Keep a dead wild animal

The rules for keeping a dead wild animal that you have found, bought, imported, received as a gift, possessed before its death or killed to protect property. This includes roadkill.

The law

In general, you can keep a dead wild animal or bird you have found or been given.

In some cases, you need to register that you have a dead wild animal in order to keep it.

This rule applies to certain:

  • large mammals (e.g., black bear)
  • birds of prey (e.g., bald eagle)
  • furbearing mammals (e.g., coyote)

For information about keeping dead migratory birds, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Registration

You don’t always need to register the possession.  The process depends on:

  • the type of wild animal
  • how you acquired it

If you need to register, you register for what’s called a Notice of Possession – this allows you to keep the dead wild animal for personal use. You must keep the Confirmation of Registration you receive for as long as the animal is in your possession.

Source law

This is a summary of the provincial laws. You can find a complete set of rules related to this activity in:

  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
  • Ontario Regulation 666/98 (possession, buying and selling of wildlife)
  • Endangered Species Act, 2007

You cannot sell dead wild animals under a Notice of Possession.

Species at risk

Special rules apply for endangered or threatened species. You can only keep endangered or threatened species under very limited circumstances (e.g., for scientific and education purposes). 

Endangered or threatened species are listed on the Species at risk in Ontario list. Please contact a local Ministry of Natural Resources Forestry (MNRF) office for more information about the rules.

Species at risk in Ontario list

Find an MNRF district office

When you need to register

Large mammals

This group includes:

  • black bear
  • white-tailed deer
  • moose
  • American elk
  • woodland caribou

Additional rules may apply to woodland caribou (forest-dwelling boreal populations) under the Endangered Species Act.

Yes, you need to register a large mammal

If you:

  • find the wild animal dead (e.g., roadkill)
  • are a landowner or wildlife agent protecting property who has lawfully killed a black bear in protection of property

No, you don't need to register a large mammal

If you:

  • lawfully killed it (e.g., with the appropriate hunting licence)
  • receive it as a gift from someone who lawfully killed it
  • lawfully possessed it before its death (e.g., in a licensed zoo)
  • are a taxidermist or butcher possessing it in the course of your business

What's a wildlife agent?

Raptors (birds of prey)

This group includes:

  • bald eagle
  • peregrine falcon
  • northern goshawk
  • golden eagle
  • gyrfalcon
  • northern harrier
  • American kestrel
  • American swallow-tailed kite
  • merlin
  • osprey
  • turkey vulture
  • certain hawks (broad-winged, Cooper’s, red-shouldered, red-tailed, rough-legged, and sharp-shinned)
  • certain owls (barn, barred, boreal, burrowing, eastern screech, great gray, great horned, long-eared, northern hawk, northern saw-whet, short-eared, and snowy)

Additional rules may apply to golden eagle and barn owl under the Endangered Species Act.

Yes, you need to register a raptor

If you:

  • find it dead (e.g., roadkill)
  • are a landowner or wildlife agent who has lawfully killed it protecting property
  • receive it as a gift

No, you don't need to register a raptor

If you:

  • receive it as a gift from a person who lawfully killed it
  • lawfully possessed it before its death (e.g., in a licensed zoo)
  • are a taxidermist possessing it in the course of your business

Furbearing mammals (and their pelts)

This group includes:

  • American badger
  • beaver
  • bobcat
  • coyote
  • fisher
  • fox (Arctic, gray, red)
  • lynx
  • marten
  • mink
  • muskrat
  • opossum
  • otter
  • polar bear
  • raccoon
  • red squirrel
  • striped skunk
  • weasel (least, long-tailed, short-tailed or ermine)
  • wolf
  • wolverine

Additional rules may apply under the Endangered Species Act to American badger, gray fox, polar bear and wolverine that originate from Ontario.

Yes, you need to register a furbearing mammal

If you:

  • find it dead (e.g., roadkill)
  • are a landowner or wildlife agent who has lawfully killed it protecting property
  • buy or otherwise acquire or import the pelt of a furbearing mammal, or the carcass including the pelt, for your own personal use

No, you don't need to register a furbearing mammal

If you:

  • lawfully killed it (e.g., if you are a licensed trapper or small game hunter)
  • lawfully possessed it before its death (e.g., in a licensed zoo)
  • are a taxidermist or butcher possessing it in the course of your business

Rules that apply to the possession of a pelt

How to register

Step 1: Sign in or create a ONe-key ID

Step 2: Create a Natural Resources Registry profile

Step 3: Register a Notice of Possession

  • select My Services from the main menu
  • click on Create New Registration
  • select Notice of Possession from the registry options
  • complete the required information
  • submit the registration

Step 4: Keep your confirmation

  • you will receive an official Confirmation of Registration by email
  • keep a copy as proof of registration
  • registration is free

Register by mail:

Step 1: Download the Notice of Possession Form

Step 2: Mail the completed form to:
Registry and Approval Services Centre
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
300 Water Street
Peterborough ON K9J 8M5

Step 3: You’ll receive your Confirmation of Registration within 15 business days.

Buy, sell or give wildlife

In most cases, you cannot buy or sell game wildlife or specially protected wildlife, whether alive or dead, without permission.

Some rare exceptions exist (e.g., selling a pelt as a licensed trapper).

For more information, please contact a local MNRF district office.

Giving as a gift

You can give a dead wild animal as a gift, if you legally acquired it, though you may need to register it first.

Updated: November 4, 2014