Traveling to Canada to Hunt BIGHORN SHEEP
Commercial Airlines – Most of you will enter Canada via a commercial airline. Even with connections you should be able to accomplish the trip in one day. Smithers has good service with 1 or 2 daily flights into the airport. Once you’ve arrived in Canada, most of the flights are direct from Vancouver, BC via Air Canada. Air Canada may be charging an additional fee for flying with a firearm this year. We recommend using a professional travel agency to book your flights, unless you are quite experienced with the process. If you have questions about airline travel within the US, call or email TSA at: (866) 289-9673 or www.TSATravelTips.us . It appears that there will not be problems with taking meat, capes and skulls back across the border this year, but you might want to call our recommended taxidermist(s) or contact US Customs (360) 988-2971 (Sumas, WA).
I would recommend using one of two companies to book your flight: Jim or Evelyn, Travel Canada (877) 608-3500 or Doug Gray, Gracy Travel (800) 299-8558. Travel Canada is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and specializes in working with outfitters and hunters/fishermen and understands their travel needs. They are available 24/7 should you need assistance before, during or after your trip. They get good rates on Air Canada, even on short notice, and make hotel bookings. Gracy Travel specializing in booking trips for hunters. If you don’t have travel/health insurance protection, I strongly suggest getting coverage through one of these agents. Another company I really recommend is www.globalrescue.com and Med Jet or www.metjetassist.com. If you are injured in Canada or overseas, they will fly you back to the US for medical attention.
Another option is to use a travel website (Sidestep, Expedia, Travelocity or Cheapest Fare) to buy tickets. Make sure that the tickets you purchase have some flexibility regarding cost and convenience of rescheduling flights should weather cause us any delays, which has happened.
The dates of your hunt include the days you’ll be flying in and out of the area. This year I’ve asked hunters, to arrive in Smithers one day early, as we’ll be flying hunters in a day early to lessen the stress of trying to position all the hunters in one day. For our September/October hunts, some of our hunters will be driving to Tatogga Lake Rescort (about 6 hrs. from Smithers) and will fly in from there, to cut down on weather and time delays and to make it easier to deal with moose meat. This is a great drive up the Cassiar Hwy and the driver will be Buster, a good friend and neighbor of Jerry Geraci. Mac and Judi Blackwell will have the list of who drives to Tatogga Lake and who flies from Smithers. Also, in the event the airlines loose your luggage, arriving early will give hunters another day to get your gear to Smithers. Book your flight departing Smithers for the day after your hunt is completed, or even one day later. If you have to depart the same day you arrive back in Smithers from hunt camp, schedule your departure as late in the day as possible. If you need help, or have questions in arranging flights, please let us know. Allow several hours between when you land in Vancouver, BC and your connecting flight to Smithers, so that you have time to clear customs. This is where you’ll present your Firearms Declaration that we’ve provided.
Important: When flying to Canada, obtain a Passport. A passport is valid for 10 years and can be obtained online, like www.tds.com or by going to your local courthouse or police department. You’ll also need several passport photos (these can be taken at a photo or print shop). You might not need a passport to drive to Canada, just a current driver’s license, but you should bring one anyway. A passport will soon be required for all travel to/from Canada and the US
The following should be kept in mind regarding baggage and taking trophies home: Due to high fuel prices, many airlines are charging a fee for all checked baggage, plus a fee for overweight baggage. If you wish to take some meat and your antlers/cape home the commercial carrier will charge you for it. Some airlines permit antlers as baggage as long as there is no blood/hair/skin & if all points are covered to prevent damage to other luggage. They will also require you to sign a liability release form. It is common to split the skulls on animals such as moose, caribou and elk to facilitate easier shipping. If an animal is record book size, this should not be done. We recommend using a local taxidermist, or our recommended taxidermists to mount or transport your trophies back to the US. Sheep and goat horns and bear hides/skulls are easier to take with you, as they will fit into small duffels. You’ll need to obtain a CITES Permit before exporting any Grizzly from the US, so you’ll have to leave it with the taxidermist to have it shipped.
Driving – Canada is a beautiful country. If you are driving to Smithers, buy a good road map of British Columbia when you cross the border. It’s much easier to take home moose and caribou meat and horns in your vehicle then by plane. If you are coming from a state east of Montana, drive into Alberta and go to Calgary. From there, take Hwy 1 and then Hwy 93 into Banff & Jasper National Parks. At the town of Jasper, you’ll head West on Hwy 16, entering British Columbia through Mount Robson Park. Stay on Hwy 16, heading NW to Smithers, through McBride, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Houston & Telkwa.
If you’ll be driving up through Western Montana or Idaho, take either Hwy 93 or 95. You’ll go through Cranbrook and Invermere then continue North into Banff and Jasper Parks and then West on Hwy 16.
When coming from Washington, there are two good routes. One is through the Sumas border crossing NE of Bellingham, WA. From here, take Hwy 1 to Hope. You can then stay on Hwy 1 to Cache Creek or take Hwy 5 through Merritt and Kamloops and then to Cache Creek. From Cache Creek, you’ll take Hwy 97 through Clinton, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake & Quesnel and into Prince George. The other route is through Osoyoos and up Hwy 97 through Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops to Cache Creek or you can take Hwy 3 NW through Princeton and up through Merritt to Cache Creek. After arriving in Prince George, head NW on Hwy 16 to Smithers. Smithers is approximately 750-800 miles from the BC/US border. Enjoy the drive.
Distance: 1 km = 0.62 miles; 1 meter = 3.28 feet.
Weight: 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.
Temperature: Fahrenheit = Celsius x (9/5) + 32
Volume: 1 US gallon = 3.78 liters