Migratory bird regs modernized

by Steve Galea | June 30, 2022
bowhunter takes aim in a field

The changes, which come into effect on July 30, were deemed necessary to better respond to the current challenges facing migratory birds.

Among other things, the new regulations recognize existing Indigenous rights and improve the ability to manage migratory birds in Canada by better protecting nests. The changes also clarify and introduce provisions to support current and new policy on migratory game bird hunting and hunting management.

Some of the changes include:

  • The introduction of the free Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (MGBH) and Canadian Wildlife Habitat Stamp for youth/minors, under 18. They may benefit from the entire open and special conservation seasons, with their own bag and possession limit, but must hunt with a mentor.
  • Waterfowl Heritage Days have been repealed.
  • Hunters can now donate harvested birds for charitable purposes.
  • Crossbows may be used to hunt migratory birds.
  • Minimum requirements for arrows and bolts.
  • The prohibition of drones for migratory bird hunting.
  • Choice to leave either a fully feathered head or wing on unpreserved birds.
  • Birds found shot and picked up count in the hunter’s possession limit (even if shot by someone else.)
  • Open season, bag, and possession limit tables have been re-formatted so that it is easier to see all the required information by hunting district/zone.
  • Concept of preservation of harvested birds introduced, with preserved birds (except for murres) no longer counting towards possession limit. Preserved birds do not need to be labelled.
  • Preserved means, with respect to a migratory game bird, one that has
    (a) been eviscerated and plucked in any location and then been frozen, made into sausage, cooked, dried, canned, or smoked in a location other than the hunting area;
    (b) in a location other than the hunting area, had its edible portions removed from its carcass and then been frozen, made into sausage, cooked, dried, canned, or smoked; or
    (c) been mounted for taxidermy.
  • It is no longer required to sign the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (both physical and electronic forms). If you choose to carry your permit on your mobile device, it must be in the PDF format provided by the e-permitting system. It is also your responsibility to be able to show the permit to a game officer immediately upon request.

A new Charity Permit, which allows the permit holder to accept harvested preserved birds, and to serve them as a meal (charitable dinner or soup kitchen) or to give them to customers of a food bank has also been introduced.

To read the new Migratory Bird Regulations in its entirety, visit the Canada Gazette at: www.gazette.gc.ca

For more hunting, click here

Click here for more outdoors news

Sign up for our mailing list

indicates required
Email format


  1. bob wrote: Why are crossbows being allowed. Surely it is dangerous to have crossbow bolts flying through the air attempting to hit flying geese or ducks not to mention doves....does this mean we can hunt doves with crossbow?....i am really curious about the thinking that went into it..