Ask a CO: How close can you hunt to dwellings if you are hunting on private property or Crown land?

by Editorial Staff | August 27, 2020
ducks flying in field

Q: How close can you hunt to dwellings, homes, cottages, etc., if you are hunting on private property or Crown land? Can you tell me where it is in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act?

Ray Haines, Wyevale

Local bylaws can affect hunting

A: With the exception of a 200-metre restriction along the south shore of Lake St. Clair, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) does not regulate how far you have to be from any object or place to discharge a fire­arm; municipalities have the authority to create by-laws that prescribe setbacks from residences and other buildings.

Hunters should check with the local municipality where they are hunting to determine whether there are any discharge of firearms bylaws in that municipality that could affect their hunting activities. Of course, the FWCA does have a provision that states all han­dling and discharge of firearms possessed for the purpose of hunting must be done safely and with due consideration for people and property (section 16).

If anyone believes that hunting activity is pos­ing a threat to people or property, they should contact the MNRF’s TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667.

David Critchlow (Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF)

Send your questions by clicking here

Originally published in the August 2019 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine. Ask a CO is also 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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  1. Bill Bradimore wrote: How far off shore do you have to be from a provincial park to duck hunt?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Bill, we have the following from "Hunting in Provincial Parks Hunting is permitted in a number of provincial parks in Ontario. Hunters should always check with the appropriate park office regarding areas open to hunting, species that can be hunted, seasons, and other restrictions that apply in each park. Call 1-800-387-7011 or 1-800-667-1940 for assistance."
    • Jason Bain wrote: From the MNRF:"There are no provincial regulations setting out distances that you must be from a provincial park to hunt. You will need to determine where the provincial park boundary is; if it extends out from shore, you either have to be further out than the park boundary, or hunting must be allowed in that part of the park. Hunters should check with the appropriate park office regarding areas open to hunting and relevant park boundaries."
  2. Georges Martin wrote: why is WMU 65 different then all other WMU's when it comes to Moose hunting only one partner and bow only but during general rifle season?
  3. John Sullivan wrote: Just wondering if there are any restrictions on hunting on crown land next to a residence, I live next to crown land, is there a certain distance from the house a hunter has to be. Thank you
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: John, It would still change from municipality-to-municipality. Your best bet would be to contact your own town/city hall for clarification.
  4. Ron Fleming wrote: Is it possible and or legal for an unorganized area such as a Cottage Association to make a bylaw saying how far away from the cottages and homes a firearm can be discharged. I am aware that anyone discharging a firearm must do so in a safe manner that does not endanger others or their property. If this bylaw was approved and published by the Cottagers Association and submitted to the MNRF would or could it be published in the General Hunting Regulations?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Ron, As mentioned the discharge of a firearm is done on a municipal basis; the Cottage Association would need to appeal to their local level of government.
  5. Janet Jones wrote: I have a cottage on Wilkinson road Kennisis lake in Haliburton. I’m just wondering if hunters can hunt on private land behind cottages during hunting season. How close to cottages?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Janet, You would have to check on the municipality's by-law in your area.
  6. ALAN TARRANT wrote: when hunting on Lake Erie or the Detroit river, how far from the shore must you be? are there concessions allowed for any reason...hunt clubs, marinas etc? also can you legally hunt concession roads that end in the bush? at the end point?
  7. Mark wrote: Looking forward to the content
  8. Chris Johns wrote: If your municipality does not have a bylaw how close can you hunt from a house or waterfront residential property?
  9. Peter Linke wrote: Are you allowed to hunt on land that is designated residential in Ontario? Or again is this something that is up to the Municipality?