Here are some useful pointers to help make travel to Alberta Canada as smooth as possible. This information current as of January 1, 2008, and while the information below is a helpful general summary, it should not be considered official regulations, and is only menat to assist you in preparing for a visit to Alberta.
1. ENTERING CANADA
When you travel to Alberta Canada either by air or ground, there are a few basic things to remember. You will be required to clear through Canadian Customs regardless of whether you fly or drive. If flying, you will need to present identification in the form of a passport, keep this accessible. At customs you will be asked several questions about the purpose of your trip, the length of your stay, where you live, who you are hunting with etc. It is a very good idea to have some written verification (like a contract or at the very least a brochure from your outfitter), to show what your destination is.
At this point, all alcohol, tobacco and firearms must be declared. This process usually goes quickly and you should soon be on your way. Remember thousands of travelers enter Canada each day and the process is relatively simple.
2. IMPORTING FIREARMS www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca
You are allowed to bring your personal firearms with you. This includes your rifles and/or shotguns (some restrictions apply, see “restricted weapons”). Archery equipment does not fall under these requirements and therefore has no declaration form. For your firearms, a simple one-page form id required to be filled out to obtain a temporary Canadian Firearms permit. This form (CAFC 909) can be downloaded or mailed to you well in advance from THE CANDIAN FIREARMS CENTRE at www. cfc-cafc.gc.ca click on the link on the left hand side for visitors/non residents, then download the NON RESIDENT FIREARM DECLARATION (form CAFC 909). Completing this in advance should reduce your time clearing customs.
In general, for personal use, non-residents can import 200 rounds duty free for hunting purposes. If you are flying most airlines have weight restrictions for ammunition. You can also check with your outfitter for the cost and availability of your required ammo. In the area you will be hunting. In most areas you can generally find the more common caliber rifle shells.
4. GUNS, BOWS & AMMUNITION ON PLANES
These are general conditions please contact your specific airline for their EXACT requirements.
Archery Equipment is accepted as part of a customer’s free baggage allowance. Archery equipment is defined as one or a combination of the following:
One bow, one quiver containing arrows & a maintenance kit. These items must be encased in a container of sufficient strength to protect the items from damage. Cases containing more than the above listed items may be assessed on excess baggage charge.
B) GUNS & AMMUNITION
One item of shooting equipment is accepted as part of a customer’s free checked baggage allowance. When checking a firearm, you must: declare to the representative that you are checking a firearm (If a Security Checkpoint is prior to the ticket counter, you must declare the existence of a firearm to security personnel.) present firearm(s) unloaded and sign a “Firearms Unloaded” declaration, lock the firearm(s) in a hard-sided, crush-proof container and retain the key or combination. Maintain entry permits in your possession for the country or countries of destination or transit, ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer’s original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes. One rifle case containing: two or fewer rifles (with or without scopes). One tool kit, noise suppresses & 11lbs. (approx. 5kgs) of ammunition (if it does not exceed 200 rounds) Cases containing more than two rifles may be assessed an excess baggage charge. Ammunition in excess of 11 lbs. per passenger or that contains incendiary projectiles is prohibited.
5) REASONS TO REFUSE ENTRY TO CANADA
EVEN A D.U.I. WILL PREVENT TRAVEL TO CANADA! www.bordercrossing.ca are the people that can help you. Call 1-800-438-7020 and ask for Lucy Perillo. If you have any type of criminal conviction (even if you’ve been charged and not convicted), you should notify your outfitter or call Canada Border Crossing Services well in advance so that clearance can be arranged.
6) CHANGES TO HUNTING ELIGIBILITY IN ALBERTA
As of 2007, hunters who have a hunting license suspension in Alberta or elsewhere are prohibited from applying for or obtaining a recreational hunting license in Alberta. For further information you can contact Alberta Fish & Wildlife – Enforcement – Field Services 780-427-4943.
7) TRANSPORTING YOUR GAME AND TROPHIES HOME
Exporting your game home is a relatively simply procedure for most types of game as long as you export the animal (Head, Hide, Meat etc.) yourself, with you as personal baggage. Your hunting license will act as your export permit so keep it with you as you leave Canada. You will also need to fill out a U.S. Import/Export permit Form 177. Although these can be picked up at customs, the process is simplified if this form is filled out in advance. Transporting your game home is obviously easier if you are driving, but the requirements are still the same if you fly, as long as you comply with your airlines procedures. If you are flying you may want to check with your airline for their particular weight and packaging requirements, they vary by airline.
Each different species has slightly different requirements so check with your outfitter for those specifics and try to plan in advance what you will do with your harvested animals. Be aware that it is “unlawful to allow the edible meat of any game bird or big game animal, except cougar or bear, to be wasted, destroyed, spoiled or abandoned.” And you, the hunter, are primarily responsible for the care of that meat. Most outfitters will assist with this in one way or another.
Most outfitters can help arrange for meat processing, but due to the limited duration of most hunts, it may be a problem for your animal to be completely processed before your departure. It is a lot different to take home 50 or 60 lbs. of venison than to try and process and transport 500 lbs. of moose meat. Plan ahead and make prior arrangements with your outfitter if you intend to take home large quantities of meat. It will make both of your lives easier.
As for taxidermy, there are many quality taxidermists in Alberta and your outfitter may have special rates with one of them. If at all possible, try and see some of their work first so you won’t be disappointed later. It is also wise to find out what the turn-around times are like and the costs of shipping a completed trophy to you. This can be a very simple option for getting your trophy home but there will be extra fees and charges for things like; export permits, packaging, shipping and brokerage fees.
9) EXCHANGING MONEY
The easiest way to get an accurate exchange rate while visiting is to use a credit card when making purchases. you can also visit a Currency Exchange site like www.finance.yahoo.com/currency or www.oanda.com/convert/classic. To find out what the U.S. dollar is worth at the time of your trip.
10. OTHER HELPFUL TIPS FOR TRAVEL TO ALBERTA CANADA
- Weather Links – www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca
- Maps and Directions – www.maps.google.com
- Major Airports – For hunts in the southern portion of Alberta most hunters fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC). www.calgaryairport.com
For hunts taking place in central or Northern Alberta, Edmonton International Airport (YEG). www.edmontonairports.com should be your choice.
- Hunter orange is NOT required in Alberta.
This information is from the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society.