fishing & hunting

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For the best defense of your hunting and fishing offense call SW Legal Services (Call 905-235-4567 for details)

Have you been charged with an offence under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act or any other offence related to hunting or fishing?
Did you know penalties can range up to $25,000, jail time or the permanent loss of your Conservation license?

Other Acts and Regulations consist of:

  1. The Federal Fisheries Act
  2. Invasive Species Act
  3. Federal Species at Risk Act
  4. Endangered Species Act
  5. Migratory Birds Convention Act
  6. Trespass to Property Act

If you are a seasoned hunter/fisher or a novice and just starting out, it is imperative that you be familiar with the laws to protect yourself from prosecution and to assist in the preservation of these species for everyone to enjoy. It is important to know the specific rules and regulations pertaining to the species of animal you are hunting or fishing. Some examples of such rules and regulations can refer to the size, age, sex, time of season, device or method allowed to catch the species, amount you can harvest, protected lands/bodies of water, and restrictions on sub species or protected species.

Did you know that Conservation Officers and other Provincial Offences Officers have very powerful allowances of search and seizure? Your license, rod/reel, gun, other equipment including vehicles can be seized and forfeited to the Ministry of Natural Resources for violating the rules and regulations. Monetary fines can reach $25,000 for serious offences. You can even face fines of a few thousand dollars for just catching a few fish out of season!

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/97f41

https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-natural-resources-and-forestry

Most people who find themselves before the courts charged with these offences go “self represented”. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities. If you find yourself charged with an offence, SW Legal Services can assist you and make informed legal decisions on how to best defend against your charges. We represent people all over the province of Ontario for these serious offences.
For the best defense of your natural resources charges call SW Legal Services (Call 905-235-4567 for details). SW Legal Services is a strong litigation firm with a winning formula. Our paralegals have a strong desire to win, we go to court as many times as it takes, raise every possible legal issue to protect your rights and win!

Common Questions (FAQ’s)

Do I need a license to fish? Yes. First, you will need to acquire an Outdoors Card. An Outdoors Card is a wallet-sized identification card issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources used for administration and identification purposes. An Outdoors Card is valid for 3 calendar years.
Next, you will need to purchase a fishing license. A fishing license is valid for 1 or 3 years and comes in two classes.
1. Sport Fishing License
For anglers who want full catch and possession fishing privileges.
2. Conservation Fishing License
A reduced catch and possession limit license tag that is ideal for anglers who want to live-release the majority of fish caught. Under this license, there are strict possession limits for commonly caught and eaten fish. There are also restrictions to immediately release species.

You must always carry your Outdoors Card and Fishing License with you whenever you hunt or fish.

How many fish can I keep? It depends on the species of fish, your class of fishing license, where in the Province you are fishing and the time season.
Fishing is broken down in to FMZ’s (Fisheries Management Zones). For Example, York Region and the Lake Simcoe area is listed as FMZ 16. It has open and closed seasons on certain fish. For more information and specifics, please refer to the 2017 Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.

How many fish can I keep?

Conservation License Sport License Season
1. Perch 25 50 open all year
2. Bass 2 6 4th Sat. in June – Nov. 30
3. Walleye 2 4 Jan. 1 – Mar. 15 / 2nd Sat. May – Dec. 31
4. Pike 2 6 Jan. 1 – Mar. 31 / 2nd Sat. May – Dec. 31
5. Lake Trout 1 2 Jan. 1 – Sept. 30

When does fishing season open? Again, this depends or the species and location. Some of the most common fish caught are open all year while the least caught are restricted to certain months of the year or not open at all.

Can you drink alcohol while fishing or hunting? There are no clear laws specifically stating you can or can’t fish or hunt while drinking alcohol. You have to refer to Provincial and Federal laws and regulations that lay out the rules on the consumption of alcohol. The Liquor License Act is the defining legislation that outlines where you can consume alcohol.

Unlawful possession or consumption
(2) No person shall have or consume liquor in any place other than,
(a) a residence;
(b) premises in respect of which a licence or permit is issued; or
(c) a private place as defined in the regulations. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 31 (2).

Conveying liquor in vehicle, boat 32(1) No person shall drive or have the care or control of a motor vehicle as defined in the Highway Traffic Act or a motorized snow vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, while there is contained in the vehicle any liquor, except under the authority of a licence or permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (1).

Conveying liquor in boat(3) No person shall operate or have the care or control of a boat that is underway while there is contained in the boat any liquor, except under the authority of a licence or permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (3).

Do I Need a license to hunt? Yes. Just like the fishing license, first you will need to acquire an Outdoors Card. However, this Outdoors Card has two versions. The two versions of the card prove eligibility to purchase hunting license and tags: the hunting version Outdoors Card and the Temporary Hunting Outdoors Card. You will need to take the Ontario Hunter Education Course (or have recognized hunter credentials). Further to this, Ontario recognizes two types of resident hunters. Designated as either H1 or H2, the classes differentiate whether the hunter is permitted to hunt with firearms. Next, you will need to pick tags and seals

Aboriginal/First Nations are not required to possess an Outdoors card provided they are hunting or fishing for food, social or ceremonial purposes or are visiting another First Nation territory where they have permission to hunt or fish.

Hunting basics 101

To hunt in Ontario, you must:

  1. Be at least 16 years old (or 15 with written parental consent)
  2. Take the Ontario Hunter Education Course (or have recognized hunter credentials)
  3. Take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (to use a gun to hunt)
  4. Get a hunting version Outdoors Card
    1. H1 class: qualified to hunt using a gun
    2. H2 class: not qualified to hunt using a gun
  5. Get all required tags and seals for the game you wish to hunt

When can I hunt for…..? Much like with fishing, Ontario is broken up in zones called WMU’s (Wildlife Management Units). Ontario has 95 WMU’s. Each WMU has customized hunting regulations for:

It is each hunter’s responsibility to ensure they are familiar with the restrictions listed, including the hunting borders/boundaries of the WMU you intend to use. Certain WMU’s are controlled to limit the number of hunters and a hunter or their group must enter to draw and win an opportunity to hunt in that zone.

At what age do I have to get a license?

  1. Fishing – Between the ages of 18-64, must acquire Outdoors Card and License
  2. Hunting – be at least 16 years old (or 15 with written parental consent)

How do I get a P.A.L? You will need to pass a safety course called the CFSC (Canadian Firearms Safety Course. Once you pass this course, you will be able to apply for your PAL (Possession and Acquisition License. There is a separate course for restricted firearms. Restricted firearms such as fully automatic or handguns are not permitted for hunting.Remember, there are also rules and regulations on the storage and transportation of firearms. It is not as simple as passing a course and going out to shoot your rifle!

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