General rules for trappers
Authorized means of trapping
You can trap an animal using:
- trapping gear authorized for each species;
- a bait, i.e., a nutrient or odour intended to lure an animal to trap it;
- a lure, i.e. an inanimate object or artificial reproduction of an animal’s shape. It can be a naturalized animal used to attract or entrust an animal to trap it;
- a dog to locate the muskrat for trapping;
- a breach in a beaver dam to check its presence.
In general, traps should be installed while ensuring that the trapped animal can never be suspended without support.
See our Use of traps section for current restrictions.
Use of a weapon and trapping hours
You may use a firearm to kill a beaver, coyote, wolf, lynx, striped skunk, raccoon, fox or black bear caught in a trap.
To use a firearm, a person under 18 years of age must be under the immediate supervision of a person 18 years of age or over who is in legal possession of this firearm, without forgetting the other rules relating to acquisition of a firearm.
You are forbidden to board any motorized ground vehicle, aircraft or trailer towed by a vehicle and:
at all times, be in possession of a loaded crossbow or a crossbow of which the string is drawn and attached to the firing mechanism or a firearm containing an unfired cartridge placed in the chamber, loader or magazine if attached to the weapon, or a muzzle-loading weapon containing powder, a projectile and a primer on the chimney or powder in the pan
fire a firearm, crossbow or bow from this vehicle, aircraft or trailer
at night, be in possession of an unloaded firearm, bow or crossbow, unless these weapons are stored in a closed case or stored in the trunk of the vehicle or in the hold of the aircraft.
At night, you may not be in possession of a loaded firearm or a loaded crossbow in a place frequented by big game without a reasonable excuse, unless you are engaging in a permitted hunting activity.
Trappers who occasionally use a firearm must comply with the regulations in effect. To learn more, consult the rules on the use of hunting weapons, ammunition and other gear. You must also study the. You must also study the federal and municipal rules applicable to firearms.
A professional trapper who has the required authorizations and training may obtain an authorization to carry restricted firearms. For more information, contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police .
Trapping may be done at night. The rules define night as the period extending from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
However, during this period, if the trapper has a projector and a firearm, a crossbow or a bow in a place frequented by big game, the trapper is presumed to be hunting at night, in the absence of any proof to the contrary.
It is also prohibited to use a projector, a reflector or a lighting, night vision or thermal imaging device to detect the presence of big game in a place frequented by it.
To know the sunrise and sunset times, you may use the function provided for this purpose on a GPS or consult the Government of Canada sunset/sunrise calculator (information provided based on Eastern Standard Time).
Trap limits and special conditions for black bear
The black bear is the only trapped species concerned by a trap limit. This varies between two and four per year, depending on the Fur-Bearing Animal Management Unit (known as UGAF) where you are trapping:
two black bears in UGAF 1 to 7, 11, 30 to 32, 42 to 54, 75 to 79 and 82
three black bears in UGAF 16, 80, 81 and 83 to 86
four black bears in UGAF 8 to 10, 12 to 15, 17 to 29, 33 to 41, 55 to 66, 70 to 74.
A trapper may capture no more than four black bears on certain conditions.
The annual trap limit for black bear is fixed according to the UGAF and not the conditions of a lease with exclusive trapping rights for land situated in this UGAF.
If another person is authorized to trap on the leaseholder’s land, this person may benefit from the trap limit not reached by the leaseholder. This person must trap the additional black bears on this land. The black bears captured will be considered to have been trapped by the leaseholder.
Registration and transportation coupon
When you capture a black bear, you must affix the transportation coupon attached to your trapping licence, before moving it. If the black bear is captured on a territory under a lease of exclusive rights, the transport coupon must come from the leaseholder’s professional trapping licence of this lease or from another holder of a professional trapping license who has been authorized to trap there.
Within 15 days of leaving your trapping location, you must register your bear according to the following two options:
1. Go a registration station
Registration in person is possible if you go to a registration station or if you have no Internet access. You will have to pay a fee of $7.39 because this is a service offered by traders.
Consult the list of open registration stations (in French).
2. Complete the form available online
Online registration allows you to avoid travelling to register your bear. This government service is free for the 2022 trapping season.
Information to provide
To be able to proceed with registration, you must have the following information in hand:
your full name, address and telephone number
your hunter’s or trapper's certificate number
your trapping licence number.
The transportation coupon must stay attached to the animal until it is butchered.
If the pelt is bound for dressing or sale, the transportation coupon must stay attached to it. These same rules apply in the case of a black bear captured on land with exclusive trapping rights by a person authorized to trap there by the leaseholder. The animal must be registered in the name of the person who captures it. Keep your proof of registration if you want to export the animal.
The holder of a professional trapping licence who captures a black bear must, at the request of a wildlife protection officer, have it registered with that officer immediately.
Use of bait for bear
It is forbidden to deposit a nutritional substance as bait for black bear during the following periods:
- from July 1 to August 31 for Fur-Bearing Animal Management Units 1 to 5, 7 to 37, 41 to 49, 51 to 55 and 70 to 86.
- from July 1 to August 15 for Fur-Bearing Animal Management Units 6, 38 to 40, 50, 56 to 66.
Accidental capture refers to the involuntary capture of an animal:
- whose capture is prohibited during the period in question
- of a species that is not the object of trapping
- using an unauthorized trapping device for the species
In case of accidental captures of dogs, deer or other unintended species, the use of safe tools is recommended to release them (e.g. tarp, handmade shield, handling claw, collar, restraint pole, cable cutter, etc.).
If you accidentally capture a bird of prey in one of your traps, whether dead or alive, you must report it to SOS Poaching – Wildlife Emergency. A wildlife protection officer will come visit you to recover the bird of prey and deliver it to the wildlife rehabilitation centre.
When the bird is alive, you must:
- put on thick gloves that will protect you from claw or beak strikes;
- cover its head with a hood or cover to block its vision and calm it. If there are two of you, one diverts the bird while the other covers it by passing behind it;
- control the bird's feet by covering the claws with a cloth (towel, scarf, etc.);
- hold the bird securely in your arms while another person cuts the snare or opens the trap. If you are alone, you must wrap the whole bird in a cloth (except the foot that is caught, as the case may be) to be able to cut the snare or open the trap;
- transport the bird wrapped or in a jute pouch until you have a large perforated plastic container or a solid cardboard box. The bottom of the container must be filled with newspaper strips;
- remove the cloth and place it in this container. It is important never to place a bird of prey in a wire cage, because it could injure itself;
- keep it in a dark place, at about 22°C.
Watch this video for tips (in French only) on how to reduce incidental catch and how to handle a bird of prey.
Certain animals found injured or dead must be reported to a wildlife protection officer and you must turn it over to the officer if so required.
Any fish captured accidentally must be returned immediately, dead or alive, to the waters where it was caught.
It is prohibited to have possession of a migratory bird unless you hold a specific licence issued for this purpose. In case of accidental capture, the migratory bird must be left immediately, dead or alive, where it was caught.
Tips for reducing accidental capture risks
To avoid accidental captures, follow these tips:
- avoid installing or laying snares between the bait deposit site and an open area (e.g. field, road, trail). This space could serve as landing areas for a bird of prey or access paths for a pet (e.g. dog);
- maintain a minimum distance of 10 m between the snares closest to the site where the bait is located;
- deposit the bait in a receptacle, hide it or bury it completely and fasten it solidly, if possible;
- avoid clearing the bait deposit site.
Possession of animals, fish or pelts
Possession of a bear gall bladder separated from the animal carcass is prohibited.
Every person who transports or is in possession of an animal, fish or undressed pelt shall, at the request of a wildlife protection officer or wildlife protection assistant, identify themselves and indicate the origin of the animal, fish or pelt.
Possession of a raw polar bear pelt is subject to special rules. For more information on this subject, contact the Bureau de la gestion de la faune du Nord-du-Québec.
Keeping animals in captivity is subject to rules.
Occasionally, the use of fish as bait is permitted. Some rules apply:
- a trapper who has possession of freshwater, anadromous or catadromous fish, caught by sport fishing elsewhere than at the trapper's permanent residence, must not skin, cut or pack it in a manner that makes it difficult to determine the species, the length (when a size limit applies) or the number of fish
- trappers must pay special attention to the quantity of fish in their possession for species for which a possession limit applies. Consult the sport fishing rules
- a trapper who is in possession of fish caught under a commercial fishing licence does not have to comply with the possession limits
- a trapper may not transport live fish.
Sale and purchase of game and fish
It is forbidden to sell or purchase an animal, an invertebrate or a wildlife by-product, the sale of which is prohibited by regulation.
The sale or purchase of bear gallbladder and bile is prohibited.
The purchase and sale of the edible flesh of any animal that was caught legally and for which a trapping period is provided are permitted from the third day after the opening of the trapping period of this animal up to the fifteenth day after its closing.
It is forbidden to sell, barter, purchase or offer to purchase freshwater fish.
However, a person may sell or purchase dead fish if they were caught with a commercial fishing licence or if they come from a fish farm.
Last update: November 23, 2023