Fun at the border
When I was up at Custer for the pin shoot on Saturday, I got to talking to another shooter, down from Vancouver, Canada. As a rule, I've always found Canadians, and particularly BC'ers to be a great bunch of folks. Always have enjoyed their company. It's really a shame the way the Canadian goverment makes life difficult for gun owners. Trying to get his rimfire race gun back and forth across the border sounds like a real pain in the neck. You have to fill out a special form, and get goverment approval, then take the form to the guys at the border, and if you are lucky, they let you through, and then back into Canada later. Bummer.
I had a fun time a few years back trying to get my 12 Gauge Mossberg 500 into Canada. I was going to drive straight through B.C. to Hyder, Alaska, to go do a little fishing and bear dodging. Lots of bears, REALLY BIG bears, hence the shotgun. It's amazing how a brown bear right across the creek from you can screw up your casting skills, but I digress! Anyhow, the Canadian border guy asks me if I'm carrying any liquor, and I said no. "Any firearms or ammunition?" Yes, a 12 gauge pump and ten shells for it. (Good thing I didn't tell him they were sabot slugs, they are really touchy about slugs.) "OK son, you're going to have to park your van over there and come inside." (F**K!!) I'm looking at 22 hours and 30 minutes straight through to Hyder, stopping only for coffee and gas, and I really am not to happy about wasting a bunch of time at the border. I got inside and it went something like this:
"Are you bringing any liquor into Canada?" "No"
"How long are you planning on staying in Canada?" "22 hours and 30 minutes"
"What is your destination?" "Hyder, Alaska"
"Are you carrying any firearms into Canada?" "Yes"
"What kind of firearm is it?" "Mossberg 500 pump 12 gauge"
"Why are you bringing it into Canada?" "Bear defense in Alaska"
"Hmmmm. Go sit down over there."
20 minute wait - then a new guy comes over and asks exactly the same questions.
"Hmmmm. Go sit down over there."
Now another 20 minute wait, then a third guy comes over, and asks the same damn questions AGAIN!
"We'll have an inspector come out and inspect your vehicle in a bit. Go sit over there."
followed by another 20 minute wait.
After another 20 minutes or thereabouts, custom agent number four comes over. I was starting to wonder if there was a "Good cop - Bad cop" thing going on, but I reconsidered after thinking about it. They were ALL kinda surly.
Anyhow, agent #4 shows up, and we walked out to my van. As we are standing by the van, he asks me the same damn set of questions! It must have been making them crazy since it looked like they wanted to bust me for something, but I wasn't doing anything illegal! This time, however, I had just about lost all patience with these guys, and when he asked me AGAIN why I wanted to bring the shotgun into Canada. Being "Mr Tact and Diplomacy", I told him that I was bringing the shotgun because the Canadian goverment wouldn't let me bring pepper spray into Canada, so if I tangled with a bear in Alaska, I'd have shoot and kill it, instead of hitting it with the bear spray.
It was a kinda cool moment, as he thought about it for a minute, pointed at my van, and said "Get outta here!" I thought for a moment I almost caught a smile that he was trying to suppress!
Like I said before, I've always found Canadians, and particularly BC'ers to be a great bunch of folks.
I wonder how many guns come across the Mexican border...............
(I DID have a run-in with a brown bear in Hyder on that trip, and sure was glad I had the shotgun with me. That, however, is a story for a later post.)