Canada’s landscape is a hunter’s paradise, but for those with little to no experience, preparing for hunting season can leave your feet stuck in the mud.

No other country in the world lays claim to being the premier game destination for hunters – the sport garners over $6 billion in revenues for the Canadian economy per year.

Preparing for hunting season can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on your skill level, the game you wish to hunt, and the area you plan to hunt in. Here are the top five guidelines to ensure your hunting trip goes according to plan:

1. Know the rules
Hunting is permitted in Canada, but strict regulations are imposed at federal and provincial levels to protect wildlife. These may change from year to year, so it’s important to keep up to date with them. You may be required to take a Hunter Education course for the area you hope to hunt in, as well as obtain licensing to hunt either big or small game. Doing your research and planning well in advance is key. See our post on hunting restrictions to learn more. Penalties for violating hunting regulations can range anywhere from $1,000 to $200,000 and up in fines, including imprisonment, depending on offence and the province or territory the violation is committed.

2. Know the area
To find the best game, you’ll need to study the land area you plan to hunt in. Every area is geographically unique and home to varying amounts of different species, so knowing the terrain and wildlife of the specific area you hope to hunt in is essential. You’ll want to find hunting terrain that suits your fitness level in order to maximize your take-home rate. It’s recommended that you take a brief, in-person excursion of the area beforehand to best learn about your desired choice of game in its natural habitat.

3. Practice
The best way to increase your take-home rate is to practice at a shooting range with your choice of weapon. Most serious hunters spend upwards of a month at a shooting range annually in order to prepare for hunting season. This requires specific gun-handling education and, in some cases, licensing and insurance. You’ll need to learn how your weapon performs at different angles and distances before you embark.

4. Buy the appropriate gear
What you should bring on your trip entirely depends on where and how long you plan to hunt, but it’s crucial to be well-prepared in this regard. A few basic things you’ll need to bring are portable shelter and bedding, cooking supplies, personal items like heavy-duty, weather-resistant clothes and toiletries, as well as items to keep you entertained during lull periods. To best increase your take-home rate, you should buy camouflaged items to suit the area in which you plan to hunt. Make sure you pack a first aid kit in case of any mishaps. It’s best to make a checklist of everything you need to make sure nothing is left behind that could spoil your trip.

5. Get organized
Now is the time to schedule your trip. Confirm season dates according to the relevant hunting authority, and mark them down on a calendar. Let somebody know your location at all times and when you plan to return. Remember to double check your checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Plan your method of travel, and rest assured knowing you’re prepared to bring home some game.

If you have a criminal record, you may need a Temporary Residents Permit (TRP) to enter Canada, so make sure to contact us well in advance of your trip. We can help you enter Canada so that you can enjoy Canada’s abundant hunting opportunities.