Aug 31, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
As you read this, I’m enjoying the fall season’s first hunting trip. Chances are right now, I’m sitting on a small hill somewhere on the tundra of northern Quebec, binoculars to my eyes, looking for a caribou bull that might want to be a television star. Going to the Far North, whether that’s Quebec, Alaska or somewhere in between is a terrific way for any addicted big game or waterfowl hunter to kick off the season.
If plans for that first of the year hunt, or any hunt for that matter, include crossing the Canadian/United States border, there are two important documents that will smooth the process. Take care of these ahead of time as much as possible, and you’ll be able to focus more on the pleasures of the hunt and less on bureaucratic … stuff.
The first to secure is actually the document you’ll need last. Its name is the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Form 4457. It’s actually a broader document called a Certificate of Registration of Personal Effects Taken Abroad, but we’re going to focus on your hunting gear.
Acquire this form at the US government website: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/forms/. You’ll have to scroll down the page a ways, but it is there.
Complete this form with a detailed description of your firearm or bow including make, model, caliber, barrel length and, most importantly, the serial number. Customs agents have also recommended to me including information on the scope including its serial number.
Once you have this complete, take the gun or bow in a locked travel case and the completed, but not signed 4457 to your nearest US Customs and Border Protection Office. There they will be inspected by an agent to make sure the information matches the effects, and you’ll sign the form in his/her presence. The final step will be notarizing with an official inditia and the agent’s signature and badge number.
Save this completed 4457 and present it any time you’re entering back into the states with that gun or bow. It will smooth the process in a number of ways, but if nothing else shows the agents you’re dealing with that you know what you’re doing. That goes a long way in making reentry into the States much smoother.
For the Canadian side of the equation, you should go on line ahead of time and acquire the Canadian Nonresident Firearm Declaration form at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/form-formulaire/num-nom/909-eng.htm.
Complete all of the information required on this form, but again, do not sign it. That’s to be done in the presence of the Canadian Customs agent after he/she has matched up the firearms to the information on the document. Then you’ll pay a $25.00 per person fee that’s good on the guns on the form for 60 days.
Then you’ll be on your way to enjoy your hunting trip.
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