Firearms include air or pellet guns, bows and crossbows. You may use semi-automatic or repeating firearms for hunting in Ontario, but not handguns or fully automatic firearms. Air and pellet pistols with a muzzle velocity less than 500 feet per second may be used for hunting in Ontario. For storage and transportation information, contact your local police department.

A firearm is considered to be loaded if it has a cartridge in the chamber or in a magazine that is attached to the firearm.

You must plug a semi-automatic or repeating shotgun so that it will not hold more than a total of three shells in the chamber and magazine combined. Under the Criminal Code of Canada you cannot possess any clip/magazine that holds more than five shots for a semi-automatic centre fire rifle unless that clip/magazine has been specifically exempted pursuant to the Firearms Regulations.

A muzzle-loader is a gun that is loaded through the muzzle. A percussion muzzle-loading gun is considered to be loaded if there is a charge of powder and a projectile in the barrel and a percussion cap on the nipple. A flintlock muzzleloading gun is considered to be loaded if there is a charge of powder and a projectile in the barrel and the vent is unplugged.

A crossbow is considered to be loaded if the bow is cocked and there is a bolt in the crossbow. A bow other than a crossbow is considered to be loaded if the bow is strung and an arrow is nocked.

The draw length of a bow (compound, recurve, long) is measured from the outer edge of the main riser (handle), following the line of an arrow to the anchor point.

The draw length of a crossbow is measured along the bolt ramp (where the bolt rests) from outer edge of the main limb, to the anchor point (release latch mechanism) at full draw.

The length of an arrow is measured from the base of the arrowhead to the bottom of the nock slot.

You must not discharge firearms from or across any right of way for public vehicular traffic in any part of Ontario designated in the Regulations or from or across the travelled portion in any other area. This does not apply to an unmaintained right of way unless the regulations provide otherwise. Generally, you are not allowed to have a loaded firearm between the fences, or if no fences, within eight metres from the edge of the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic in parts of Ontario as listed in the Regulations. These regulations apply year round in most of Ontario south of the French-Mattawa river system (however, in some areas of southern Ontario, they only apply during the gun season for deer). Contact an NDMNRF office for specific information.

On the Aulneau Peninsula (WMU 7A), from September 1 to December 15 and from April 15 to June 15, you must not use a shotgun loaded with ball or with shot larger than number 2 lead shot, steel shot that is not larger than triple BBB shot, bismuth shot that is not larger than double BB shot or a rifle of greater calibre or projectile power than a rifle known as the .22 calibre rim-fire rifle. The calibre limitations do not apply to flintlock or percussion cap muzzle-loading rifles.

Check local sunrise-sunset times. You may only hunt from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset, except as otherwise provided. If you are in an area usually inhabited by wildlife, during the period from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise, you must unload and encase firearms (including air gun, pellet gun, bow or crossbow) in your possession. Firearms must be securely encased in a manner whereby they are not readily accessible.

Some townships/municipalities have by-laws restricting the discharge of firearms. Check with the local municipal office for details.

Remember: Hunting carelessly is an offence. Hunters who discharge firearms without due care and attention or consideration for persons and property, are liable to a fine of up to $25,000 or imprisonment – or both. Depending on the circumstances, a person may also be subject to charges under the Criminal Code.

ANY hunting injury caused by the discharge of a firearm and which results in treatment by a physician MUST BE reported to a Conservation Officer.

Contact the Canadian Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-4000 (or for information about the requirements for firearm ownership, and firearms licensing.

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