Ask a CO: Can I carry a firearm outside of hunting seasons?

by Editorial Staff | May 8, 2024
hunter with firearm stalks off into the horizon

Q: I just purchased a non-restricted survival rifle. Can I bring it camping, canoeing, etc., on public land, outside of legal hunting seasons? Is there any issue with carrying full metal jacket loads?

Karlis Jansons, Toronto

A: In the absence of evidence to the contrary, possession of a firearm in a wildlife-inhabited area is considered proof of hunting. In Ontario, direct conflict with wildlife is very rare. The incidence of injury caused by wildlife to individuals who live, work, and play in remote areas is extremely low. If you feel it is necessary to carry a firearm for protection, it and the ammunition you are using should be sufficient to dispatch an animal quickly and humanely.

Firearm ammunition

While it is not illegal in Ontario to use full metal jacket ammunition, this type of ammunition was not designed for hunting wildlife and may not be the most efficient means of ensuring a quick kill. It is the responsibility of the shooter to select appropriate ammunition that complies with regulatory requirements under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 or Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (where they exist) and is sufficient for the purposes they are using it for.

Carrying a firearm may not be the best solution if you are truly concerned about wildlife attacks. It is recommended that you take every measure to deter wildlife from approaching you. Check www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise for tips on what to do when encountering a wild animal.

ANSWERS BY: David Critchlow, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF

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Originally published in the April 2023 edition of Ontario OUT of DOORS. Ask a CO is a regular feature in the print edition.

Please check the most recent Ontario hunting and fishing regulations summaries, as rules and regulations can change.

For more instalments of Ask a CO, click here

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