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A Helpful Guide on Party Hunting and How to Avoid Tag and Seal Offences Per The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act .

Deer in field. A charge that alleges the improper party hunting violations as per the various relevant sections of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, S.O. 1997, Chapter 41, may bring significant penalties upon conviction, which may include a substantial monetary fine, among other consequences, depending on the nature and seriousness of the allegation(s) before the Court. Accordingly, offences related to party hunting, use and invalidation of tags and seals should be taken very seriously.

The Law

A person is permitted to hunt moose, deer, or black bear in a party consisting of two or more people who each hold a valid licence to hunt that particular species, even if the person has already invalidated their tag for that species. In such cases, in order to continue as a lawful hinting party, at least one member of the party must hold a tag that has not yet been invalidated. Additionally, the group members must comply with the following conditions:

  • each person must have a valid licence to hunt the big game species being hunted
  • the total number of moose, elk, deer or bear of a specified sex, age or type killed by the party does not exceed the total number of tags for that sex, age or type held by the members of the party
  • all members of the party must hunt together in the same Wildlife Management Unit or portion thereof, for which the tag is valid each member of the party must hunt within five kilometres of the person who holds the tag that is valid for the wildlife being hunted
  • each member of the party must be able to reliably and immediately communicate with other members of the party
  • all members of the party, including the person who holds the tag that is valid for the species that the party is hunting, must actively participate in the hunt and hunt co-operatively

Party hunting is also permitted for elk in accordance with the conditions noted above, however, additional  party hunting rules apply for elk, which include:

  • a person may only party hunt with the holder of an elk tag if they are part of the tag holder’s hunting group, with the validation number listed on their licence. Hunters wishing to party hunt for elk must apply to the elk draw as a group and list all members on the same application
  • party hunting for elk is limited to a maximum of four hunters (including the tag holder, but not including apprentice hunters)
  • multiple parties may not hunt cooperatively

The person who kills an animal while hunting in a party shall immediately notify all other members of the party that ananimal has been killed. If the tag holder is not the person who kills the animal, the tag holder must immediately go to the kill site, confirm the type/sex/age of the animal and then invalidate their tag. The term ‘invalidated tag’ refers to a tag that has been notched by the tag holder immediately after the kill, at the site of the kill and before moving the animal. If you have questions about party hunting, you shoul seek clarification from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Foresty before the hunt begins.

Summary Comment

It is illegal to transfer an outdoors card, licence, tag, or any component of a licence to another person, unless authorized to do so by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (e.g. an approved moose tag transfer). It is also illegal to use or possess an outdoors card, licence, tag, or any component of a licence that was issued to someone else. Only the person who was issued the tag may possess the tag unless it has been invalidated (notched) and affixed to an animal.

If you or a member of your hunting party have been charged with a tag or seal offence, or related Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act offence, then you need effective legal advocacy.  DefendCharges.ca can assist you in analyzing the allegations, informing you of the potential options available and to determine a prudent defence strategy.


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