How to take your hunting guns to Canada

If I had a dollar every time I got an email asking me how to take guns from/to the USA I would have been able to retire a long time ago. It is hard enough to understand your own Federal/State law, but when you travel internationally you need to understand the laws of the country you are visiting. A few years back my neighbors boyfriend, who used to live in Buffalo, New York, was banned from entering Canada for 10 years for firearms violations when crossing the border.

Over at our sister site All Outdoor, Jon Stokes has written an article about how to take your hunting rifle or shotgun to Canada. He writes

Some of the best international travel advice I ever received came from the late Bob Cloaninger, who for over 40 years ran one of the world’s largest hunting travel agencies, Trek Safaris in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Never forget it’s THEIR country,” he told me as I packed guns and gear for a foreign trip. “They make ALL the rules, and we Americans have no input in how they were made nor how they’re enforced.

Some American sportsmen traveling with their firearms have learned to their chagrin that returning home with those guns to the U.S. is a much bigger headache than entering Canada with them.

“The biggest hassle-saver for hunting in Canada with your own guns is having the proper U.S. customs form with you prior to traveling that details all valuables you possess, including firearms,” says Eddie Stevenson. “This is your proof that you departed the U.S. with the guns and did not obtain them out of the country.

The one thing that is consistent about gun laws everywhere (outside Syria, Libya and Somalia) is that they have ridiculously harsh penalties for easy mistakes any gun owner can make. Do your research before traveling.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Don Ward

    It is the main reason why we have never driven to Alaska from Washington state in the summer for the commercial salmon season. The quandary of what to do with our firearms (a pair of revolvers, a .22 rifle and a lever action) when crossing two international boundaries twice makes the hassle with TSA look easy.

    • Jordan

      I made the drive with a friend from the midwest to Alaska with a shotgun and a rifle. It wasn’t a big deal. We pulled off at the border crossing, filled out a form and went on our way. They didn’t even check the guns. Going across into Alaska the BP agent asked to see the permit given to us by Canadian authorities and then we went right in. I know from friends in Canada and information on the State Department’s website that doing this with pistols is a bit more hassle. I would probably just have it shipped up to AK if I wanted one there.

  • As somebody who usually goes the other direction: nice article!