Most hunters understand and follow Ontario’s Hunting Regulations, but some common mistakes are made by hunters every year that can result in a violation. The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry wants to help hunters avoid mistakes that may, inadvertently, put them in violation of the law.

Ontario’s Most Common and Preventable Hunting Violations Are:

    1. Loaded Firearm in Vehicle or Motorboat: It is illegal to possess a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle or motorboat. This is unsafe and has resulted in accidents, including fatalities.

    2. Unencased Firearms: You must unload and encase firearms in your possession during the period from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise. The only exception is for licensed night raccoon hunters.

    3. Shooting from a Public Road: It is illegal to shoot from, down or across a public road while hunting.

    4. Possession of a Loaded Firearm on a Roadway: In most of southern Ontario (south of the French and Matttawa Rivers) it is generally unlawful to have a firearm that is loaded unless the hunter is either across the fence line where one exists, or at least 8 metres from the traveled portion of the roadway where there are no fences.

    5. Failure to Wear Fluorescent Orange: In Ontario during the gun season for deer and moose, all hunters must visibly wear both a fluorescent orange vest/coat and hat. During open season for bear, all bear hunters must wear fluorescent orange except while in a tree stand. Camouflage hunter orange patterns are not allowed. (This regulation does not apply to waterfowl hunters.)
    6. Game Tagging Violations: These violations range from forgetting to notch the game tag or improperly applying the tag when harvesting a big game animal, to transferring or misusing game tags. Hunters are reminded that detailed instructions are printed on each big game tag and in this Summary.

    7. Carrying Another Person’s Game Tag: While hunting, a person may not possess another person’s game tag. This applies to moose, deer, bear and wild turkey game tags.

    8. Failure to Retain Evidence of Gender on Moose: When there are gender restrictions on the harvest of game, the sex organs must be transported attached to the carcass. This is required for all adult moose harvested in Ontario.

    9. Hunting in the Wrong Area: For example, a licence validation tag is only valid in a specific Wildlife Management Unit and cannot be legally used in another area. 
    10. Trespassing: Hunters must have permission to enter private land, even if the intent is just to cross the private land to reach public land. Private property does not necessarily have to be posted to deny access. Every year, trespassing results in more and more property being posted and no longer available to hunters. 
    11. Failure to Carry Licence on Person: Hunters must carry the licence, any validation tag and any game tags with them while hunting. Failure to do so often results in wasted time for the Conservation Officer, a spoiled hunt for the hunter and can result in fines and/or seized equipment. 
    12. Abandonment of Game: It is illegal to abandon game or allow it to spoil. 

Please contact your local Conservation Officer or NDMNRF district office if you have a question regarding the hunting regulations in your area.

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