I just returned from a successful Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunt in Alberta. Like most who hunt internationally, I’ve had this hunt booked for a couple years. It had been quite a while since I’ve hunted in Canada so I wasn’t familiar with the latest regulations and laws governing importing and using personal firearms, Customs requirements, nor if I was successful how to get my sheep back out of Canada, considering I was flying. I also booked this hunt direct with the outfitter so did not have the oftentimes great services of a booking agent.
In one of the Safari Times issues earlier this year, I read an article about a new hunter hotline service SCI had started, so I reached out to the contact, Barbara Crown, and began asking questions as well as perusing the website. Her assistance and guidance went way above what I was expecting.
Barbara gave me direct links to important information about what hunters need to know flying into Canada, down to specific airline requirements. She gave me contact information for US Fish & Wildlife personnel who she knew were very helpful to other hunters travelling through the same locations. They were responsive and thoroughly guided me through using the process of the new electronic declaration of form 3-177, clearing the way for seamless importation of my sheep. I went into this hunt feeling very confident about getting into and out of Canada with my rifle and sheep. I followed every instruction Barbara gave but like most of us – still worried as to whether or not I had everything covered.
Returning to the U.S., I approached the Customs officer who asked what I had been doing in Canada and whether or not I had anything to declare. I said I had been hunting and had a sheep. He got this long look on his face – picked up his microphone and called his supervisor over.
Without the officer saying anything else while waiting on his boss, I started laying out my forms, beginning with the “Cleared” U.S. Fish & Wildlife importation declaration, then I laid out the Canadian Export Permit, Alberta Conservation Association Sheep Certification, Canadian Firearm Declaration and finally my hunting license.
He looked at me stunned and said: “Dang, you’ve got everything!” He noticed the Canadian Firearm Declaration and asked if I had a US 4457. I pulled that out at the same time his supervisor walked up. He looked at him and said: “Boss, false alarm - he’s got everything.” The supervisor stuck out his hand and shook mine, saying thanks for making our job so easy!
And I just want to say thanks to Barbara and SCI for creating this service and compiling all the easily accessible necessary information to make my job so easy!--Lowell Stevens III