Declare bows at Canada border ?

Printable View - Switch to FULL VIEW

By: GH-1
Posted: 29-Aug-06

Iam going on a bear bowhunt in Ontario this week .Do i have to declare my bow when driving over the border..IF so is there a special form i can get on line to fill out ahead of time ?I have to form for firearms already.

By: jawbreaker
Posted: 29-Aug-06

no you just tell them your gone bowhunting, no forms. just dont tell them about the whisky in the sleeping bags.

By: TD
Posted: 29-Aug-06

Form I had to fill out at the airport said I must declare any "weapons". It was just a general form though, same as declaring the whisky in your sleeping bag! Could be big trouble, heard of one guy that almost lost his bow for not declaring. He thought they meant just firearms.

Just write in archery equipment, bow and arrows, whatever. Then no trouble whatsoever, they didn't even search the bow case. But "weapons" and "firearms" are different. A bow is a "weapon".

Not sure about driving in, I assume you still have to fill out the same forms?

By: GH-1
Posted: 29-Aug-06

Thank you for the info didn't know if I needed serial numbers on bows ,just wanted to save time a have every thing in order. never now if you meet up with a nit-wit at the border. gh-1(gamehog-1)

By: Dux2Bux
Posted: 29-Aug-06

They have more fits over knives than bows!!

By: young buck
Posted: 30-Aug-06

I crossed into manitoba from ND in may and declared mine under the weapons part of the form.I had no problems and I carried it across on a bus!

By: Elauwit
Posted: 30-Aug-06

Where do you get the forms?

By: buckskin
Posted: 30-Aug-06

I have driven to quebec to bow hunt caribou and they ask if you have firearms and we tell them we are bowhunting and they don't even ask to see the bows,and never have been asked for paperwork for bows,but with firearms it's different,you must have all the forms filled out but NOT signed.

By: ehntr
Posted: 30-Aug-06

There is no form for a bow. There is a form for firearms. Do not fill out a firearms form for a bow. When driving across the border you will be asked why you are entering Canada, tell them you are going bowhunting. Air travel is a different you know everybody is running scared and nobody knows what the heck they are doing.

By: kota-man
Posted: 30-Aug-06

On the ground there should be NO paperwork...In the air is a different story...I travel to Canada quite frequently bowhunting and the bow is never an issue...Just tell them and you should be on your way...

By: Rackbuck
Posted: 30-Aug-06

Just came accross the border last week and you don't need to do anything at either border with a bow. I was driving.

By: full draw
Posted: 30-Aug-06

I spoke to a border agent about this issue. The form going into Canada asks if you have any weapons. Your bow is a weapon and should be noted on the form. They have no issues with bows but it should be noted.

By: GH-1
Posted: 30-Aug-06

thank you for all the info I better know what to expect now..

By: ehntr
Posted: 31-Aug-06

Again...there is no form to record a bow on other than the general declaration form. The general declaration form is not used for driving across the border. A bow is considered to be a weapon and so is a knife...However, no forms are filled out for these items. You just declare it verbally to the customs agent and tell him you are bowhunting. There is a form for firearms. Here is a link which will help you through this.

By: RestigoLX
Posted: 03-Oct-06

Here are the facts.

The Canada Border Services Agency defines the term “Weapon”. You can decide if your compound bow fits this definition, of if a customs officer will. But, I doubt this is what Mathews had in mind when they designed my Mathews LX.

Weapon - anything used, designed to be used, or intended to be used in causing death or injury to any person, or to threaten or intimidate any person-firearms are considered weapons.

The Canadian Criminal Code and the Canadian Firearms Act define Guns and Cross-Bows only. Neither of these acts have any mention of regular Compound or Traditional Bows.

Canadian Criminal Code Canadian Firearms Act

Canadians are sensitive to the issue of cross-bows because:

“In 1991, Ottawa women witnessed a series of particularly brutal murders of women and a girl who was 14 years old. Their sense of outrage culminated in an innovative call for change when local lawyer Patricia Allen was murdered with a crossbow in broad daylight on a downtown street.”

Of course, this doesn’t stop a Canadian customs agent from thinking that a bow is a weapon.

Notwithstanding, I always declare on the Canadian customs form that I am carrying a bow to save me possible hassles by uninformed and suspicious customs agents. I know that some of them don’t know these definitions - you can't expect every customs officer to know every regulation and definition.

Provincial hunting regulations define Guns, Cross-Bows and Compound Bows as “Firearms”. This Provincial definition has nothing whatsoever to do with a Federal Canadian border declaration and often leads to confusion.

ONTARIO HUNTING REGULATIONS Firearms Firearms include air or pellet guns, bows and cross-bows. You may use semi-automatic or repeating firearms for hunting in Ontario, but not handguns or fully automatic firearms. Air and pellet pistols with a muzzle velocity less than 500 feet per second may be used for hunting in Ontario. For storage and transportation information, contact your local police department.

I have traveled across the Canada – U. S. border, many times with long guns, and regular compound bows.

When I returned from Florida on a pig hunting trip I declared on my Canadian customs form that I was carrying a compound bow even though there is no legal requirement. I was inspected at Canadian customs by a lady officer who was uncertain whether my bow was a Cross-Bow. She also asked why I was traveling with a bow – duh! As it turned out, there was another customs officer, also a lady, who happened to be a bow hunter. This lady knew more than the guys who were hanging around and she explained to the first lady, and the guys, the difference between a Cross-Bow and a bow. She also looked pretty darn nice. So, I tried to strike up a conversation with her, but she was so busy she couldn't wait to get rid of me and deal with the next customer. So much for my male charm.

I also advise if you are flying to check with your airline for their baggage rules and regulations. Air Canada, recently changed its rules for carrying firearms. The best thing to do is check on the Web for your air carrier’s rules and regulations the evening before you fly and print a copy to take with you to the airport. Since these rules change all the time I don't expect airline personnel to always be up to date on their own regulations.

I also carry a copy of the purchase invoice for my guns and bows – proof of where I purchased them.

If you travel through the Toronto airport with anything cool, like a nice double engraved shotgun, count on spending a little extra time with the customs guys – many of them are outdoors types and like to chat about expensive toys.

And one last thought. If you got some time to burn and feel like driving the Canadian customs guys nuts, just tick the form where it says “I/we will be visiting a farm or a farm show in Canada within the next 14 days”. They have no idea what to do.

Canadian Customs form:

I have no idea of what happens to an American returning to the U.S.

By: Genesis
Posted: 03-Oct-06

I missed a flight once in Vancouver because I was detained to inspect my crossbow that was a compound.

TIP:Tape "NOT A FIREARM OR CROSSBOW" on the outside of your bowcase,it could save alot of hassle and misunderstanding that comes with wrong assumption.

By: Ojibwa
Posted: 03-Oct-06

I have on a few occasions flown with bows, arrows, and hunting gear from Hawaii to Vancouver, BC, and then connecting on an airplane to Sault Sainte Maire, Ontario. I generally declare all when clearing customs, and I have had no problems. (I carry extra printed lists of all my luggage, all annotated with estimated costs and serial numbers, if appropriate. This is faster and easier to get though customs.)

If I don't go directly to Norther Ontario for a bowhunt with my cousins, I cross the border over the International Bridge to Sault Sainte Marie, MI, usually with my gear exposed in the back of my brother's pickup truck. I have had no problems. (

Even though it is not required, yet; I also carry my passport to answer the question of the border agents--Where born?, etc. Also, if asked what I bought in Canada, the list of gear generally satisfies the border agent when I say nothing, or something limited in value.

(I am legally a citizen of both Canada and the US; but, I understand, when the passport requirement go into effect because of national security requirements, we border Indians will have to show a passport, our tribal identification cards will not be accepted anymore. This will not affect our dual citizenship and unlimited right to make purchases in both Canada and the US. We will still be required to show our tribal identification cards to avoid tariff costs and prove dual citizenship. There is presently a debate about the passport requirement with the Government by some border Indian Tribes that legally and traditionally "see no border," including both the Canadian and Mexican borders. I personally will carry my passport to avoid delays and hassles, which I dislike at the Canadian border in both directions. By choice, I do not to go to Mexico anymore. I'm the wrong kind of "border Injun" there anyways.)

Aloha and Aho,


By: shortbow @wk
Posted: 03-Oct-06

Two issues with crossing borders, one is weapons, one is customs. Declaring it on the way in makes it easier to get it out on the way back home.

End of Topic

You are viewing the printable View - Switch to full view to respond to this thread Logo