Wild animal control: information for municipalities
The rules for municipalities that want to use licensed hunters or trappers to hunt or trap some species of wild animals in their communities.
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Ontario works with municipalities to prevent and manage conflicts between wildlife and people.
Municipalities are responsible for deciding on and taking appropriate actions when human-wildlife encounters create ongoing conflict situations on municipal property, and can also take action on private property with the permission of the landowner.
In many cases, conflicts between wildlife and people can be prevented. However, when prevention fails, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act allows municipalities to protect their property by harassing, capturing or killing a variety of wildlife species, including coyotes, or to hire an agent to do so on their behalf.
Municipalities may also take action to address human-wildlife conflicts on private property with the permission of the landowner. No approval or authorization is required from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry NDMNRF in these cases.
Municipalities can hire licensed hunters or trappers to help deal with furbearing mammals (such as coyotes, beavers, and skunks) within their municipal boundaries.
The province supports municipalities by providing advice and expertise on:
- actions they can take to resolve ongoing conflict situations
- how to find a licensed trapper or hunter
Any situation that impacts public safety should be referred to the local police since they have the authority to deal with these matters. Police can dispatch the animal if they decide it is necessary to protect public safety.
The law (effective July 1, 2013)
Municipalities can hire licensed hunters or trappers to help deal with furbearing mammals (for example, coyotes, beavers, skunks, etc.) within their municipal boundaries.
These animal control activities can only be carried out during the open season unless the animal is damaging or about to damage property.
- hires or employs the licensed hunter or trapper
- sets the terms of arrangements with the hunter or trapper
- pays for any services
A municipality does not need a special permit or authorization from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to do this.
Hired hunters or trappers must:
- comply with the conditions of their licence
- follow hunting and trapping rules (for example, use of pelts)
- follow any local by-laws (for example, when/where firearms can be used)
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 Regulations 665/98 (hunting)
- Ontario Regulations 667/98 (trapping)
Use a wildlife control agent
- licensed trappers or hunters
- a member of a landowner’s immediate family acting on behalf of the landowner
- a person whose business is primarily removing problem wildlife
- municipal employees with specific responsibilities for wildlife control (for example, Animal Services)
To locate a licensed trapper, contact:
You can also use a municipal employee to protect property from most species of wild animals on your behalf. The employee must have responsibilities related to animal control.
You need special NDMNRF authorization to use a hunter or trapper to deal with bears. But if a bear is posing an immediate threat to public or personal safety, no authorization is required.
Types of furbearing animals
Hunters or trappers can be used to control:
- fox (Arctic, red)
- red squirrel
- striped skunk
- weasel (least, long-tailed, short-tailed or ermine)