You may use different weapons, depending on the species you wish to hunt. However, you must comply with certain rules concerning the weapon’s calibre or component parts (ammunition, bow torque, arrows, etc.) and the use of additional gear (laser pointer, electronic devices, devices to call wildlife, etc.).
Crossbow and bow
To hunt with a crossbow or bow, you must have a hunter’s certificate bearing code A or code B (unless you are a non-resident). Despite the information that appears on the back of the certificate, crossbow hunting has not been permitted under Code F since 2007.
Depending on the species hunted, you must ensure that the torque and draw of your bow and the cutting diameter of your arrows fall within the requirements). Regardless of whether you use a bow or a crossbow, the point of the arrow or bolt must be as sharp as a razor.
Hunting with a bow or crossbow is still permitted during a firearm hunting season, except in zones 17, 22, 23 and 24, where crossbows are prohibited.
Special precautions when using a crossbow
It is important to remember that a crossbow, like any other hunting implement, is a weapon that must be handled with the utmost caution. A loaded crossbow must be handled in the same way as a loaded firearm. Please pay special attention to obstacles that might impede the course of the crossbow’s limbs when shooting
Killing an animal with a bow or crossbow
Whether it is shot with a bow or a crossbow, the animal dies because of the hemorrhage caused by the arrow. For big game animals, you must wait anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours after firing the arrow, depending on the part of the animal’s body that was struck. This gives the animal enough time to lie down and die. Ideally, the arrow should hit the animal in the areas around the heart, liver and lungs. The head and neck are not suitable targets.
Particular aspects of hunting with a crossbow
Although a crossbow must be handled in the same way as a firearm, you must always remember that a crossbow is simply a bow mounted on a stock. In other words, the same hunting techniques are applicable to both bows and crossbows. They have a similar, limited range and it is therefore extremely important to make an accurate assessment of the distance between you and the target animal.
We recommend that you practise shooting before going hunting, so that you are familiar with your weapon, its capabilities and its limitations. It is easier to learn to shoot with a crossbow than with a bow. Provided you remain within the crossbow’s range, you will obtain satisfactory hit results more quickly than with a bow.
Safe crossbow transportation
For safety purposes, when your hunting activity is complete and you are walking, ensure that the crossbow rope is not armed, that is, engaged in the firing mechanism, even if the rail does not contain an arrow. In addition, when on or in a vehicle, possession of a crossbow whose string is taut and connected to the firing mechanism with or without an arrow attached to it is prohibited.
Shotgun and rifle
To hunt with a rifle (including black powder and muzzle-loading rifles) or a shotgun (including black powder and muzzle-loading shotguns), Code F must appear on your hunter’s certificate. This means you must have taken the required training and have your firearm possession and acquisition licence (PAL) which is compulsory to own or acquire a firearm. The only case in which you do not need a PAL is if you use a borrowed firearm and are under the direct and immediate supervision of its owner.
- The authorized calibre varies according to the species hunted and the type of firing mechanism (in rifles).
- A rifle cannot be used to hunt wild turkey or migratory birds.
- You may use an airgun to hunt certain small game species.
Authorized weapons by species
|Weapon||Moose||White-tailed deer, black bear|
|Rifles||Rifles of a calibre equal to or greater than 6 mm (.243): centre-file cartridges|
|Shotguns||10- or 12-gauge shotguns used with slug cartridges||10, 12, 16 or 20 –gauge shotguns used with shells loaded with slugs or shot of a diameter equal to or greater than 7.6 mm (1 Buck or SG or .30)|
|Black powder and modern powder firearms||Muzzle-loadingLire le contenu de la note numéro 1 or breech-loading rifles and shotguns, without a casing, of a gauge or calibre equal to or greater than 12.7 mm (.50), used with a single bullet||Muzzle-loadingLire le contenu de la note numéro 2 or breech-loading rifles and shotguns, without a casing, of a gauge or calibre equal to or greater than 11 mm (.45), used with slugs or shot equal to or greater than 7.6 mm in diameter (1 Buck or SG or .30)|
|Bows||Bows with a torque of at least 18 kg (40 lb.), within a draw of 0 to 71 cm (28 “)|
|CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3||Crossbows with a torque of at least 54 kg (120 lb.) and equipped with a safety catch. The bolt must be at least 40 cm (16”) long, including the tip.|
|Arrows and bolts||Arrows and bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm (7/8”)|
|Shotguns||10, 12, 16 or 20-gauge shotguns used with shot used with no. 4, 5, 6 or 7 shot cartridgesLire le contenu de la note numéro 4|
|Black powder and modern powder firearm||Muzzle-loading and breech-loading firearms, without a casing, used with no. 4, 5, 6 or 7 shot Lire le contenu de la note numéro 4|
|CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3||All|
|Arrows and blots||Arrows and bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm (7/8”)|
(except coyotes, wolves, marmots, red foxes, silver foxes, cross foxes, raccoon and migratory birds)
|Rifles||Rifles with rimfire cartridges|
|Shotguns||Shotguns: cartridges with pellets of 5.6 mmLire le contenu de la note numéro 5 or less in diameter|
|Air rifles||.177 or greater calibre air rifles with a velocity of at least 152.4 metres per second (500 feet per second) using projectiles of a diameter equal to or greater than 4.4 mm.|
|Black powder and modern powder firearms||Muzzle-loading or breech-loading shotguns or rifles, without a casing, used with shot that is less than 5.6 mmLire le contenu de la note numéro 5 in diameter for shotguns and equal to or less than 9.14 mm (.36) in diameter for rifles|
|CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3||All|
|Arrows and bolts||All|
|Weapons||Coyotes, wolves, marmots, red foxes, silver foxes, cross foxes, raccoon|
|Black powder and modern powder firearms||All|
|CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3||All|
|Arrows and bolts||All|
|Shotguns||10-gauge shotguns or smaller: non-toxic shot (pellets or buckshot) – no more than three cartridges in the weapon|
|Black powder and modern powder firearms||10-gauge shotguns or smaller: non-toxic shot (pellets or buckshot)|
|Bows||With a torque of at least 18 kg|
|CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3||With a torque of at least 45 kg|
|Arrows and bolts||Arrow or bolt with a razor-sharp tip composed of at least two blades and a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm|
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During the moose hunting season for muzzle-loading firearms, crossbows and bows in zones 1, 2 and 10 east and in the Dumoine, Kipawa, Maganasipi and Restigo ZECs in zone 13, black powder and modern powder firearms are permitted only if they are single-barrel.
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During the white-tailed deer hunting season for shotguns, muzzle-loading firearms, crossbows and bows, black powder and modern powder firearms are permitted only if they are single-barrel.
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The use of a crossbow for hunting is prohibited in zones 17, 22, 23 and 24.
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10, 12, 16 or 20-gauge shotguns using shotgun shells between 2.50 and 3.40 mm in diameter, and muzzle-loading and breech-loading rifles and shotguns using shot between 2.50 and 3.40 mm are also permitted. No. 4, 5, 6 or 7 cartridges are permitted, as are crossbows and bows using bolts and arrows with a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm (7/8”).
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4 Buck, F or AAA or smaller shotgun shells are permitted to hunt small game.
Laser-guided devices may be used for hunting.
Electronic devices such as earphones or a headset that amplify sounds to make them easier to hear are authorized for hunting, as are electronic devices to call an animal.
However, recordings of bird calls are prohibited when hunting all migratory birds except snow geese.
Only non-toxic shot is permitted to hunt migratory birds deemed to be game throughout Québec. You must not have any other type of shot, other than non-toxic shot, in your possession when hunting migratory birds. These restrictions do not apply if you are hunting American woodcock.
In national wildlife reserves, please note you are only permitted to have non-toxic shot in your possession when hunting migratory birds deemed to be game.
Snares, small implements and other devices
Snares are authorized only for hunting the snowshoe hare, Arctic hare and eastern cottontail rabbit in specific zones.
You may only use a deadfall, barrier, dart, dip net, pitfall, hook and hand to hunt leopard frogs, green frogs and American bullfrogs.
For information on the vehicles that may be used for hunting, and the rules applicable to them, see the section on Vehicles, aircraft and boats.
It is prohibited to hunt:
- Using a means or device (electronic or otherwise) to identify, detect or indicate to the hunter the immediate presence of an animal when the hunter is at the hunting site with the intent to hunt. Thus, smartphones connected to a camera-based surveillance system (including a drone) operating at the hunting site are not permitted when the hunter is present at the site, watching for game and possessing a weapon. However, an earpiece or headset that amplifies sounds to make them easier to hear is permitted.
- A night vision or thermal imaging device.
- Using a live animal as a decoy.
- Using a device that allows you to trigger or discharge a weapon without activating it yourself.
- Using natural cervid urine from any wild or farmed cervid in or outside Québec, for hunting purposes.
- Using natural deer urine from any source, at any time, even on Anticosti Island, or any other natural olfactory lure from any cervid (e.g. tarsal gland, pheromones).
- Using traps or snares (see the exceptions for hares and rabbits).
- Using a poison, an explosive, a toxic substance or an electrical discharge.
- Using tracer bullets and hard-point military-type bullets with non-flattening tips.
- An aircraft to locate or drive animals for hunting.
Hunting under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug, including cannabis, is also prohibited.
Gear used to hunt migratory birds
You are prohibited from hunting migratory birds using:
- more than one shotgun; all additional shotguns must not be loaded and must be dismantled or unloaded and placed in a closed case;
- a shotgun that can hold more than three cartridges at once;
- a shotgun on which the magazine is not blocked with a one-piece metal, plastic or wooden plug that can only be removed if the shotgun is dismantled; it is prohibited, at the hunting site, to be in possession of a detachable magazine with a capacity of more than two cartridges;
- live callers;
- recorded bird calls (except for snow geese);
- a single shot cartridge.
For additional information on migratory bird hunting, please see the Canadian government’s Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations or call 1 800 668-6767.
Firearms registration and 14-day notice
All owners of unrestricted firearms are required to register them through the Québec Firearms Registration Service. A wildlife protection officer may give you a notice if your weapon is not registered.
You have 14 days to complete the online form to prove that you have already submitted a registration application for this weapon. If you do not submit this form, criminal sanctions will apply.
For more information, consult the Firearms registration section.
Other rules governing firearms
Other laws and regulations governing the use of firearms in Québec include:
- Federal firearms legislation and hunters
- Municipal by-laws
- Act to protect persons with regard to activities involving firearms
Read the highlights of the federal legislation and other firearms regulations.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free phone line: 1-844-523-6738
Last update: March 22, 2023