This article is one of many from our Black Bear Prep Series
Traveling to Canada
Most of the time I’m in Canada I forget that I’m not here in the US. However, there are few things folks need to be prepared for when entering Canada to hunt. Canadian border employees take their jobs seriously and usually intimidating. If you have your ducks in a row, they are easier to deal with and the process goes smoothly.
- Check your passport several months beforehand to make sure it doesn’t expire before your return flight home from Canada. Keep photocopies of your passport on you while in Canada, in the odd case you loose the original.
- Fill out the Non-Resident Firearms Declaration available here: Firearms Declaration, but DO NOT SIGN IT until you are in front of the customs agent on entry. Archery equipment does not require special declaration.
- Do not attempt to bring handguns into Canada.
- If you have a DWI, DUI or criminal record you should check with Canadian customs before booking a bear hunt. Particularly in regards to DUI/DWI, entry into Canada can be difficult.
Spring Bear Taxidermy
All bear hunters should consider the costs and logistics involved in taxidermy for Spring bear trips.
You have three different costs associated with taxidermy: shipping, CITIES permitting, and the actual taxidermy work.
Shipping on completed rugs will run around $150-$250. Rug taxidermy work is typically priced by the foot, but comes out to $1,200-$2,000 per bear. The permitting is an additional $100-$150. This rings up to a total of $1,500 up to $2,500.
There is a carve-out for bears in the Canadian regulations that allows the hunter to use their tag as an export permit. If you plan on utilizing this exception, we recommend you print the page out from the current regs (Page 22) Current BC Regs
Depending on the outfitter, the facilities present, and when your bear is harvested you may be able to bring the salted/frozen hide back home on the airplane. Keep in mind that a guide will have 4-8hrs of time in proper fleshing, turning, and salting of hides. In addition, a salted hide will drip fluid for several days while it cures. You will need to get the salted hide in a cooler for checking as luggage.
This strategy can save hunters several hundred dollars, but it doesn’t always workout due to logistics.
Hunters are welcome to hunt Canadian bears with rifles or archery equipment, with the exception of handguns.
Most outfitters recommend .270 caliber or larger rifle with 150+ grain bullets. Rifle hunters should be proficient up to 300 yards. Most outfitters, included us, offer rental guns. Hunters will have a chance to check their zeros upon arrival.
It is much harder to recommend specific archery equipment because there are so many variations when it comes to setups. Our biggest piece of advice is to be truly proficient at 40-50 yards (hit a tennis ball size target 90%+ of the time) and shoot a broad-head with a wide cutting radius. Black bears are notoriously difficult to track, so the more blood the better.
Many hunters will try their luck at archery and move to a rifle if they don’t harvest in the first 2-3 days of the hunt.
Keep in mind that almost all hunts in Canada are done once you draw blood.
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About Cliff Gray
Cliff is a registered outfitter in the State of Colorado, guiding and outfitting over 100 hunters a year for elk, bighorns, goats, bears and mule deer across wilderness areas in Colorado and British Columbia. He has years of experience hunting big game via remote backpacking and horse/mule packing.
Cliff is a private pilot, certified wilderness first responder, and an official measurer for both Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young records programs.