Ask a C.O. – Carrying multiple firearms

by Emily Walsh | October 13, 2017

We are often asked about the use of multiple firearms when hunting. Here some of our most helpful questions and answers from the “Ask a C.O.” section of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

multiple firearms

Q: During the black-powder season for deer, can you carry both a muzzleloader and a crossbow at the same time? I was unable to find or maybe missed these items in the regulations.
Jim Plumley, Athens

A: Generally, yes, during a “black-powder” season for deer you may carry a muzzle-loading gun and/or a bow, including a crossbow. There are some exceptions –— WMUs 76E, 91, and 92 do not allow bows during the “black-powder” seasons, only muzzle-loading guns.

Q: While coyote hunting in southern Ontario, is it legal to possess a loaded shotgun as well as a loaded rifle while on stand or in a blind?
Kevin Murphy, Mississauga

A: You are faced with several different scenarios. Each will have its own answer.
-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of shotguns and rifles and also hunting deer, then you can carry a shotgun and a rifle.
-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of shotguns but not rifles and you are also hunting deer, then you can carry a shotgun but not a rifle.
-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that allows the use of guns but you are not hunting deer, then you can carry a rifle, but it cannot be a rifle with a greater muzzle energy than 400 foot pounds (i.e. needs to be a rimfire rifle).
-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that does not allow the use of guns and you are also hunting deer, then you cannot carry any type of gun but will be restricted to hunting with a bow or crossbow.
-If you are hunting coyotes during a deer season that does not allow the use of guns and you are not hunting deer, then you can carry both the shotgun and the rifle.
-If you are hunting coyotes during a time when there is no open deer season, then you can carry both the shotgun and the rifle.
Further, depending on where in southern Ontario you are hunting, there may be a calibre restriction prohibiting the use of a rifle of greater calibre than the rifle known as a .275-calibre rifle. This restriction applies in Brant, Chatham-Kent, Durham, Elgin, Essex, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Norfolk, Northumberland, Oxford, Peel, Perth, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington, and York.
Also remember that an apprentice hunter and mentor may only carry a single firearm between them.

Q: During the spring bear hunt, are you allowed to carry a shotgun or rifle while bowhunting?
Ben Patkus,London

A: Yes, during the spring bear hunt you may carry any type of firearm for hunting bear. If using a rifle to hunt bear, it must be a centre-fire rifle.

Q: I’ve purchased a combination gun: a 12 gauge over a .308. Can I use this for hunting, let’s say, geese, even if the .308 isn’t allowed and not carrying .308 ammo? Or, when hunting deer in a shotgun-only area, again, not carrying any ammo for the .308, would those situations be legal?
Dan St Denis, Moose Creek

A: The combination gun could be used for hunting geese, provided that only the shotgun portion is used, with appropriate ammunition. However, it would not be legal to carry or use for hunting deer during a deer season that does not allow the use of rifles, regardless of whether the person had .308 ammunition or not.

Answers by:
David Critchlow
Provincial Enforcement Specialist
Enforcement Branch
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Always remember to check the regulations for your Wildlife Management Unit before heading out.

Pick up a copy of Ontario OUT of DOORS on newsstands or subscribe here for even more Ask a C.O.

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  • Ryan Holyoake

    I am curious where in the FWCA it prohibits this. Carrying a 12ga/308 while goose hunting should be no different than deer hunting in a shotgun only season in theory….

    • DM

      Section 70 of Ontario Regulation 665/98 (made under the FWCA): “A person who hunts deer, elk or moose shall not use or carry a firearm unless the firearm is of a class specified for use during the open season applicable to the species, person and area in Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons — Wildlife).”

      Goose hunting is regulated under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, which I guess contains no equivalent provisions… it regulates what you can use to hunt migratory birds, but not what else you can carry unloaded while hunting them.