Game Bird Regulations

Please Remember

Federal regulations prohibit the use of lead shot or cross-bows for hunting waterfowl.

Be Aware!

Whooping Cranes are listed as and Endangered Species in Alberta. Be sure your target is not a whooping crane.

Sage grouse are listed as an endangered species in Alberta. Be sure your target is not a sage grouse.

(see Game Bird Seasons for allowed WMUs)
Be sure of your target. For a more detailed description of Sharp-tailed Grouse, please go to:

All birds are protected except the following: Starlings, Crows, Pigeons, House (English) Sparrows, Magpies, Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Ravens (hunted on private land by residents) and any other birds for which an open season has been declared by the regulations as indicated in the summary.

Falconry Hunting

Falconers are permitted to hunt upland game birds and migratory birds, by means of falconry, in all areas of the province except in national parks and those restricted areas identified within this website (click here).

To hunt any game birds by means of falconry, Recreational Falconry Permit holders must possess all the same hunting licence(s) as those who would hunt game birds with firearms are required to possess (click here for more information).

The open season to hunt upland game birds by means of falconry is from August 15, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Migratory game birds may be hunted by means of falconry during the designated open season for migratory birds. (click here for WMU seasons and dates).


Hunters wishing to hunt game birds with a bow and arrow, other than a cross-bow, require a Bowhunting Permit in addition to the other applicable licences.

In accordance with federal regulations, cross-bows may not be used for waterfowl hunting.

Special Hunting Areas

In WMUs 212 and 248 the hunting of game birds is only permitted with bows and arrows, cross-bows, shotguns or a falconry bird. Cross-bows cannot be used to hunt migratory birds.

In WMU 410 the hunting of game birds is permitted only with bows and arrows or a falconry bird.


Spring Snow/Ross' Goose Hunting Season

Alberta will have a spring snow/Ross’s goose hunting season from March 15 through June 15 annually. Please refer to the game bird hunting table (Click Here) for valid WMUs. Regular fall hunting restrictions and daily bag limit (50) apply. As in the fall hunting season, there is no longer a possession limit for snow/Ross’s geese.

NOTE: While it is illegal to hunt migratory game birds with a single projectile (e.g. .22 rim fire, or center fire rifle), it is legal to use them to hunt upland game birds (this does not apply to hunting on game bird shooting grounds or hunting for Merriam’s turkey. 

Waterfowler Heritage Days

The first Saturday and Sunday in September are designated as Waterfowler Heritage Days in Alberta. Youth (age 10-17) may hunt waterfowl on these dates without a licence (provincial or federal) provided they are qualified to do so (see Licensing requirements for first-time hunters) and are accompanied by an adult migratory game bird hunting permit holder. The adult permit holder may not have in their possession or use a firearm, or accompany more than 2 minors at one time while mentoring youth. The youth can only hunt waterfowl species for which there will be an open season in that WMU. Regular bag limits and possession limits apply.

Wild Turkey Draw

Please refer to items 1, 11 and 12 of Prohibitions, Game Bird section for additional requirements concerning weapons and evidence of sex and species for wild turkey.

Differentiating Between Males and Females
The gobbler (male) has a fleshy growth (wattle) which hangs from the under side of the throat or chin. Males also exhibit fatty growths (caruncles) located on the side and back of the neck and on the lower throat. A fleshy projection above the bill of males (snood, or dew bill) will also distinguish males from females. Males also have a pronounced “beard” on the lower neck up to 25 centimetres (10 inches) long. The beard is usually absent or very small in females.  

Common Characteristics to Differentiate Males and Females
Characteristic Female Male
Beard Very rare, short Regularly, up to 25cm (10”) long
Gobble Never Frequently, especially in spring
Head Colour Grey-brown, grey-blue Bright turquoise blue, bright red, bright blue, sometimes grayish white

It is unlawful to hunt any wildlife or discharge a firearm between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.

Sunrise/Sunset Table (Mountain Daylight Time)
Date Sunrise Sunset
May 01, 2022 6:20 a.m. 9:00 p.m.
May 05, 2022 6:13 a.m. 9:06 p.m.
May 10, 2022 6:06 a.m. 9:14 p.m.
May 15, 2022 5:58 a.m. 9:21 p.m.
May 20, 2022 5:52 a.m. 9:27 p.m.
May 25, 2022 5:47 a.m. 9:33 p.m.
May 30, 2022 5:42 a.m. 9:39 p.m.

Attention Turkey Hunters

Fish and Wildlife will be conducting a hunter harvest survey after the fall hunting season to obtain information required for turkey management. Your cooperation and assistance in collecting and providing the necessary information is required. We request that you keep track of the number of days hunted in each WMU.