Also available in: French
Fall is known for being hunting season! It’s during this time of year that both beginners and experts head out to the woods for the chance of bringing back a prize. Yet, for someone who has never done this sport before, it’s definitely not a shoo-in. That’s why small game hunting is a popular start for future big game hunters wanting to practice their technique.
First and foremost: What is considered small game?
Small game describes any smaller-sized animals that one may hunt. Species that are most commonly found in Québec are birds such as partridges, quail, wild duck, wild turkey, pheasant and geese, as well as mammals such as coyotes, hares, wolves, raccoons, and foxes.
Maximizing your chances
This type of hunting can be carried out in different conditions, but it ideal when there is less wind, isn’t raining, and the sun is beating down with lots of warmth. The more fall progresses, the easier to spot birds through the trees as the leaves continue to fall. Small game hunting is considered an art because, as a hunter, you will be in constant movement in order to conquer your game. It is also possible to continue this type of hunting into the early winter when a bit of snow covers the ground as this may help to track the animal’s steps.
The right moment
Hunters are known for being early risers! Small game is often found out and about, right at sunrise. Even though it can be done all day long, the early morning hours are the best time to head out on the hunt!
The best hunting gear
Compared to big game hunting where more complex equipment is required – check out our blog about moose hunting – small game hunting requires minimal preparation and is done with a small caliber rifle or shotgun.Hunting gear
• A firearm
• Walking boots
• a hunting permit
• a hunting bib
• hunting access rights
Initiation permits are also easy to get for learners: if you don’t yet have your certificate, it’s still possible to get a permit that will allow you to attend an initiation session with a certified hunter with over 25 years of experience who has a certificate.
Of course, several tips can be given and theories may be learned for small game hunting, but it’s imperative to write out a list of some of the most important ones, such as:
• hunting solo
• mastering the territory
• hunting on foot
• always checking every angle
• checking out every trail or path
• spending the day in the woods
• searching for mixed vegetation
Partridges are the most animal to hunt when doing small game hunting. Moreover, you don’t need to go far to hunt partridges; they are often more accessible than we think. Wooded areas near the gravel roads are ideal locations for this bird. If you wish to head out into the forest to hunt, look for wild fruit trees and leafy trees. A hunter has better chances of seeing a partridge walking normally rather than tiptoeing around: as soon as the bird hears some noise, it will either come out to see or make noise to signal its presence.
Is there a quota?
For grouse, grouse ptarmigan and migratory birds, a limit of daily catches and possession apply: the catch limit is 5 and the possession limit is 15. For other small game, there aren’t limits, except for the hare in certain areas. Finally, it’s important to remember that safety must remain a priority. Wear orange-coloured clothing on your back, shoulders, and chest that is always visible from every angle.
In collaboration with the Born to Hunt team
Also available in: French