SAMUEL: The ins and outs of traveling to Canada for hunting


Every summer thousands of Americans go to Canada to fish.  From our region, family fishing vacations to Ontario are common. Take the kids for swimming, boating, and fishing: it’s relatively inexpensive and a great annual destination for many.  

Rural Ontario fishing lodges benefit from tourism and they are hurting now.  In addition to fishing, there are thousands of Americans who go to Canada to hunt black bears, waterfowl, mountain goats, and caribou (though caribou hunting is now limited).  

All of that has been stopped because the Canadian border has been closed to travel. 

In response, Safari Club International has been working hard to get the border open for sportsmen and women.  However, first the border had to be opened for Canadians.  That happened, but there were quarantine requirements for Canadians crossing the border. Those were lifted on July 6 for fully-vaccinated Canadians, so SCI felt it was time to urge the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to also open the country’s border to fully-vaccinated Americans.  They wrote him a letter outlining that request.  The fact that many Canadian outfitters either went out of business, or were on the brink of going under may have also stimulated Trudeau to do this.  Having already lost millions of hunter’s dollars, another fall with no American hunters would have been disastrous.  

Recently, things have changed, and finding out exactly what the new rules are for hunters and fishermen to go to Canada are confusing to say the least.  What follows is the best account that I can piece together on crossing the border.  

It appears that American sportsmen and women can now travel across the border. On the Safari Club International website it reads, “August 9, 2021, US citizens and permanent residents (of Canada) who are fully vaccinated will be able to cross the border without needing to quarantine. Providing that Canadian authorities do not see an increase in infections after August 9, the government will then open the border to fully vaccinated travelers from all destinations on September 7.”

It then goes on to say, “Travelers must have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and must have a negative COVID-19 molecular test result. They must also submit their travel information via the app or web portal ArriveCan before arriving in Canada. If they are eligible to enter Canada and meet specific criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival nor take any post-arrival tests, unless randomly selected for a Day 1 test. Regardless of these changes, all travelers are still required to provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.”  

As of Aug. 9, Canada is also eliminating the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement for those arriving by air. Also, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at five additional Canadian airports: Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.  

I don’t know anything about the app ArriveCan, but I assume the guides and outfitters hunters and fishermen are dealing with will know.   

My Bowhunter Magazine editor, Curt Wells, also moderates their TV show.  He has a mountain goat hunt booked in British Columbia and told me,  “I have a flight booked to BC on August 28.  Need to be vaccinated and have a negative test 72 hours before boarding.  No problem getting back into the US for Americans.  However, if the Delta variant keeps growing, I’m afraid Trudeau is going to buckle again.”  

That’s what I could find. Airline travel is much more hectic than before the pandemic.  For hunters taking guns, things are even more hectic, and dealing with COVID-19 restrictions makes it even more complicated.  Hopefully, things will ease up in the future, but in truth, it appears that the new COVID variant will increase and this will cause more problems for international travel.  

Stay positive, wear masks and for goodness sake, get vaccinated.