April 19, 2023
By now most waterfowlers are well aware of the significant changes that were recently enacted in Manitoba as of April 1, making it much harder for Americans and non-residents to hunt there. WILDFOWL reported on those changes back in March, but in summary, if you are a foreigner wishing to hunt in Manitoba you will now need to purchase a foreign migratory game bird license either through the provincial application draw process or through a licensed outfitter with a waterfowl allocation. This new process is not only going to cost you more, but it’s also going to take more time and more thoughtful planning—and now time is of the essence.
Despite criticism and pushback from the waterfowl hunting community and partnering conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl, the Manitoban government has moved forward with their new waterfowl hunting regulations. They state the changes are designed to level the playing field between resident and non-resident hunters, but this new system presents some challenges for non-resident hunters along with reducing and limiting their opportunities to hunt. Not only do foreigners need to purchase their license through a draw system or hunt with an outfitter, but that license will now only be good for one seven-day period during the hunting season.
If you’ve made the trek north in years past to nomadically freelance hunt, things are going to be much different this year, according to the new regulations. There will no longer be any over-the-counter license sales for foreign residents, and all non-residents wishing to hunt without an outfitter in Manitoba this fall must apply electronically between June 15 and July 15, 2023. The good thing here is that all hunters who apply within this time frame will be granted a license; it is not a lottery system, rather an application process, and you’ll get to choose the seven days you wish to hunt. Applicants must complete a personal profile and pay the license and processing fees. Head to the Manitoba Elicensing Page to get started.
If you missed your chance in the draw or were always planning on going the guided route with one of the waterfowl-endorsed provincial outfitters, there is a cap of non-resident licenses that will be available (that number is based on the average activity level pre-COVID-19), and you can only get one license per year, so contact your guide early and don’t wait before they are all sold out.
But Wait There’s One More Way
In addition to the two aforementioned means of obtaining a non-resident hunting license, there is a third option, according to the Manitoban government. A “legacy license” is available to foreign residents who have lawfully held a Manitoba foreign resident game bird license between August 15, 2018, and December 6, 2022, and who prior to September 1, 2022, and currently remain either a registered landowner in Manitoba, a shareholder of a corporation that owns land in Manitoba, or are a lessee of Crown land in Manitoba.
To learn more about the legacy license and to get your application in before the June 1, 2023 deadline, visit: https://www.gov.mb.ca/nrnd/fish-wildlife/pubs/fish_wildlife/wildlife/waterfowl-application-guidelines.pdf
On a high note, the spring conservation season is not subject to the new regulations for foreign residents and a separate spring conservation goose license can be obtained free of charge on Manitoba’s elicenseing program.
To learn more about the rationale behind the new regulations, license allocations, and the application process, visit: https://www.gov.mb.ca/nrnd/fish-wildlife/pubs/fish_wildlife/wildlife/waterfowl-guide-changes-migratory.pdf