2020 Cormorant hunting season

Ontario has introduced a fall hunting season for double-crested cormorants.

You can hunt cormorants in accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and general small game hunting requirements allowed with an Outdoors Card and small game licence, similar to other game bird species.

These rules also apply to hunting double-crested cormorants.

  • Open season is September 15 to December 31 in all Wildlife Management Units.
  • The harvest limit is 15 birds per day.
  • You can use shotguns, including muzzle-loading shotguns, not larger than 10 gauge with non-toxic ammunition. You cannot use a shotgun loaded with a shell containing a single projectile.
  • You can hunt double-crested cormorants from a stationary motorboat, meaning the motorboat is not in motion and the power to the motor has been turned off.
  • You are exempt from the requirement to wear hunter orange during the open season for deer, elk, and moose. This is consistent with the rules for hunting migratory game birds other than woodcock.
  • All other relevant federal, provincial, and municipal laws/rules related to hunting apply (for example trespassing, municipal discharge of firearms by-laws, federal firearm licensing requirements.)

Retrieval and disposal

Hunters must follow additional rules for retrieving and disposing of cormorants. You must:

  • have adequate means of retrieving any bird that is shot
  • immediately retrieve the bird, dispatch the bird if it is alive when retrieved, and include it in your bag limit

If you choose to not use the birds you harvest, you must dispose of the birds by either: