In Québec, thousands of people like to go hunting. The wildlife is diverse and hunters are offered several opportunities. Traditionally practised among friends, hunting is now also often a family activity. You can go hunting for small or big game if you observe a few rules, which are described below.
Any resident of Québec who wishes to go hunting must first obtain a hunter's certificate. This certificate is obtained after taking the training course designed for the hunting weapon he intends to use and passed the examinations of this course.
Moreover, anyone who wishes to hunt with a firearm must comply with the federal Firearms Act, which requires hunters to hold a firearms possession licence to carry such an arm, unless they are under the direct supervision of the person who lends the firearm.
A resident who holds a hunter's certificate may obtain the hunting licence required according to the game species sought. One may obtain a hunting licence from an authorized selling agent, who generally is a sporting goods, hardware or convenience store.
Everyone must hunt under a licence, be it one's own, or, in some cases, another person's. For instance, to hunt small game, a person may hunt under his spouse's licence. For any type of hunting, youths aged 12 to 17 and students aged 18 to 24 may hunt under an adult's licence.
Adult residents may become initiated before obtaining a certificate. Anyone may indeed get a taste of this activity, accompanied by a resident aged at least 25 and who is the holder of the appropriate certificate for the arm used. This opportunity is applicable for any type of hunt, for one year only.
Hunting is permitted most everywhere in Québec.
First, lands of the state domain provide an easy access to the practice of hunting. These lands are often organized in wildlife sanctuaries, in controlled zones (ZECs) or in outfitting establishments with exclusive hunting rights. Authorization from the responsible manager is required to hunt in these territories, and there generally are some fees for hunting and staying there. On the other hand, outfitters provide more elaborate infrastructures: accommodation in cottages or serviced areas. Access is free in the rest of the state domain lands. The south of Québec, mostly comprised of private lands, has much to offer to hunters. Authorization from the owner is required, however, to gain access to these lands. Special rules about shooting from public roads also apply in this part of Québec.
For ruffled grouse, spruce grouse, ptarmigan and migratory birds, a daily bag limit and a possession limit apply. For other small game species, there is no bag limit, except for snowshoe hare and eastern cottontail, in some places.
For big game, bag limits are annual. Sometimes, the bag limit is one animal per two, three or four hunters per year; such is the case of moose.
The above text describes the basic hunting rules which apply in Québec. Once you have chosen where you wish to hunt, you must identify in which zone you are and get familiar with periods and bag limits which apply there, as well as the access procedure for various territories. To this end, you may browse through the Sport Hunting in Québec brochure, which contains all the applicable regulations and is available from licence selling agents. You may also get information by calling 1 800 561-1616 or consulting a wildlife officer or a hunter, who will be glad to inform you about this activity.
For any information about the schedule of training courses for obtaining a hunter's certificate, you may visit the Fédération québécoise de la faune Web site.
Finally, it is important that hunters contact the landowners well in advance of the hunting period to discuss the access requirements to their lands. It goes without saying that the respect shown for private property will always vouch for the expected welcome.