Canada is known for its vast nature reserve and diverse wildlife which is super popular with nature enthusiasts. I know I enjoyed hiking and camping in Muskoka and Prince Albert Park some memories that will always be unforgettable. But have you ever thought about hunting in Canada? Now, hunting here isn’t just a hobby; it’s part of our rich history. For generations, people have headed into the great Canadian outdoors, not just for food but as a way to connect with nature. Let me tell you, it’s an exciting journey to be a part of it. But how do you get started? Well here is a guide to help you get started on this journey.
How to Start Hunting in Canada
Learn the Rules and Licenses
Of course, before we go hunting, we must learn the local rules and required licenses. We cherish our wildlife and prosecute those who poach and illegally hunt. So, depending on which province, city, national park or private property always be aware of any laws especially if you are hunting with firearms.
Hunting Licenses By Province:
- British Colombia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Hunting Licenses By Territories
Keep in mind some provinces hunting licenses are as simple as paying a fee and receiving a license while some require education courses or tests before obtaining the license.
There also Federal Firearm licenses you will need if hunting by long gun.
Once you get your license it is time to look at equipment. This is where all the fun is, whether your are using a firearm, bow or crossbow, or whether you are hunting deer, duck or bear your equipment list can be vastly different. I usually buy my equipment from Cabelas , but there are some pretty good value items on Amazon as well.
A few barebone basic things you should always have are:
Learn to Field Dress
Hunting is about what happens after the catch too. Learning to field dress hunt is a very important part to your hunting adventure. Proper dressing and disposal helps you keep your meat as fresh as possible without contaminating it with unsavory parts of the animal. Once dressed and brought back home after a long day, cooking your catch can be really rewarding. I’ll never forget my first time cooking a meal with a rabbit I caught. It made me feel super connected to the food and nature.
Tag Along or Find a Hunting Guide
The best way to start is by joining someone who’s been hunting for years. My first time out was with my neighbor, Mr. Thompson. I learned so much just by watching and listening to him. It’s like getting a behind-the-scenes look at hunting. A lot of hunting instincts are passed down from generation to generation. This is stuff you cant learn from a guide or a YouTube video.
Another option is to find a mentor to take you hunting! There are tons of services around Canada that offer guided hunts to get your started. Some of them even provide accommodations, licensing, weapons and dressing services for your kill. These guides can last between a single day to a week depending on what you are hunting. A great way to get some hands on experience if you are the first in your family to start hunting. I usually use Book Your Hunt to find registered hunters all across Canada who offer this service.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice shooting before you go hunting, be it bowhunting or firearms any time at the range can help you calm your nerves and understand your weapon better on the field. It also important to practice setting up your accessories like tents and tree stands so you are not spending too much time fumbling around in the field. I spent many afternoons practicing in my uncle’s field from shooting to setting up my hunting blind and packing it back up. This way I can develop a system and not forget things after a hunt.
What You'll Need Summarized
Licenses, Fees and Regulations: Always know your laws and pay your fees the last thing you want is issues with the park rangers.
Gear: Get your hunting gear ready, like a gun or bow, outdoor clothes, and other essentials.
A Hunting Friend, mentor or guide: It’s great to have someone experienced with you to teach you the ropes.
Practice Time: Practice, practice, practice. Setting up, hiking or shooting its always good the be ready.
Have Fun: Of course not every hunt will be successful. Even if they are not always have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself just enjoy the outdoors and time away from the rat race.
Getting into hunting in Canada is like joining an adventure that’s been going on for ages. It’s more than just a hobby; it’s a way to really get to know the wild side of our country. So gear up, learn what you need to, and step into the world of Canadian hunting. You’re going to have a blast!