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Be Safe and Follow the Rules During Hunting Season

Archived Backgrounder

Be Safe and Follow the Rules During Hunting Season

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario encourages hunters to learn and follow the rules when hunting:

Hunting Safety Rules:
  • All hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (a minimum of 400 square inches or 2,580 square centimetres above the waist) and a hunter orange head cover during gun seasons for deer, moose and elk. Outside the gun seasons for deer, moose and elk these requirements also apply to bear hunters who are not hunting from a tree stand.
  • Handle firearms with care and attention at all times.  
  • Hunters must never shoot unless they are absolutely sure of their target and what lies beyond it. 
  • It is illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
  • It is illegal to discharge a firearm from or across the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic.  In many parts of Ontario it is also illegal to have a loaded firearm, or discharge a firearm, in any part of the right of way.
  • Never drink alcohol and hunt.
General Safety:
  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will be returning.
  • Know the weather conditions in your hunting area and dress accordingly.                       
  • In an emergency, stay calm and stay put.
  • Avoid hypothermia. Know how to treat it if it strikes.
  • Keep hydrated and well nourished.
  • Carry a survival kit and a small first aid kit with you at all times.
  • Know how to build a fire in all weather conditions and carry the supplies to start one.
  • Carry a map and compass or GPS unit and know how to use them.
General Hunting Rules:
  • A hunter cannot transfer his/her game seal or possess a game seal issued to another person.
  • After a moose, deer, elk or bear is killed, the game seal holder must immediately attach the valid game seal to the animal in the manner prescribed on the seal, and it must remain attached during transportation.
  • Hunters must make sure they can identify their targets appropriately, whether distinguishing between deer, moose and elk, or ensuring the animal they are hunting belongs to the age or sex of animal they are licensed to hunt.
  • Natural attractants containing body fluids (urine, blood, etc.) of any cervid (moose, deer, elk) may no longer be possessed or used for the purposes of hunting in Ontario. This regulation is designed to help prevent chronic wasting disease from entering the province. More information is available at ontario.ca/cwd.
  • Bear cannot be hunted within 400 metres of a waste disposal site.
  • Hunters must remove any temporary structures, including tree stands, placed on Crown land.
Party Hunting:

Party hunting means two or more people hunting together. The rules include:

  • All members of the party must hunt together in the same wildlife management unit as the person who holds the seal for the moose, deer, elk or bear being hunted. Hunting party members must be within five kilometres of the seal holder.
  • Each member of the hunting party must be able to communicate reliably and immediately with other members of the party. The person who kills a moose, deer, elk or bear while hunting in a party must immediately notify all other members.
  • Once an animal is killed the seal holder must immediately attend the site of the kill and affix the game seal to the animal.
  • Each person in a hunting party must have a valid hunting licence.
  • The total number of animals of a specified sex or age killed by the party cannot exceed the total number of seals validated for that sex or age that members of the party hold.
For More Information:
  • For information on regulations and seasons, consult the Hunting Regulations Summary.
  • To report unlawful night hunting or any other illegal and unsafe hunting activity, call the MNRF TIPS Line at 1-877-847-7667 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Media Contacts

  • David Critchlow

    Provincial Enforcement Specialist