Ask a CO: Carrying multiple firearms

by Emily Convery | October 13, 2017

Here are some of our most helpful questions and answers from the “Ask a CO” section of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

multiple firearms

Q: During the black-powder season for deer, can you carry both a muzzleloader and a crossbow at the same time? I was unable to find or maybe missed these items in the regulations.

-Jim Plumley, Athens

A: Generally, yes, during a “black-powder” season for deer you may carry a muzzle-loading gun and/or a bow, including a crossbow. There are some exceptions –— WMUs 76E, 91, and 92 do not allow bows during the “black-powder” seasons, only muzzle-loading guns.

Q: While coyote hunting in southern Ontario, is it legal to possess a loaded shotgun as well as a loaded rifle while on stand or in a blind?

-Kevin Murphy, Mississauga

A: You are faced with several different scenarios. Each will have its own answer.

-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of shotguns and rifles and also hunting deer, then you can carry a shotgun and a rifle.

-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of shotguns but not rifles and you are also hunting deer, then you can carry a shotgun but not a rifle.

-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of guns but you are not hunting deer, then you can carry a rifle, but it cannot be a rifle with a greater muzzle energy than 400 foot pounds (i.e. needs to be a rimfire rifle).

-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that does not allow the use of guns and you are also hunting deer, then you cannot carry any type of gun but will be restricted to hunting with a bow or crossbow.

-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that does not allow the use of guns and you are not hunting deer, then you can carry both the shotgun and the rifle.

-If you are hunting coyotes during a time when there is no open deer season, then you can carry both the shotgun and the rifle.

Further, depending on where in southern Ontario you are hunting, there may be a calibre restriction prohibiting the use of a rifle of greater calibre than the rifle known as a .275-calibre rifle. This restriction applies in Brant, Chatham-Kent, Durham, Elgin, Essex, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Norfolk, Northumberland, Oxford, Peel, Perth, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington, and York.

Also remember that an apprentice hunter and mentor may only carry a single firearm between them.

Q: During the spring bear hunt, are you allowed to carry a shotgun or rifle while bowhunting?

-Ben Patkus, London

A: Yes, during the spring bear hunt you may carry any type of firearm for hunting bear. If using a rifle to hunt bear, it must be a centre-fire rifle.

Q: I’ve purchased a combination gun: a 12 gauge over a .308. Can I use this for hunting, let’s say, geese, even if the .308 isn’t allowed and not carrying .308 ammo? Or, when hunting deer in a shotgun-only area, again, not carrying any ammo for the .308, would those situations be legal?

-Dan St Denis, Moose Creek

A: The combination gun could be used for hunting geese, provided that only the shotgun portion is used, with appropriate ammunition. However, it would not be legal to carry or use for hunting deer during a deer season that does not allow the use of rifles, regardless of whether the person had .308 ammunition or not.

David Critchlow (Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF)

This is archived content. Ask a CO is a regular feature in the print edition of Ontario OUT of DOORS.

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

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  1. Ryan Holyoake wrote: I am curious where in the FWCA it prohibits this. Carrying a 12ga/308 while goose hunting should be no different than deer hunting in a shotgun only season in theory....
    • DM wrote: Section 70 of Ontario Regulation 665/98 (made under the FWCA): "A person who hunts deer, elk or moose shall not use or carry a firearm unless the firearm is of a class specified for use during the open season applicable to the species, person and area in Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons — Wildlife)." Goose hunting is regulated under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, which I guess contains no equivalent provisions... it regulates what you can use to hunt migratory birds, but not what else you can carry unloaded while hunting them.
  2. Charles Patrick wrote: So if I interpret DM's comment below one may not hunt with a bow and a rifle during the legal fall Bear season during a bows only period for Deer because the Deer season at that time specifically is "Archery Deer" . Am I correct in this interpretation? However you can clearly and as stated above by the CO hunt with both a rifle and bow during the Spring Bear season because there is no open season for Deer at that time.
  3. dave williams wrote: during the deer hunt in Ontario, and I want to target practise on private land. What calibers are I allowed to use. I have permission on this land. Thank you Dave
  4. James wrote: Dave, As far as I understand it, you should be allowed to shoot any caliber while target shooting on private land. This is regardless of hunting season regulations, but may be subject to firearm bylaws regarding calibers depending on where you live. For example, Hamilton has bow-only regions that do not allow the discharge of long-arm firearms. You must also be able to prove that you're target shooting and not hunting if a conservation officer comes onto your property.
  5. GARY FISCHER wrote: At 15 years of age and having your valid hunters outdoors card can this individual hunt on their own with a compound bow. The hunting regulations include a bow as a firearm but the Firearms Act seems to say otherwise. Please advise.
  6. Wendell Stevens wrote: During the deer season can I carry both a 303 and a 22.
  7. Gregg Covell wrote: If I hold a tag for black bear for the fall season and I am hunting during bow season for deer could I carry a shotgun for bear and a crossbow for deer? My gut is telling me probably not, but I thought I’d ask.
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thanks Gregg. Your question may be answered at the following link via our Ask a CO feature . You may want to contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to confirm, however, at 1-800-667-1940.
  8. craig wrote: I have the same question as Gregg about bow hunting in the fall for deer but also having a bear tag and having a riffle with me more peace of mind than anything I have called a couple numbers but can get threw,would just like to know the rule that's all thanks.
    • Jason Bain wrote: The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provided the following: "When hunting deer or moose during a bows-only season, a hunter may only use or carry a bow (which includes a crossbow). A hunter may not carry a shotgun, rifle, muzzle-loading gun or even pellet pistol while bow hunting these species in a bows-only season. The hunter could hunt both bear and deer with the crossbow (provided of course that the hunter is licensed for both species). If hunting bear, but not deer, then the hunter could carry and use a shotgun for hunting bear."
  9. Scott wrote: If hunting coyote with a 10/22 is there a limit of 3 bullets allowed in the clip or does that only apply to shot gun shells?
  10. todd w miller wrote: hey david i was wondering i recently received a doe tag for gun season for wmu60 if i dont use my tag can i still use it to put on a doe during archery season after in 60 i realize i can use it on a buck any where else.....
  11. Brantley wrote: Am I allowed to hunt coyotes in chatham kent using my 243? Or is there a by law restriction?
  12. Bow Deer Hunting wrote: hello sir In the season when only one person is allowed to hunt deer with a bow, When using a bow to hit the deer, when breaking down the prey, Is it possible to carry another shotgun to prevent predators' attack thank you
  13. Ben Patkus wrote: I am hunting in 67 and noticed that there is a lottery for doe tags but no controlled hunt. Is that doe tag good for rifle and black powder and bow season
  14. STEVE BARTLEY wrote: I do not know if this question has been asked . On page 22 of the hunting regulations it states a muzzle loader is considered loaded if there is a charge of powder and a projectile in the barrel and a percussion cap on the nipple . Is it considered unloaded if the cap is removed . It then states federal regulations pertaining to storage and transport of firearms ,a muzzle loading gun is not unloaded unless any propellant,projectile has been removed . I know many people that after taking the cap off, transport their muzzle loader . thanks Steve
  15. LARRY BICE wrote: during the controled hunt wu 92a can you use 2 muzzle loaders for hunting at the same time this has been a topic of many people over the years some say you can take 2 others say no .
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Larry, This was another Ask a CO question, please find the link here:
  16. Andre Renaud wrote: I live in New Liskeard---Temiskaming Shores. I hunt partridge. Am I allowed to carry two rifles? I have a 12 guage double larrel shotgun and a .22 rifle with I think a 7 shot clip. Regards, Andre Renaud.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Thank you for your question. We’ll discuss the question and if it is not one that has been asked in recent memory, we’ll pass it along to the MNRF for a response.
  17. Mark Haug wrote: Can I carry a pellet gun for hunting small game while I am out hunting deer during bow season? I would have my bow with me hoping a deer comes by the stand but if a rabbit pops out, I'd like to take it with a quiet pellet for an air rifle. Is this permissible? Thank you.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Thank you for your question. We’ll discuss the question and if it is not one that has been asked in recent memory, we’ll pass it along to the MNRF for a response. Can you please let us know where you are located in case we use your question?
  18. Robert Hoare wrote: I live in Renfrew County and a situation came up concerning Crown land. It was during the 2nd week of the rifle deer season 2020 . Apparently there was a person target practicing on crown land and had fired quite a few shots from his rifle. He had words with a hunter and the police were called. Nothing was found unsafe and the police could not do anything about it. They told the hunter to call the game warden if it happened again. The hunter told the shooter it was against the law to target practice on crown land during an open deer season. My question is : Is it against the law or is it just a safety issue
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Robert, it's not illegal to target shoot during a hunt as long as the shooting adheres to municipal bylaws. However, a person can be knowingly charged for interfering with a hunt on purpose.
  19. Bob Reaume wrote: When bow hunting for deer in a tree stand or ground blind, in southern Ont, can I have with me a .22 rim fire for coyotes?
  20. Nathan wrote: Can I carry a 22lr bolt and 22mag/410 shot gun at same time ??? I live in Ontario nwo
  21. MARCIN TOMCZYK wrote: Ontario open season( guns) for black bear sept.1st till nov 30th. In the meantime deer season opens oct. 1st(bow only) Till November 1st. Can I carry both gun and bow (in deer bow only season) while hunting having licenses for both ?