Hunting weapons, ammunition and other gear

New rules are now applicable to weapons, ammunition and hunting gear. See the “Main New Measures” section for details.

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.

Transporting a crossbow

For safety reasons, the crossbow string must never be attached to the firing mechanism during transportation, even if a bolt has not been loaded.

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) This hyperlink will open in a new window. 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

Large game

WeaponMooseWhite-tailed deer, black bear
RiflesRifles of a calibre equal to or greater than 6 mm (.243): centre-file cartridges
Shotguns10- or 12-gauge shotguns used with slug cartridges10, 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 bulletMuzzle-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) 
BowsBows 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 3Crossbows 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 boltsArrows and bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm (7/8”) 

Wild turkey

WeaponsWild turkey
RiflesNone
Shotguns10, 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 firearmMuzzle-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
BowsAll
CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3All
Arrows and blotsArrows and bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm (7/8”) 

Small game

WeaponsSmall game
(except coyotes, wolves, marmots, red foxes, silver foxes, cross foxes and migratory birds)
RiflesRifles with rimfire cartridges
ShotgunsShotguns: 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)
Black powder and modern powder firearmsMuzzle-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
BowsAll
CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3All
Arrows and boltsAll
WeaponsCoyotes, wolves, marmots, red foxes, silver foxes, cross foxes
RiflesAll
ShotgunsAll
Air riflesNone
Black powder and modern powder firearmsAll
BowsAll
CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3All
Arrows and boltsAll
WeaponsMigratory birds
RiflesNone
Shotguns10-gauge shotguns or smaller: non-toxic shot (pellets or buckshot) – no more than three cartridges in the weapon
Air riflesNone
Black powder and modern powder firearms10-gauge shotguns or smaller: non-toxic shot (pellets or buckshot)
BowsAll
CrossbowsLire le contenu de la note numéro 3None
Arrows and boltsAll
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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. 

Authorized gear

Laser

Laser-guided devices may be used for hunting.

Electronic devices

Electronic in-ear sound amplifiers 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.

Non-toxic shot

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.

Vehicles

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.

Prohibited gear

It is prohibited to hunt:

  • Using a means or an electronic or other type of device that identifies, detects or indicates the immediate presence of an animal in order to hunt it. However, an in-ear sound amplifier that amplifies sounds to make them easier to hear is permitted.
  • 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.

You are also prohibited from hunting while under the influence of alcohol.

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.
  • using a shotgun that can hold more than three cartridges at once.
  • using live callers.
  • using recorded bird calls (except for snow geese).
  • using a single shot cartridge.

For additional information on migratory bird hunting, please see the Canadian government’s Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations This hyperlink will open in a new window. or call  1 800 668-6767.

Regulatory Information

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