Border Crossing Information
When planing a trip to Canada, plan in advance, as some of the following tasks will require some time. Not adhering to these rules can put a trip on hold and cost losses of fees, including: hunting, outfitter, hunting license and travel fees. When planning a hunting trip to Canada, here is a list of the top 5 basic things to know:
1) Remember your Passport
A passport is required to enter Canada by car, sea or air. If you don’t have one, get one as soon as possible. You can apply for your U.S. Passport online at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html
If you use an overnight carrier like FedEx and include a FedEx envelope for the return postage, it can save you about 2 weeks of waiting. You also have the option to pay an expediting fee to speed up the process.
Tip: Make two colour copies of your passport before you travel. Carry one each in different luggage or firearms case in case you lose your original.
Always carry your original passport with you at all times when you travel internationally. This includes both Canada and Mexico.
2) U.S. Customs form 4457
You will need to have a U.S. Customs form 4457 filled out by your local U.S. Customs office. The Form 4457 lists items of value as proof you owned them before you entered Canada. It is best to list your firearms, spotting scopes, riflescopes, video cameras, etc. This is usually any item of value that contains a serial number. Failure to obtain a completed U.S. Customs Form 4457 before you leave may end up costing you Duty (tax) at the Canadian Border as you enter back into the United States. The customs agent may think you bought your hunting equipment in Canada and therefore charge you duty. A completed Form 4457 must be stamped with the official customs seal and signed by you before you enter Canada. If you don’t have a local customs agent in your town, you may fill out an online form and the Customs Agent will send you the Form 4457 right to your mailbox (free of charge). The online form can be accessed at: http://www.gssafaris.com/4457/
Tip: Make 2 extra copies of your Form 4457 and keep them with your extra passport copies.
3) Canada Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Form 909
Hunters must fill out the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Form 909 before leaving for Canada. Don’t try to fill it out at the border, as it will delay your trip.
Do not sign this form until you are at the border and the officials there ask you to sign it. You will need to present the form with your passport. There is a fee for the permit and it is approximately $25 CDN. You can pay for your permit in Canadian dollars or by MasterCard, Visa or American Express. Canadian Customs does not except U.S. Currency. Remember to always carry your firearms permit and identification while you are hunting. Do not bring in any handguns on your trip. Handguns are prohibited in Canada. Obtain your firearms application at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/form-formulaire/num-nom/909-eng.htm
Tip: Fill out the form online and then print 3 copies. Double check your firearms details, especially the serial number, before you hit the print button.
4) Denied Admission to Canada
Visitors may be denied admission to Canada if you have any of the following convictions on your record:
- MINOR OFFENCES (including shoplifting, theft, assault, dangerous driving, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of illegal substances, etc.) INDICTABLE
- CRIMINAL OFFENCES (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.).
- DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI)
Make sure that no one in your hunting group falls into these categories, as they will be turned away at the border. Also, most Canadian outfitters will not refund any deposits or fees paid if a hunting client is denied admission to Canada.
5) Bringing back your Canadian Hunting Trophies
There are 3 different ways to get your coveted hunting trophies back from Canada into the United States:
(1) Bring them back with you by car or airplane
To bring back the raw cape, rug and/or antlers/horns home with you, you will need to fill out U.S. Fish & Wildlife Form 3-177-1. This form appoints you as the owner/broker of the animal parts you will be importing from Canada into the United States. If you use a hunting consultant, they should fill this out for you. If you booked your trip direct with the Outfitter, you will need to fill it out yourself. This form can be a little tricky and will require some research as you will be required to list the common name of the animal you are importing as well as the scientific name. Remember to present your Canadian Hunting License and tags with this form to prove that the trophy was taken legally. You can find the application and instructions at http://www.fws.gov/forms/serachdata.cfm and typing "3-177" into the search field.
Tip: Fill out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Form 3-177-1 before your hunt.
(2) Have the cape, rug and/or antlers/horns shipped
Bring back your raw trophies by having them shipped to you. Your Canadian outfitter will bring your cape, rug and/or antlers/horns to a taxidermist who will flesh and salt the hide and boil off any flesh from the skull. The taxidermist will have to build a crate around your prepared hunting trophy. An export permit must be filed in Canada to export the hunting trophies to the United States. The hunting trophy must be shipped to a USDA Port of Entry and received by a US Brokerage Company and inspected by the U.S. Wildlife Department to make sure the contents and the export paperwork match so that the hunting trophy may legally imported into the United States. Once the hunting trophy clears the U.S. Port of entry, it must be shipped to a USDA Certified Taxidermist. This process can take up to 6 months and cost upwards of $750 or more depending on how many trophies you are importing.
(3) Have the trophy taxidermy mounted and shipped back to you
Have your hunting trophy taxidermy mounted in Canada. This entails you to trust the outfitter to choose a taxidermist for you. You will not have to run the taxidermy trophy through process #2, but you will have to pay shipping and customs fees. Ask your Outfitter about pricing before your hunt and check the exchange rate.