migratory birds - Canada geese

Here is the 2020 report on the migratory birds hunting regulations published by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service. This report highlights the changes that have been made to the migratory game bird hunting regulations for the next two hunting seasons (2020/2021 and 2021/2022) in Canada, and provides the rationale for those changes, as well as the results of public consultation. 


The American Black Duck International Harvest Strategy continues to be implemented in Quebec. A liberal regime is in effect for the 2020/2021 hunting season. There is no change to Black Duck bag limit in Quebec. The liberal regulatory package will also be implemented for the 2021/2022 Black Duck hunting season. A liberal harvest regime is also in effect for the 2020/2021 Black Duck hunting season in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.


The daily bag limit for Canada and Cackling geese during peak migration in most hunting districts in Quebec has been decreased. This is to address conservation concerns related to observed declines in the breeding population of Atlantic Canada Geese. The following restrictions have been implemented:

In Districts A, C, and the portion of District F that is west of Highway 15 and its northerly extension consisting of Route 117, the daily bag limit is restricted to three Canada/Cackling geese combined (from 5) from September 26 to October 31. After this period, the bag limit returns to five until the end of the season.

In District D and the portion of District F that is east of Highway 15 and its northerly extension consisting of Route 117, the daily bag limit is restricted to two Canada/Cackling geese combined (from five) from September 26 to October 31. After this period, the bag limit returns to five until the end of the season.

Canada/Cackling geese are no longer included in the former “Geese (other than Snow Geese)” group and are now considered their own group. This change prevents confusion introduced by changing the daily bag limit for Canada/ Cackling geese twice over the season. Daily bag and possession limits for the different groups of geese are as follows:

migratory birds - Canada geese


One hunter expressed concern regarding the proposal to restrict the harvest of the Atlantic population of Canada Geese. He questioned whether hunting is an effective tool for managing populations. Indicated that the reduction in hunting opportunities that would come from this change would discourage people from taking up hunting as a sport.

The amendment aims to protect the Atlantic population of Canada goose, which nests in the Ungava Peninsula in northern Quebec. The restriction would be effective in October only when the Atlantic population migrates through the province. It has been demonstrated that mortality by hunting has a significant effect on the size of the breeding population.

Indeed, in 1995, hunting was closed in response to a significant decline in the population. Following this temporary closure, the population increased to the 1980s level, and above in early 2000 and remained relatively stable until the 2010s.

Surveys during the nesting seasons have shown that the survival rate of adults has been decreasing since 2010, while the harvest rate of adults and young has increased during the same period, and population decreases have been observed. This information indicates that measures are necessary to maintain the population.

In Quebec and Ontario as well as in the United States, regulatory measures are being implemented to restrict harvest to ensure sustainability of the population and avoid a complete closure of hunting seasons.

Hunting Permit

To hunt migratory game birds in Canada, you must possess:

  • a valid Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit
  • a Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp affixed to or printed on the permit

These two documents are issued by the federal government and are valid in all provinces and territories. The 2020 federal permit is also valid for the 2021 spring special conservation harvest for Snow Geese.

Additional licence

Most provinces and territories have additional licence requirements for hunting migratory birds and/or to carry firearms. To know what you require, and if there are further restrictions for hunting migratory birds, please verify the applicable regulations for the province/territory where you will be hunting. Municipalities may have additional restrictions on discharging firearms. Note that all required permits and licences must be in your possession while you are hunting.

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