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Killing a game by accident or mistake

Killing by accident

Killing by accident, or accidental killing, means killing or capturing an animal involuntarily, unexpectedly and without planning to do so, when you do not have the appropriate licence. The term also applies to an animal whose killing is prohibited during the period in question, or that was killed using an unauthorized weapon.

It is your responsibility as a hunter to identify the animal you are shooting, and to ensure that the members of the same hunting expedition or the same group of moose hunters can communicate with one another when one of them shoots an animal. 

An animal is not considered to be killed by accident if it was incorrectly identified or if the situation was misinterpreted (e.g. the killing of a female moose because the hunter thought it was a male or a calf, or the killing of more animals than the permissible limit during a hunting expedition). See the section entitled Killing a big game animal by mistake.

If you injure or kill one of the following species by accident, you must immediately declare it to a wildlife protection officer and, if the officer so requests, hand the animal over for confiscation: 

Killing a big game animal by mistake

The following cases are the most common examples of killing by mistake:

  • A hunter kills an antlerless white-tailed deer or a female moose or a moose calf when not authorized to do so.
  • A hunter kills more animals than the bag limit allows.
  • The hunters in a given hunting expedition kill more moose than the bag limit allows.
  • During hunting subject to quotas in a wildlife reserve, the hunters in a given group kill more moose than the bag limit allows.

Although hunters are responsible for properly identifying the animal they wish to shoot, and for ensuring that the members of the same hunting expedition or moose hunting group can communicate with one another when one of them shoots an animal, big game animals are still killed every year during the hunting season as a result of mistaken identification or misinterpretation of situations.

The Québec government has introduced the following procedures to address these cases, to make hunters aware of their responsibilities and to differentiate between poaching and mistaken killing. 

For example, a hunter who kills a big game animal by mistake and follows the procedure below will benefit from a presumption of due diligence and no legal action will be taken.

What to do when killing animal by mistake

When the big game animal killed by mistake is an antlerless white-tailed deer, a female moose or a calf for which hunting is prohibited or for which you do not have a special licence obtained in a random draw, you must:

  1. Coupon : Immediately remove the transportation coupon from your hunting licence, place it on the animal, and stop hunting the species, since your licence is no longer valid. In the case of a moose, you do not need to make sure the stipulated number of additional transportation coupons are attached to the animal on the day it was killed. The Department’s aim is not to penalize the other members of the hunting expedition or group for the mistake. However, the moose hunting expedition must be ended if it is no longer composed of the requisite minimum number of people. A new expedition may then be assembled with other hunters, so that hunting can continue. In the case of a group of hunters in a wildlife reserve, the other members must immediately stop hunting if there are not enough people left to form a group.
  2. Transportation: You must do everything you can to avoid abandoning or wasting edible flesh by eviscerating the animal, storing and transporting it properly until it has been registered with a wildlife protection officer.
  3. Registration: Register the animal with a wildlife protection officer. You must immediately contact the wildlife protection office closest to the site of the kill, or call SOS Poaching – Wildlife Emergency at 1 800 463-219;
  4. Relinquishment: You must relinquish the animal to the wildlife protection officer at the time of registration.

Toutefois, les cas de braconnage qui découlent de comportements volontaires ou irresponsables de la part des chasseurs feront l'objet d'une enquête par les agents de protection de la faune et seront traités comme le prévoit la loi. Les cas d'abattage accidentel, par exemple le fait de tuer deux animaux d'une seule balle, seront traités conformément aux dispositions énoncées à la section Killing by accident.

Regulatory Information

Last update: May 6, 2024


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