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I decided to make my first non DIY hunt a bear hunt in New Brunswick for Fall 2020. I will be going through True North Outfitters. The owner at the booth was kind and courteous and answered all my questions without pressuring me. The price was on the lower end of bear hunts but wasn't so low I was worried that it might be a shotty operation. I was planning on taking my 30-30 my dad got me for my first rifle when I was 11 and would like to take my first bear with the gun that took my first deer. A lot of firsts with this trip hopefully. I'm booked Sept 7-11. I know the moon won't be ideal (full to 3/4 during the stay) but the owner said at that time of year the bears will just be getting done with the blueberries so the meat is the best then.



Has anyone done these hunts and what should I expect? I wanted to do a "cheaper hunt" before I spend more money on a moose hunt to see if I like it. It's only a 15 hour drive so I will be driving and not flying so I don't have to pay to ship the meat and hide. I hope it's worth all the excitement I will have to contain for the next year and a half. I know about the gun form for Canada and since my wife is Canadian I've done the border crossings more times than I would like so I know the routine there.



I was going 100% off of what I had learned talking to the other outfitters and the owner of this one so if anyone could share experiences, what to expect, etc would be greatly appreciated. Or maybe someone has used this outfitter before and might say he's the worst?! I haven't sent my check in yet but plan to by the end of the week if I don't find any real negative reviews. Thanks!
 

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One thing you might ask is if they have guns you can use. Your going to find it very confusing and frustrating trying to take a gun to Canada. My buddies do waterfowl hunts every year and now the outfitters usually provide guns and ammo cause it is such a pain to do the paperwork.
 

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I've taken guns to and from Canada before so that will not be a problem. I'll have to research acceptable ammo but its not that difficult. Three unsigned and undated firearm forms (same form 3 times), $25 a gun, and a few questions is all it takes.
 

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I'm not familiar with True North Outfitters but I've hunted spring bear in New Brunswick 5 times and have taken 4 bears, and am booking another trip for this spring. Most of the province is very rural, remote and beautiful country, you should enjoy yourself. Looks like you'll be hunting before moose season starts, which is a good thing. Good luck to you!
 

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One thing you might ask is if they have guns you can use. Your going to find it very confusing and frustrating trying to take a gun to Canada. My buddies do waterfowl hunts every year and now the outfitters usually provide guns and ammo cause it is such a pain to do the paperwork.
I've taken guns to and from Canada before so that will not be a problem. I'll have to research acceptable ammo but its not that difficult. Three unsigned and undated firearm forms (same form 3 times), $25 a gun, and a few questions is all it takes.

Really no big deal. I'll add to the above: stop at US customs before crossing into Canada to declare your firearms on US form 4457. The Canadian form is 5589. Both the US and Canadian forms are available on-line and I do both at home before I leave and have them ready to go when I hit the border.
 

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I'm not familiar with True North Outfitters but I've hunted spring bear in New Brunswick 5 times and have taken 4 bears,

4 bear in 5 hunts. That is an awesome success rate. Is than normal or have you had above average success?
 

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4 bear in 5 hunts. That is an awesome success rate. Is than normal or have you had above average success?

For the week I go (second week of the season), that's better than average. I'd say average has run 50%, but that's kill, opportunity runs more like 80% or better. There are always bears passed up, spooked and wounded. It actually gets better the following weeks, but the bugs get worse, plus, the later you go the more chance of rubbed pelts. Last spring, the third week they went 11 for 14.
 

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Taking guns to Canada is no big deal. You can download the Canadian form, need it in triplicate. Or you can fill it out at the border. My experiences have always been positive crossing into Canada.....sometimes coming back into the US I’ve been hassled by whacky US border agents.

Prior to your trip, ( or stop at American side of border crossing) make sure you have a Form 4437 filled out and signed by border agency. You need that coming back when you enter US. ( you list your firearms on it )

If folks have had much of a criminal past, including DUI, it can get flagged going into Canada. I’ve had 2 guys go with me that had a DUI, but it wasn’t an issue when we crossed. Depends on how thorough the Canadian agents are and what kind of mood they’re in.

As far as the moon phase, I’ve hunted northern Maine 5 times, and our success was similar no matter what the moon phase was. A full moon can rise and set at different times, and a cloudy overcast night negates some of the full moon’s effect on game movement. All thing equal, I’d prefer a dark moon, but it wouldn’t worry me itit was full.
 

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Wasn't aware NB had hunts that time of year but I've hunted Northern Maine then. Bear activity can vary a lot. Friends hunt NB the end of May or so and usually do well, not with the outfit you're using. Should be a good trip for you.
 

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I’m not sure about NB, but in Maine, fall success rates over bait can vary from year to year. For example, it is a banner year for beech nuts, hunting over bait can be tough. A dry summer can cause the berry crop to wither, which can make bear hunting in September easier.

I’m always wary of success rates of some outfitters. Trying to get a number (which to me should be simple ) out of some is downright impossible. Then there are those who call every bear shot at or passed up as a kill. Some camps have detailed records of their past hunts, some just give you a lot of mumbo jumbo. Camps that claim 90% or better always set off by my bs detector.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I didn't go off of success rates. I understand not every hunt will be successful. But for the price it's not a bad venture. I've only found 1 review which was positive. Now all I have to do is kill a year and half....
 

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If you get some references from them and talk with them that helps as to what to expect. Especially those who are repeat clients, most would not go back if the experience wasn't enjoyable, success or not.
Did you pick 2020 or were they booked up for '19?
 

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I picked fall 2020. My wife is Canadian and we are going through the immigration stuff and with as long as it takes these days better safe than sorry. I found some reviews and got a PM from a guy on a different forum website. I don't have any worries now!
 

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One strange thing happened to us on a Canadian bear hunt.

We had all the papework for our rifle filled out in triplicate. Checked it in at the border on the way into Canada. Had the paperwork stamped and everything.

On the way home, I showed the US border officer all the paper work. He wanted to see paperwork proving that I bought the gun in the USA, and not Canada. A receipt, or a US gun registration. The fact that the gun was checked in a week ago did not satisfy him. He said that we couldn't prove that we didn't buy the gun in Canada.

After a long time of going back and forth, he finally waved us through. But it was a real hassle.
 

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HTML:
One strange thing happened to us on a Canadian bear hunt.

We had all the papework for our rifle filled out in triplicate. Checked it in at the border on the way into Canada. Had the paperwork stamped and everything.

On the way home, I showed the US border officer all the paper work. He wanted to see paperwork proving that I bought the gun in the USA, and not Canada. A receipt, or a US gun registration. The fact that the gun was checked in a week ago did not satisfy him. He said that we couldn't prove that we didn't buy the gun in Canada.

After a long time of going back and forth, he finally waved us through. But it was a real hassle.
This is the Form 4457. The customs folks treat it as a kind of defacto gun registration. If one had high end camera gear or optics they should also be listed on the form. It shows the stuff was bought in the US, otherwise the Border folks could try to hit you up for duty and taxes on your stuff. Everything you list on the form needs a serial number.
 

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One strange thing happened to us on a Canadian bear hunt.

We had all the papework for our rifle filled out in triplicate. Checked it in at the border on the way into Canada. Had the paperwork stamped and everything.

On the way home, I showed the US border officer all the paper work. He wanted to see paperwork proving that I bought the gun in the USA, and not Canada. A receipt, or a US gun registration. The fact that the gun was checked in a week ago did not satisfy him. He said that we couldn't prove that we didn't buy the gun in Canada.

After a long time of going back and forth, he finally waved us through. But it was a real hassle.
That's why you need to stop on the US side before crossing into Canada and do the US form 4457, CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION FOR PERSONAL EFFECTS TAKEN ABROAD.

That form lists your firearms and is signed by a US border agent as proof that you possessed the firearms before going into Canada. If you have any other high dollar items such as expensive cameras, you can do the same with the same form. The form is available on-line and you can complete it ahead of time just like the Canadian form. Stop on the US side first and they will check the make, model and serial #'s of your firearms and sign the form. You're now good to go.
 

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I don't remember which forms I filled out, but there was one that stated I was bringing a rifle in. That was checked in and stamped by the Canadians. It clearly showed that I had the gun before I got to the border, because I went inside and they checked my gun and stamped my paperwork. You would think that would be enough. Live and learn. Anyway, let my hardship be a lesson so other guys avoid the hassle.

It was a 1972 Sako Finnbear. Would they have looked up the blue book value and charged me a duty based on that? Or just confiscated it? Had they wanted to push it.
 

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I don't remember which forms I filled out, but there was one that stated I was bringing a rifle in. That was checked in and stamped by the Canadians. It clearly showed that I had the gun before I got to the border, because I went inside and they checked my gun and stamped my paperwork. You would think that would be enough. Live and learn. Anyway, let my hardship be a lesson so other guys avoid the hassle.

It was a 1972 Sako Finnbear. Would they have looked up the blue book value and charged me a duty based on that? Or just confiscated it? Had they wanted to push it.

1. The US border patrol doesn't give a hoot about the Canadian form. Again, you must stop at US customs before you leave the US and do US form 4457. When you come back, simply present the form to the US agent and you're good to go. They may want to compare the form to your firearms again.

2. Had they played hardball with you, you would have had to pay duty on the Sako.
 

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You can get the forms filled out prior to your trip. I took my guns to the Customs and Border Protection office in Moon Twp., near the Pittsburgh Airport. There is also an office near the Erie Airport. There would be one near Philly also. Take your guns in a case there during business office hours and they’ll record the serial numbers on the form. I don’t believe they keep a record of the form. There is no charge. I keep the forms in my passport wallet.

If you don’t have them coming back into the US, they’ll hold you up for an hour and give you a stern warning. Saw it happen a couple times at the Peace Bridge Crossing.
 

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BTW, once you have a 4457 signed by US Customs, you can keep and use it every time you cross back into the US with the equipment listed on it, it does not expire. Now if you take a different firearm, camera etc. that isn't listed, you'll need to do another form. I have one that lists my Winchester, my Savage and my TC, so I'm covered no matter which one I'm traveling with.
 
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