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#6926852 - 10/20/17 09:29 AM Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned
deewayne2003 Offline

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 4343

I just got back from my first moose hunt in Canada and there are several things I learned/experienced that I thought might save some other first timers and maybe even veteran international hunters some head aches in the future.

Disclaimer- I am not an attorney, travel agent or professional; this is only advice from my recent experience.

What you will need to enter Canada with a "non-restricted firearm"

1. Non Resident firearms declaration form
This is your temporary permit to have a "non restricted" gun in your possession for 60days. Fill out this form ahead of time but DO NOT SIGN IT!- They have to witness you signing it.


A. It wasn't until I made it to Winnipeg and walked up to Canadian CBP(customs & border patrol) that I was told "you should have brought 2 copies of this"; only to be told 5 min later by another CBP officer that 1 copy is fine and they'll photo copy it.

B. While waiting at oversized baggage claim I was talking to some hunters from Kentucky and they go goose hunting every year in Canada and went through the 8hr course to get their P.A.L. (possession & acquisition license) which is the permit in Canada that allows you to own guns and buy ammo. I found it odd that a country with such strict gun laws as Canada would allow non-citizens the ability to hold a P.A.L. card but it worked for these guys and they didn't have to deal with the hassle, and come to find out they found an instructor for the class in Canada that wanted to come to the U.S. for vacation, so they paid for his round trip flight to the U.S. in exchange for his services in presenting the proper paperwork and 8hrs of instruction.(I thought this was a really good idea)

C. Your ammo must be in a separate checked bag and either in its original packaging or in a container specifically designed to hold ammo. This really isn't a big deal as my ammo was in the 20rnd reloading boxes and I never had an issue.

D. Get your self a GOOD case - airline baggage handlers are brutal

When it comes to Canada their customs and border patrol is no joke; and for all the regulations and paperwork and NOBODY seems to be on the same page! I believe this is because the laws for both U.S. but especially Canada are so complex that even the people enforcing the laws really don't know the true regulations.

Which brings me to the American side of things and to be honest with you while the Canadian CBP were a bit up tight about their laws, I was actually quite disappointed with how little training U.S. airline employees/TSA have when it comes to these matters and while we like to think of the U.S. as the land of the free, you better have your act together.

1. Read the airlines policy on traveling with guns as they differ from airline to airline, send a question email off to them if you are unclear on something and then print off their policies from their website along with copies of the answers they gave you to any questions.

2. We did not have any problems coming back into the U.S. with our guns, mainly because we came through the land border crossing in International falls Minnesota- However a good friend of ours recently flew back from Alberta on a goose/duck hunt with several friends and U.S. CBP tried to make them pay $300+ each in import duty because they couldn't prove they had their shotguns before departing the country - Even though they had their paperwork showing where they registered them in Canada upon arrival.

The solution to this is CBP form 4457

You take this form filled out and NOT SIGNED to the CBP at the airport before checking your bags and they will signoff on this voluntary form that you can present to CBP upon re-entering the U.S. as proof that you don't owe any import taxes on your previously owned guns or other expensive items - NOTE: Really good idea to have anything expensive listed on this form such as..... High end optics, sat phones, GPS units.

This form can be used for multiple trips- The guys from Kentucky that had their P.A.L. cards, also had these forms

#6926863 - 10/20/17 09:38 AM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
George - w/ Map My Ranch Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/09/12
Posts: 2541
Loc: Katy, Texas
Good info. Thanks for sharing. PS - how was the hunt?

"Keep your aim as true as your word" - GB

#6926871 - 10/20/17 09:44 AM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
GOLDSTEIN Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 8661
Loc: Keller, TX
up Thanks for this. Dad and I head up to Alberta in mid November for a mule deer hunt. We will make sure we have the forms ready.

Retirement Planning & Asset Management

#6926876 - 10/20/17 09:49 AM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
deewayne2003 Offline

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 4343
Originally Posted By: George - w/ Map My Ranch
Good info. Thanks for sharing. PS - how was the hunt?

We got a Moose 1,100 lbs

#6927147 - 10/20/17 02:11 PM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
dkershen Offline

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 18954
Loc: Denton/Argyle
Good info. But this is why I rent a gun from my outfitter when I hunt out of the country. Less paperwork. Less cost. Less headache.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

#6927226 - 10/20/17 03:47 PM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: dkershen]
jeffbird Online   content

Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 3412
If the guide is with the hunter, the guide can lend his rifle to the hunter without the hunter obtaining a gun license.

Otherwise, possession of a firearm without a permit is a criminal offense and they take it seriously.

There is a "borrowing license," but it really is not much different than bringing your own.

Also, the ammo can be in the same container as the rifle as long as it is secure.

Airline employees and officers at the entry points, like the ones here, seem to make up rules as they go.

Here is a good summary from the Mounties.

Also, note there is a US Customs form to register the firearm before leaving the United States.

The form is needed when re-entering the US so that the officer at the entry point knows the rifle is from the US and no duty is owed and no importation papers are required.

The US Customs' form also is helpful for high dollar optics like rifle scopes that do not look like the usual Leupold 3-9, and otherwise might be subject to ITAR.

The outfitters should have all the forms for you, if not check with the closest US Customs' office. They were very helpful and friendly in my dealings with them.

Also make sure to read and print out the airline's rules for checking firearms. The ticket counter employees may understand what to do, or may not.

Having a print out of their company's rules helps them help you. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early to allow adequate time for dealing with the unknowns.

Professionally trained and certified pistol and license to carry instructor.

#6927847 - 10/21/17 10:51 AM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1638
Loc: Tyler, TX
Because of all the regulations, and responsibility once you get into a foreign country, I no longer bring my rifle on a hunt outside of our country. When booking the hunt, I ask about borrowing a rifle, not renting, and what they have available. In every hunt that I've booked, I got to use some very nice rifles with high quality optics as good as what I have, and in some cases, a lot more expensive then what I own.

Along with making it easier getting there and back home, sight seeing after the hunt is simplified. In South Africa, we went to a couple of beaches and spent a few days at Addo. In New Zealand, we rented a car and toured the South Island. Not having a rifle made that very easy to do.

#6927932 - 10/21/17 12:39 PM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
Nogalus Prairie Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 25189
Loc: Corsicana
While the TSA regs do allow the ammunition to be in the same case as the rifle: 1) MANY TSA employees do not know this and 2)several airlines require all ammo to be in a separate, checked bag.

I put it in a separate, checked bag and avoid any issues.
Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.

#6929951 - 10/23/17 10:25 AM Re: Flying with a rifle into Canada - Things I learned [Re: deewayne2003]
Always ready 2 hunt Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/31/15
Posts: 1631
Good info. I crossed at International Falls back in Sept. We had not issues at all but we did have 3 copies of CA and we had our US forms for the expensive equip. Also, flying was a breeze from DFW to Minneapolis to International Falls and return. You just need to read airline regs, TSA regs, and foreign country regs in advance, be polite and be prepared for a little extra time just in case.


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