers, or check to see whether a firearm has been registered or not, if the situation warrants. MNR has cooperated with other enforcement agencies to assist with firearm identification to verify stolen firearms.


Question 2:

I have a license to trap private lands in the Sault district, can I leave the Sault district and trap private lands in another district using the same license? What is the provincial policy with regard to this matter?

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

Your licence would have to be transferred to the new district. You should contact that new district of your intentions and to obtain a new number. There is a secondary licence which you may be able to obtain if you wish to trap in another district which is adjacent to the Sault district. Call the office there for more details.


Question 1:

Last year our group harvested a bull moose but the hunter holding the tag had to leave the bush the following day. We hung to meat and the remainder of us stuck around for a few days to hunt calfs and birds. We were not stopped by the MNR while transporting the meat on the way out but were curious as to how we would prove to them that the tag holder was actually among us when we took the bull. The game was tagged and all we had was the tag holders licence number.

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

That is correct. You may transport game killed by another individual, but should be prepared to answer questions that an officer may have as well as the details (i.e. the name. phone,licence number, etc. of the shooter) Of course, the officer may want to investigate and follow up to ensure that the tag holder was, in fact, there and that is probably what will happen.

Next time ... Have the guy with the tag who shot the bull make an appearance at the closest MNR office or at an OPP station. He should inform them of the situation, and supply everyone's (in the group) tag #'s and Outdoor Card #'s, their names, addresses, phone #'s, to the OPP or MNR office.