Keep, buy or sell a pelt
The rules for possessing a pelt (the untanned skin of a furbearing mammal) for personal or commercial use.
You can keep, buy or sell a pelt, if you follow certain rules.
Licence or registration may be required
In some cases, you need to register that you have a pelt in your possession. Registering the pelt will allow you to keep it for personal use.
In other cases you need a licence to possess a pelt.
The process and rules depend on:
- how you acquire the pelt
- what other licences you have (e.g., trapping licence)
- when you acquire and possess the pelt
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
The rules apply to these animals:
- American badger
- fox (Arctic, gray, red)
- polar bear
- red squirrel
- striped skunk
- weasel (least, long-tailed, short-tailed or ermine)
Additional rules may apply under the Endangered Species Act to American badger, gray fox, polar bear and wolverine originating from Ontario.
Species at risk
Special rules apply for endangered or threatened species (e.g., wolverine, American badger, gray fox, polar bear). You can only keep the pelts of these species under very limited circumstances (e.g., for scientific or education purposes).
These species are listed on the Species at risk in Ontario List. Please contact a local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) office for more information about the rules.
When you need to register
If you're not a licensed hunter or trapper who lawfully killed the animal, or a person who possesses pelts in the course of carrying out a business (e.g., a licensed fur dealer), you must register to keep a pelt and can only keep it for personal use.
Register for a Notice of Possession — which allows you keep a pelt for personal use — if you:
- received it as a gift
- bought it
- brought it to Ontario
- found a carcass
- acquired it in protection of property
Keep your Confirmation of Registration for as long as the pelt is in your possession.
When you need a licence
Apply for a Licence to Possess a Pelt if you are a:
- small game hunter who killed a furbearing mammal during the open season, but wish to keep it during the closed season
- licensed trapper or a farmer who, despite exercising all due diligence, killed a furbearing mammal during the closed season or exceeded the quota of your trapping licence
- farmer without a Farmer’s Licence to Sell Pelts and Carcasses who killed the animal during the open season, but wish to keep it during the closed season
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
- you will receive an official Confirmation of Registration by email
- keep a copy as proof of registration
- registration is free
Step 4: Keep your confirmation
Register by mail:
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.
You must keep a copy of the confirmation for as long as the pelt is in your possession.
How to get a licence
Contact your local MNRF office to get a Licence to Possess a Pelt, which allows some hunters, farmers and trappers to keep pelts, under certain circumstances.
No licence needed
In many cases, you don't need to get a licence to keep a pelt (e.g., if you hold certain licences).
This applies to:
- licensed fur dealers possessing a pelt in the course of your business
- licensed trappers who killed the animal during the open season (you need to complete a season-end harvest report to keep the pelt during the closed season)
- farmers holding a Farmer’s Licence to Sell Pelts and Carcasses who killed the animal during the open season for the species (you need to complete a season-end harvest report to keep the pelt during the closed season; you get this document when you apply for a Licence to Sell Pelts and Carcasses through an MNRF district office)
- farmers without a Farmer’s Licence to Sell Pelts and Carcasses who killed the animal during the open season (you can only keep the pelt during the open season; to keep the pelt during the closed season, you need to get a Licence to Possess a Pelt)
- licensed small game hunters who killed the animal during open season (you can only keep the pelt during the open season; to keep the pelt during the closed season, you need to get a Licence to Possess a Pelt)
Buy, sell and give pelts
The rules are different if you want to buy, sell or give pelts as gifts.
If you are required to submit a Notice of Possession form, you:
- cannot sell the pelt
- can give the pelt away to someone else
With a Licence to Possess a Pelt issued after July 1, 2013, you can:
- sell the pelt to a person who is legally allowed to buy it
- give the pelt to someone else
Different rules apply if you want to buy or sell pelts for commercial purposes.
The rules for commercial trade (e.g., trapping, taxidermy, tanning, fur dealing) are outlined in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and related regulations.