Q&A: Discharging a firearm on water

by Editorial Staff | December 5, 2013

water - man with firearm

Q: When waterfowl hunting on water, how far do you need to be from waterfront homes or cottages in order to discharge a firearm? Does it depend on the township/municipality? Todd Willson, Halton Hills

A: Under federal and provincial hunting regulations, there are no minimum distances that one must be from a cottage or home. However, many municipalities have no-discharge of firearms by-laws that set out such minimum distances. You should always check with the local municipality to determine what rules may be in place.

Also, under provincial hunting law, depending on where in the province you are, and at what time of year, there are prohibitions on having a loaded firearm on a right of way for public vehicular traffic or within 8 metres of the travelled portion of the right of way. In addition, there are prohibitions on discharging on, across, or from a right of way for public vehicular traffic.

Lastly, there are a couple of areas where there are set distances one must be from shore to hunt. For example, on Lake St. Francis and parts of the east shore of Lake St. Clair you must be within 300 metres of shore or an island to hunt migratory game birds. Conversely, along the southern shore of Lake St. Clair fronting the municipalities of Tecumseh and Lakeshore, you may not possess or use a firearm for the purpose of hunting within 200 metres of the water’s edge. On the Ottawa River fronting Pembroke, there is a similar prohibition to within 400 metres of the water’s edge. For detailed information on these exceptions, please contact the local offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

David Critchlow, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, Ministry of Natural Resources