Small Game Hunting: 3 Recommendations from Sépaq


January 28, 2022


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Small game hunting destinations to discover

© SEPAQ Photo Credit: Yan Kaczynski

Explore hundreds of kilometers of wooded trails, streams and other land teeming with ruffed grouse, spruce grouse and snowshoe hare. After reading this article, you will want to make these three Sépaq wildlife reserves your new playgrounds for small game hunting.

Article written in collaboration with Sépaq Parks.

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Small game hunting destinations to discover in three regions of the province of Quebec

Small game hunting is a high-success activity that you can do alone or in a small group. This type of hunting requires being on the lookout and travelling through vast hunting areas on foot, by truck, or by ATV. To stack the odds in your favour, visit one of these three wildlife reserves to perfect your techniques and maximize your harvests.

By visiting Sépaq’s territories, you will be sure to have access to cutting-edge mapping tools, qualified and passionate staff, and functional and welcoming cabins, whether you are taking your first steps as a hunter, or you have many years of experience.

To learn more and stock up on tips, consult the ABCs of small game hunting offered by Sépaq Parks (available in French only).

1. Des Laurentides Wildlife Reserve in the Quebec City region (and partially Charlevoix, Mauricie, and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean) Croche McCormick zones

Small game hunting in Des Laurentides Wildlife Reserve

© SEPAQ Photo Credit: Émile David

This reserve with steep peaks is the ideal place to provide an experience of a lifetime to the next generation of hunters. Bring your children or grandchildren here and take the fun practice course to familiarize them with target firearm shooting. Please note that young people in attendance must be between 12 and 17 years of age or over to be able to hunt and they must be accompanied by an adult with a licence and small game hunting rights.

If you opt for a hunting package with cottage accommodation, you will have access to wooden cottages that can accommodate between 2-8 people. They are each equipped with practical amenities: lighting, stove, refrigerator, toiler, hot water and shower, fireplace or wood stove, etc., and they offer a unique character with a lake view.

You will also have the luxury of hunting by foot, by bike, or even mountain bike, and you’ll be able to enjoy a community fire pit area at which to cook your freshly harvested catches and share your hunting stories.

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from experts on site to make your stay a memorable one and return with a wealth of knowledge of the place.

  • Packages offered: Hunting and accommodation (from October 16th to 31, 2021) and small game hunting.
    • It is also possible to hunt in other zones (Launière and Mercier) from October 17 to 31, 2021.
  • Species to hunt: ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and snowshoe hare.

For more information, visit the reserve’s website.

2. Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve, in the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions – Islands sector

Family hunting in Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve

© SEPAQ Photo Credit: Hooké

Plan a stay in this reserve in order to reconnect fully with nature and discover the beauty of the landscapes of this area, known for its abundance of game. The cottages offer accommodation options ranging from 4 to 8 people and are fitted with solar panels, but do not have running water. However, you will sleep soundly in these isolated, havens of peace.

You can choose to hunt on this territory by vehicle, on foot, or by mountain bike.

If you’re a fan of migratory bird hunting, you may also indulge in this activity, as long as you have a permit for this specific type of hunting.

  • Package offered: Hunting and accommodation (from October 8 to 24, 2021)
    • It is also possible to hunt for the day from October 9 to 24, 2021, in one zone only, and from October 25 to November 20, 2021, throughout the reserve.
  • Species to hunt: ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and snowshoe hare.

For more information, visit the reserve’s website.

3. Rouge-Matawin Wildlife Reserve, in the Laurentides and Lanaudière regions – Sapin zone

Ruffed Grouse

© SEPAQ Photo Credit: Steve Deschênes

This favourable area is ideal for those who want to learn small game hunting.

Four chalets equipped with electricity, easily accessible and with a view of the lake are at your disposal to accommodate small groups of up to 4 guests each.

As the rest of the reserve is reserved for moose hunting, the Sapin zone (Macaza) is available almost exclusively in September.

Between two hunting sessions, don’t miss out on canoeing or ATVing in this reserve with multiple bodies of water, including 450 lakes and the magnificent Rouge and Matawin rivers.

  • Packages offered: Hunting and accommodation (from September 6 to 16 and October 9 to November 5, 2021), and small game hunting.
    • It is also possible to hunt for the day from September 7 to 30 and from October 9 to November 5, 2021, in the La Macaza and L’Ascension zones, and from September 7 to 16 and October 9 to 31, in the Saint-Michel zone.
  • Species to hunt: ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and snowshoe hare.

For more information, visit the reserve’s website.

5 musts for small game hunting

Depending on the desired species, you will want to tailor your clothing and gear to stay as effective as possible. Be sure to bring along these essentials.

  1. A hunting licence. You can purchase one online or at a SAIL store.
  2. Hunting rights. You can get hunting access right online or directly at the Sépaq reserves.
  3. An orange hunting vest. It is essential that you be visible at all times and from all angles when you are hunting. Your hunting vest should be fluorescent orange and cover your back, shoulders, and chest with a fabric surface area of at least 2580 square centimeters (400 square inches). Your jacket should be worn over your coat and be visible even if you are carrying a backpack or strap for your firearm. You may choose to add an orange tuque or cap.
  4. A hunting knife. The hunting knife is particularly useful for cutting branches that may obstruct your visibility, and for eviscerating the small game that you have harvested.
  5. Hunting boots. Do not underestimate a pair of hunting boots, which will offer you warmth, comfort, waterproofness, and breathability during your hunting session. Pair your boots with merino wool socks to make sure that your feet don’t get too cold.

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