Moose hunting

General notice

Modification in zone 17

Based on the results of the 2021 aerial surveys and in compliance with obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), hunting activities in zone 17 will be limited to harvesting by Indigenous people for subsistence hunting. The decline in the population of moose observed in this area implies a decrease in harvesting.

What to do before, during and after hunting

Before hunting

During hunting

Comply with the rules governing:

After the kill

  • If necessary, follow the rules for locating an injured game animal.
  • In the event that an animal is illegally killed(by accident or by mistake), follow the applicable rules.
  • When the dead animal has been located, attach the transportation coupon from your licence and make sure the other required transportation coupons are also attached (this must be done on the day of the kill). If the moose is killed by a young person hunting under an adult’s licence, he or she must follow the special rules applicable in this case. If an adult female moose is killed under a licence obtained in a random draw, the licence must be punched in the circle provided.
  • Remove your game from the kill site, making sure you comply with cutting instructions, where necessary.
  • Take all necessary steps (evisceration, storage and transportation) to ensure that the animal’s flesh is not abandoned or wasted.
  • Collect and eliminate waste properly (empty cartridges, waste from meals, etc.).
  • Register your game within 48 hours of leaving the hunting site.
  • Ensure that the transportation coupon remains attached to the game animal until it is cut up or placed in storage.
  • If the animal was killed in an enhanced surveillance area (ESA) for CWD, you must comply with the restrictions on the transportation of certain anatomical parts of the animal and submit to mandatory sampling.

Bag limits for the moose

In any given year, in all zones and in most ZECs where moose hunting is permitted, 1 moose may be killed for every 2 hunters.

In the other ZECs listed below, the annual bag limit is 1 moose for every 3 hunters:

  • Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Bras-Coupé-Désert
  • Casault
  • Chapais
  • des Nymphes
  • Lesueur
  • Mitchinamecus
  • Pontiac 
  • de la Rivière-Blanche
  • Saint-Patrice

Bag limit in wildlife reserves

In the wildlife reserves, for hunting subject to quotas, the limit is usually 1 moose per single group (composed of two, three or four hunters) or 2 moose per double group (composed of four, five, six, seven or eight hunters). Regardless of the formula, hunters must be members of the same hunting expedition to be considered members of the group.

One young person may be added to a single group, and one or two young people may be added to a double group, provided the following conditions are met:

A group member who kills a moose must immediately attach his or her transportation coupon to the animal and ensure that another person from the same group also attaches a transportation coupon to the animal on the same day.

These two people must cease to hunt as soon as their transportation coupons have been attached to the animal killed. The other members of the hunting expedition may continue to hunt, provided the group’s bag limit has not been reached.

Once the group’s limit has been reached, all members of the hunting expedition must cease hunting, even if they still have transportation coupons on their licences. The expedition members who have not used their coupons may use their licences for another hunt in the zone shown on the licence, in a wildlife reserve, in the territory of an outfitter with exclusive rights, or in the Baillargeon ZEC (zone 1) where moose hunting and access are limited.

Identifying the sex and age of moose

The following information is provided as a guide. If in doubt, do not shoot.

Antlers: Antlers are the only sure indication that the animal is an adult male. Its antlers are over 10 cm long. If antlers are not apparent, the animal may be an adult female or a calf.

Vulva patch: Adult female moose usually have a triangular white patch extending from the base of the tail to the base of the vulva.

Size: Adult moose are 1.5 m to 1.8 m high at the withers (the height of a human being). Calves rarely exceed 1.2 m (chest height of a human being).

Shape of the head: In profile, the head of a calf is shorter than that of an adult moose. A calf has a smaller, more delicate muzzle than an adult moose, whose muzzle is protuberant and bulbous. Viewed head-on, a calf’s head is triangular and the muzzle is fairly pointed. The head of an adult moose is more rectangular.

Behaviour: Calves behave affectionately towards their mothers and rarely travel alone. When a female moose accompanied by one or two calves is disturbed, the calves move towards her, sometimes touching her muzzle with theirs, and they follow her closely when she moves away. Adult moose roughly a year and a half in age are sometimes seen with older females, but are much more independent.

Differentiating moose from woodland caribou

Although hunting caribou is prohibited, hunters need to know how to recognize woodland caribou This hyperlink will open in a new window., a forest ecotype of moose This hyperlink will open in a new window.. These cousins have different characteristics. Their size, head, antlers and coat will help you differentiate them.

Size

Moose are massive cervids. Their length reaches from 2.0 m to 3.05 m. Their height can reach 1.69 m to 2.12 m. They can weigh 350 kg to 710 kg. Their body is characterized by the presence of developed shoulders that form a pointed hump, covered with long, visible fur. In their first fall, the calf size of moose resembles that of the female woodland caribou. Hunters must pay attention to the characteristics to properly identify the animal.

Woodland caribou are medium-sized cervids. They can reach 1.7 m to 2.5 m in length, while their height varies between 1.05 m and 1.40 m. They can weigh between 80 and 200 kg. The female is smaller and less massive than the male.

Head

Moose have a large rectangle-shaped head with an elongated, bulbous, curved nose that extends beyond the lower jaw. They have large ears that move to pick up noises when they are on the lookout. Their head is mostly brown.

Woodland caribou have a triangular face and small ears. Their heads vary in colour from brown to white. Their nose is darker.

Antlers

Moose have broad, palmate antlers. The frontal tine is projected forward over the face, usually palmate and sometimes forked. The main palm extends back and has finger-shaped external tines. Female moose do not have antlers. Young moose males have smaller antlers than adult males. However, their antlers may resemble those of female caribou, be vigilant.

In adult male caribou, the antlers are palmate and much longer, but not as wide as those of moose. The main beams of their antlers are shovel-shaped. They project forward, above their face and between their eyes. In adult females, the antlers are simpler. They resemble a miniature replica of those of adult males. A female caribou may only have one antler or none. In young caribou, males and females develop single antlers, also known as a “spike”, from their first winter of the year.

Coat

Moose coat is uniform in colour, mostly brown and black. Their hind legs have grey touches.

Caribou belly, flanks and neck are generally lighter than the back and head, with different shades of brown. Their coat is dark brown in the summer and becomes increasingly pale throughout the winter to almost white.

Moose hunting expedition

The notion of “moose hunting expedition” was introduced in 1996 to regulate moose hunting. Since then, hunters have been required to join an expedition in order to hunt moose.

Complying with the requirement

The following information will help you to understand what an expedition is. It does not cover all possible situations, but hunters who abide by these restrictions are certain of complying with rule.

A moose hunting expedition begins when you and at least one other person with whom you have agreed to hunt are present at the same time at the same hunting site, during the hunting season.

Obviously, all members of the expedition must have a moose hunting licence for the type of weapon used, the hunting zone and the season concerned.

The expedition continues for as long as someone from the expedition is hunting moose at the site at any time on consecutive days.

It is the responsibility of the person who is hunting to make sure the transportation coupon of another licence holder who has taken part in the expedition can still be attached to the moose on the day it is killed.

The expedition ends when a moose is killed or when none of the hunters in your expedition has hunted moose at the site during any given day.

In the latter case, you must form another expedition if you wish to resume hunting.

If an individual uses his or her home during the expedition, it is considered to be the hunting camp and the route taken to go hunting is considered to be the hunting site.

In wildlife reserves and ZECs

The above information on hunting expeditions apply everywhere, except in wildlife reserves, where the notion of “group” applies instead.

In ZECs, the same rules apply, along with other specific provisions including the requirement for three people to have taken part in the expedition in some cases. In a ZEC, the hunting site is the sector or site entered on the proof of registration.

Regulatory Information

Last update: November 8, 2022

Notice

The information published on this website has been simplified and provides a summary of the main regulatory provisions. It does not replace in any way the official texts of laws and regulations. For more detailed information on a specific rule, refer to theRegulation respecting hunting in Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window., the Regulation respecting hunting activities This hyperlink will open in a new window. or the Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife This hyperlink will open in a new window., which are all available on LégisQuébec.

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