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Vanisle Hunters
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The content is valid until June 30, 2026.

Small Game Hunting on Vancouver Island

As its name would imply, small game hunting is a type of hunting that involves any smaller-sized animals which are huntable legally. Specifically, animals that weigh under 40 pounds (18 kg). Generally speaking, animals such as upland birds (pheasants and grouse), waterfowl (ducks and geese), snowshoe hares, and raccoons are considered small game. Some of these animals are significant in number. Hunters often harvest small game with guns like 20-gauge shotguns or larger and use shells of shot size No. 1 Buck or larger. Bowhunting and rifle are other options they can have through some considerations. They use their small game products mostly for food and clothing. Hunting can be done for different purposes. That may be conserving the ecosystem or controlling the game's number. However, many studies have shown that modern management has a negligible effect on bird numbers year to year for small game like ducks and geese. But all the purposes must be based on well-managed studies and according to British Columbia Hunting and Trapping Regulations. Among them are hunting methods, bag limits, protected areas, hunting seasons, licences, and other necessities that you can not ignore. The laws are divided into different regions in BC, and small game hunting on Vancouver Island is no exception.

Small Game Animals on Vancouver Island

According to BC Law, hunting small game on Vancouver Island can be done for particular species. Among them are game birds, raccoons, and snowshoe hares.

Duck and Goose Hunting

Waterfowl hunting on Vancouver Island includes duck and goose hunting. Lakes, rivers, and wetlands are among the landmarks that hold ample numbers of these migratory game birds. Their hunting potential initially generated interest in game birds.

Grouse Hunting

For small game hunters, it is recommended to choose first the upland game birds and then select grouse, curious, and sometimes dumb birds. The profusion and also their density have turned them into one of the most challenging choices for harvesting on Vancouver Island.

Pheasant Hunting

Pheasants are non-native game birds on Vancouver Island. Appropriate habitat conditions help the population of pheasant flourish on southern Vancouver Island, making it one of the best pheasant hunting destinations in North America.

Snowshoe Hare Hunting

The snowshoe hare is one of North America's most widespread small game, but not that much on Vancouver Island. The snowshoe hare has the winner population in each province, and accordingly, its hunting is popular amongst the locals.

Raccoon Hunting

Vancouver Island has all the criteria of a raccoon habitat, so their population is pretty significant, whereas raccoon hunting is mainly done for fur. It is estimated that there are 238 raccoons per square kilometre. The raccoon population on the east coast is denser than on the west coast.

Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting

Some bird hunters say that band-tails are challenging to shoot. Band-tailed pigeon hunting will surprise hunters as it is harder than one may imagine. These migratory game birds fly fast, so don't skip this chance if you think you are talented.

Small Game Hunters on Vancouver Island

Hunters need to obtain permissions such as Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and also licence. It would be best to take a few pieces of equipment to locate, hide, shoot, and recover birds. You may have challenges harvesting some game birds, but your patience ends in delicious wild game meats. Among them are snowshoe hares, as they are speedy and almost invisible in the snow. Trained hunting dogs would be helpful in your hunting trip when you cannot easily spot your small game. It needs to be patient and take time to locate or track and finally have a successful harvest.
According to the hunting and trapping synopsis, all hunters (residents, non-residents and non-resident aliens) must obtain an FWID (BC Fish and Wildlife ID) to access hunting programs and services in BC. Hunters with a Hunter Number were assigned an FWID. Hunters without a Hunter Number are required to produce documentation that proves residency, identity, and hunter safety training (required for purchasing all hunting licences except initiation, youth, restricted non-resident/ alien and special area) to obtain an FWID. Proof of hunter safety training includes:
- A Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) certificate.
- A document issued by another territory or province of Canada.
- A government of an international jurisdiction evidencing successful completion of a hunter safety training course.

Small Game Hunting Seasons on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island Small Game Outfitters

British Columbia Government published regulations for hunting. According to its Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, non-resident and non-resident alien hunters must hold an unrestricted hunting licence to hunt small game unaccompanied by a guide outfitter, assistant guide outfitter or a holder of a permit to accompany non-residents or non-resident aliens. Whether you prefer small or big game, outfitters make your hunting tour to be at its highest level. When you book a hunt with an outfitter, the process of tracking your species will be easy. They are familiar with ideal weather conditions to hunt your small game. Finding a spot to suit you makes your hunting trip unforgettable, and for this purpose, outfitters also guide hunters. They know the feeding and living areas of the game. Outfitters can also lead you to the habitats of other big or small game animals to maximize your chances for other animals. Having a checklist for your small game hunting is necessary, but you may not have all the equipment. Hunting outfitters provide you with equipment and teach you how to use them. They try to ensure that every hunter involved in that trip would have the best chance of a successful hunt.

Imagine that your species is in front of you. It is time to apply all the knowledge and skills you have to harvest it. Do you use decoys? Do you need a dog to recover your hunt? How do you kill it? You have been prepared for this moment, and your shot will end your hunting trip. How would you do that?

Rifles (Rimfire & Centrefire)

Firearms are easy to use. One can quickly shoot with a rifle and quickly load it. Hunting grouse, raccoons, and snowshoe hares are possible using centrefire rifles or rimfire. If you prefer shotguns, your hunting choices would be raccoons, snowshoe hares, and ducks and geese.


Your gun has to be like 20-gauge shotguns or larger and use shells of shot size No. 1 Buck or larger. Using shotguns is possible for small game like grouse, pheasants, ducks, and geese. It is suggested to try your shotgun before hunting and get skilled at it with practice.

Hunting with Falconry

Falconers on Vancouver Island, holding a valid permit and the necessary hunting licence(s), may hunt small game with the use or aid of raptors during each species' open seasons or bow-only seasons. Grouse, pheasants, and snowshoe hares are among the small game animals you can hunt with falconry.

Archery Hunting

Bowhunting (or bow hunting) for birds that fly long-distance is challenging, and you may not consider it your small game hunting method. But as bows make no sounds when shooting, you may still have multiple chances after your first hunt. For some species, this traditional method has a separate open season or even no bag limit.

Hunting with Decoys

Decoys are manufactured products that simulate the appearance of your game. The famous small game you can use this method for hunting are waterfowls like ducks and geese. Decoys cause them to come in and land where you want. In BC, it is unlawful to use live birds as decoys.


A call is a method famous for hunting ducks. Its meaning, usage, and practice would be necessary. But remember that it is not allowed to use recorded bird calls for hunting game birds.

Hunting with Dogs

Using dogs for hunting is permitted for all game species; they hunt with or for hunters. It is required to teach your dog not to scare away the game. Unleashed dogs may be used to hunt small game. Any person may train hunting dogs by allowing them, under supervision, to pursue game birds.

Trap and Snare Hunting

Small game hunters can use traps for raccoons. It is required, by law, to use only its specific traps included in BC's trapping regulations, which have been certified under the Agreement on International Humane. A person may snare snowshoe hare during the open season if they have a hunting licence and have completed the trapper education course.

Hunting from a Blind

Some ways of hunting from a blind like blinds treestand or ground blind can be available on request for small game such as duck and goose and grouse. We offer ground blinds for some who cannot hunt from a tree stand. Guides try to keep very close contact with you while you are on a stand.

Small Game Hunting Cost on Vancouver Island

Your hunting trip may take one day or two. Your small game hunting package can include a licence, cleaning and packaging, and equipment. So, the price of your small game hunting tour may increase according to your expectations. Among the cheapest animals to hunt on Vancouver Island are snowshoe hare and pheasant.
For more information regarding the cost of your personalized small game hunting adventure on Vancouver Island, please get in touch with us.

Small Game Customized Tours on Vancouver Island

If you are interested in hunting small game on Vancouver Island, please fill in the form below. We at Vanisle Hunters offer custom tours and exclusive hunting trips at their best. Choose the small game you are interested in, where and when you plan to start your hunting trip, how long you need to be in nature, mention the number of your companions, and add any other options you want to match your desire and exceed your expectation. We will schedule a call or message to discuss your interests and how we can make them a reality. After that, we will send you a proposed package and fine-tune it until it's what you want with a competitive price.
Duck & Goose
Snowshoe Hare
Band-tailed pigeon

Small Game Hunting Gear on Vancouver Island

Before heading out for hunting on Vancouver Island, it is necessary to prepare a checklist of what you need. First of all, having a backpack is required for your equipment. Your clothes may include hiking boots, waterproof pants and jacket, socks, hunting pants, short-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve shirt, gloves, hat, and layer clothing. As you may spend hours or days in nature, don't forget about camping items and food or snacks. Rifle, shotgun, or archery equipment and heavy grain ammunition are your harvesting necessities. Binoculars, duffle bags, and tracking tools can also be on your hunting list.

Some hunters prefer to go after small game, and others may favour big game. Choosing between them mostly depends on your purpose, price, licence, skill, and the potential of the area you want to hunt.

1. Big game hunting is a type of hunting ideal for hunting large animals almost over 40 pounds (18 kg) in weight.
2. Hunting big game generally can be done with more powerful guns.
3. A licence for harvesting a specific big game is more expensive rather than small game.
4. Many hunters tend to choose their hunt among big game animals to have a trophy.

1. Small game hunting is a type of hunting that includes animals that are small in size. They are generally under 40 pounds (18 kg).
2. Hunting methods for small game are guns like 20-gauge shotguns and other smaller firearms.
3. The price of a licence for hunting small game tends to be less expensive than a big game hunting licence.

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Small Game Regulations on Vancouver Island

✓ Hunting regulations are subject to change from time to time. It is the responsibility of a hunter to be informed of the current regulations.
✓ Species like snowshoe hares and raccoons (Schedule B, according to BC law) are known to destroy property and be detrimental to native wildlife. Hunting, killing or capturing these species have fewer restrictions, but these actions must still abide by provincial laws. If a person injures these species, the person must kill that wildlife. ✓ It may be possible for falconers, who own a valid permit, to hunt small game with the use or aid of raptors during the legal open season. You can also do it during bow-only seasons. Falconers must consider applicable bag limits as long as they have acquired the hunting licence(s). ✓ Using dogs is permitted in hunting all game animals, and unleashed dogs may be used to hunt small game. Any hunter may train dogs and allow them, under supervision, to pursue game birds from Aug 1-Apr 30. ✓ There is no open season on Denman Island for hunting upland game birds. ✓ A Canadian Migratory Game Bird hunting permit is required for migratory game birds, including waterfowl (ducks and geese) and band-tailed pigeons.

Protected Areas of Vancouver Island, Based on the BC Act

Licence for Hunting Small Game on Vancouver Island

To obtain an unrestricted non-resident/non-resident alien hunting licence, you must show proof of successful completion of hunter safety training. Non-residents can hunt small game unaccompanied if hunting under a non-resident or non-resident alien unrestricted licence. Individuals hunting under a non-resident or non-resident alien restricted licence must be accompanied by a guide outfitter, an assistant guide outfitter or a holder of a permit to accompany at all times while hunting. No species licence fees are required for hunting small game for BC residents, but non-BC residents have to pay $50.00 for upland game birds.
For more information about small game licences on Vancouver Island, visit the Hunting Licence on Vancouver Island.

Small Game Hunting on Vancouver Island Common Questions

What Do You Think about Small Game Hunting on Vancouver Island