Hunters, fishers and trappers must comply at all times with the instructions and directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Direction générale de la santé publique.
Québec’s reopening plan provides for various relaxations to these instructions, such as:
- As of June 25, individuals adequately protected from COVID-19 are no longer required to follow the recommendations for distancing and wearing face coverings at private gatherings.
- As of July 12, the distance required between people from different residences who are not adequately protected is 1 metre, both outdoors and indoors.
- Face coverings are still mandatory in public places, including businesses.
Specific directives on gatherings in the context of the COVID-19 are also in effect.
Regulations still in force
Laws and regulations regarding hunting, fishing and trapping activities are valid under any circumstances, and Québec’s wildlife protection services are maintained. This means:
- Periods and quotas are still applicable, and so are catch, possession and length limits. You can find them here:
- A hunter’s certificate is still mandatory to carry out hunting and trapping activities. However, the required courses to obtain the certificate have been suspended.
- Hunting, fishing and trapping licences are still mandatory (except for fishing zone 21, where fishing in the St. Lawrence River is allowed without a licence).
- Salmon and game registration is still mandatory.
Best Practices for Your Activities
At all times
In addition to complying with the current regulation at all times, following these best practices will allow you to enjoy your favourite wildlife-related activity while staying away from COVID-19:
- Do not go out hunting, fishing or trapping if you or someone close to you has COVID-19 symptoms;
- Follow the current health instructions;
- Use your own equipment and do not lend or borrow gear;
- If you must lend your equipment or use some that is not yours, plan to bring with you the necessary products to wash your hands and disinfect objects. Be careful not to release cleaning products or disinfectants into the environment and refer to the methods of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec to learn how to use those products;
- If you choose to use outfitter services (e.g., a guide), make sure to put an operating procedure in place so that everyone has their own tasks and will not need to share tools and equipment.
- Use blinds or cabins that allow you to follow the current health instructions. If it is possible that other hunters have used these blinds or cabins before you, disinfect them. Use only your own decoys if you need to use them;
- If possible, when carrying big game out of the harvesting site, do so alone or with someone living at the same address as you. Plan on using appropriate tools such as a sled, stretcher, straps, winch, ATV, etc. When permitted by regulation (e.g., moose), consider cutting the game in pieces to facilitate its transportation. If you need the assistance of someone who does not live at the same address as you, follow the current health instructions.
- It is important to always comply with the best practices for handling and consuming game meat:
- When eviscerating your game, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands and tools with water and soap when finished. Make it a habit to include a container of at least four litres of soapy water with your equipment;
- Cook thoroughly the game meat so it reaches a cooking temperature of 74°C;
- See the full recommendations for game meat (in French only).
Notice to white-tailed deer hunters
Following the discovery of the first cases of COVID-19 in white-tailed deer in Canada , hunters should know that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a white-tailed deer or other animal is generally considered low. Person-to-person transmission remains the main route of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Human vaccination and compliance with the recommendations from public health authorities remain the best means of preventing the spread of the virus.
At any time, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms resembling those of COVID-19, you are encouraged to complete the COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
For more information, refer to the Animals and COVID-19 .
- Practice the activity in places where it is possible to maintain a physical distance, whether it is wading or fishing on a boat;
- If you go fishing with someone who does not live at the same address as you, make sure to establish clear rules beforehand as to avoid situations where you cannot keep a physical distance or follow the best practices for handling fish;
- When catching and retrieving fish, consider using a landing net to keep a physical distance more easily;
- The best practices for releasing fish are still encouraged in the current context.
- If you need the help of a guide, make sure to put an operating procedure in place so that everyone has their own tasks and do not need to share tools and equipment during the installation. Wear gloves and wash your hands every time you install or remove a trap;
- If you must borrow traps, triggers, footsnares, attachment and anchoring systems, etc., you must disinfect them using the regular techniques (boiling what is made out of metal). For bear trapping, trap stands and triggers made out of plastic must be washed in soapy water (dish soap);
- Skinning: work alone and wear disposable gloves. Wash your hands and your tools in soapy water after each session. For heavier species (e.g., bear, wolf), use equipment that allows you to handle the animal alone, such as rope, a chain, a winch, etc.
Warning to fur-bearing animal trappers
There is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission between humans and mustelids (martens, fishers, weasels, minks, etc.), canids (coyotes, foxes, etc.) and felids (lynx, etc.). The ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs still recommends that people who come into contact with these species be careful when handling them, especially if the animal is alive and the contact is sustained (e.g., relocation operation for invasive species). Wear gloves and a face covering, and wash your hands regularly.
Hunting and trapping courses
In-class training courses for aspiring hunters and trappers that are provided by authorized agents of the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs have been adapted to the current health standards. Fewer in-class courses are offered. Several courses are available online.
For more information, please refer to the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs [in French only] and the Fédération québécoise des trappeurs gestionnaires du Québec [in French only].
Licences are still mandatory. They are available for purchase at selling agents that provide essential services. Licences without transportation coupons can be purchased online on the My Hunting and Fishing Account platform.
Before purchasing a licence or carrying out hunting, fishing and trapping activities, the Department recommends getting the right information on public health instructions and directives, since they may change according to the evolution of the situation. All hunters, anglers and trappers must comply with these instructions and directives.
Game registration remains mandatory, even in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunters and trappers can register their game:
- remotely, through an online form, or;
- at a registration station. You may refer to the list of registration stations (in French only).
If you have to go to a registration station near you, remember that you should comply at all times with the instructions and directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Direction générale de la santé publique.
Wildlife protection services are maintained in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wildlife protection officers thus continue to ensure a presence across Québec’s territory to make sure that hunting and fishing activities are done in compliance with the laws and regulations in force.
Wildlife protection officers will, if necessary, inform anglers, hunters and trappers of the rules laid down by the Direction générale de la santé publique. If need be, the officers will be able to formulate a denunciation to the police if they note a case of non-compliance with current health instructions.
Last update: July 12, 2021