Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Wildlife Act Permit Regulation

—An Introduction—

Wildlife Act: New Requirements

Protecting the diversity and abundance of our wildlife populations is important to all British Columbians. That's why we have the B.C. Wildlife Act: to help ensure the wise management of our wildlife resources and minimize the negative impacts of human activities. Whenever and wherever the needs of wildlife must be balanced with the needs of people, the Wildlife Act helps forge workable solutions. So if you're a hunter, farmer, taxidermist, naturalist, game meat distributor, wildlife rehabilitator, guide outfitter, scientific researcher or any other kind of person whose activities affect wildlife or involve handling wildlife or wildlife parts in any way, you need to be aware of your rights--and your responsibilities--under the Wildlife Act

Wood Pecker

Why Has the Permit Regulation Changed?

The Permit Regulation is the main legal tool that people can use to exercise special privileges under the Wildlife Act. In 1999, the Wildlife Program issued over 4,500 permits for people to conduct many different kinds of activities, from exporting wildlife to collecting animals for scientific research. After extensive consultations with a broad range of the public, the Permit Regulation was replaced in July of 2000. This change will improve wildlife protection and make the requirements for obtaining permits more consistent.

When Do I Need a Permit?

Under the new Permit Regulation, two basic types of permits may be granted. You can obtain permits that authorize you to conduct specific activities, or that exempt you from having to comply with certain regulations. Most permits apply for limited periods of time--usually not more than 5 years.

You will need an authorization permit to engage in any of the following activities:

  • possessing dead wildlife or wildlife parts
  • capturing, possessing or importing live wildlife
  • trafficking in live wildlife, or dead wildlife which you do not lawfully own
  • rehabilitating injured wildlife
  • transporting or exporting wildlife or parts
  • trapping, hunting or killing wildlife for any of the following reasons: crop protection, population control, scientific research, public safety, or ceremonial, educational or humane purposes.
  • hunting for big game with a non-resident of B.C.
  • possessing or distributing game meat for sustenance (e.g. food bank)
  • conducting field dog trials
  • operating a zoo or commercial hunting club

Under certain conditions, you may also obtain a permit that allows you to engage in activities like the following:

  • destroying beaver dams or muskrat dens
  • operating a vehicle in an area that's closed under the Wildlife Act
  • destroying particular types of bird nests or eggs
  • carrying a firearm, as a minor without adult supervision, to practice competitive shooting
  • discharging firearms in a no-shooting or restricted area, or from a vehicle or powerboat

If you are not sure whether or not you need a permit, contact your local regional Fish and Wildlife manager for more information.


Who Can Obtain a Permit?

Anyone can apply for a permit, but certain restrictions may apply to non-residents and to people who have recently been convicted of firearms, wildlife or other related offenses. Generally, children under the age of 10 may not obtain a permit, and anyone under the age of 19 must have parental or guardian consent.

How Do I Obtain a Permit?

To apply for a permit, you can download an application online through FrontCounter BC. If your application for a permit is denied, you will be advised in writing of the reasons for the denial and of any appeal rights you may have. Conducting an activity without a required permit, or failing to comply with a permit's conditions, are both offenses under the Wildlife Act. Penalties can be as high as $100,000 in fines and one year in prison.

How Much Does a Permit Cost?

Permits range in cost from free to several hundred dollars. Charitable organizations, municipalities and government agencies may be exempted from some fees. A portion of these fees is donated to B.C.'s Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. This fund is used to support habitat restoration, species conservation, land stewardship, environmental education, land acquisition and other wildlife protection projects throughout the province.

Where do I find Scientific and English Names of Vertebrates?

For a listing of scientific and english names for B.C. vertebrates go to:
BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer

Did You Know...?

  • A permit cannot be granted if doing so would be detrimental to the proper management of wildlife resources in B.C.
  • A permit is required to permanently release any animal on Crown land.
  • A permit is not required to possess cast antlers, most bird feathers, processed game meat or lawfully owned wildlife.
  • A permit is not required to possess wildlife or parts if they were lawfully taken under a hunting or trapping licence. But you must retain the original licence.
  • It is impossible to obtain a permit to import live wildlife --even from another province-- that is known to be detrimental to B.C.'s native wildlife or wildlife habitat, unless you represent an educational or scientific organization. The prohibited import list includes: live deer, moles, voles, lemmings, European hedgehogs, chipmunks, prairie dogs, raccoons, foxes, toads, nutria, vipers and non-indigenous eagles. It is also illegal to import some live species of rats, bats, mice, rabbits, hares, squirrels, marmots, starlings, skunks, frogs, turtles, lizards, opossums and gophers. Only the director of the Wildlife Branch may grant an import permit. For more information, contact the Ministry office in Victoria.

If you have further questions or require additional information, you may contact:

FrontCounter BC

By Phone
Call FrontCounter BC toll free at: 1-877-855-3222
Call from outside North America at: ++1-778-372-0729
By Email
Send us an e-mail at:
In Person
Come and visit one of our many locations across B.C.