Guns across the border
Over the 49 years I have been driving to Alaska, through Canada, I have taken both long guns and hand guns through Canada. I believe it has the tendency to make for an interesting set of questions asked by the Canadian Customs officials, when I now cross, and never carry a firearm with me. But on the positive side, I never get asked any questions about dog food or vegetables. LOL
On our 2009 trip, the general questions, quickly changed over to very specific ones, about firearms, as soon as my screen pops up on their computer. Do you have a firearm with you? "no", more specifically, do you have a hand gun with you? "no" Do you own a hand gun? "yes", more than one? "yes" The official takes a look at his computer screen and says, I see you own six hand guns, correct? "no, I own more than six" Why don't you have one of the hand guns with you? "It is my understanding that current Canadian law doesn't allow me to import one into Canada", Your understanding is correct. He reads my screen some more, while rubbing my passport between his thumb and fingers, hands me my paperwork back and says, Have a good trip.
I would no longer attempt, to try and get the needed paperwork approvals to take a handgun into Canada, as I no long work in active law enforcement, or do competitive shooting, in sanctioned Canadian matches.
Our trip of 2011, got us singled out for a full vehicle search at the Beaver Creek Canadian border check on our southbound leg of the trip. Took about an hour and was not at all an unpleasant experience. I knew I didnít have any illegal items on board so I wasnít worried. The inside of the camper was barely disturbed, bed covers a bit wrinkled, some stuff in drawers moved around, etc. Just the luck of the random computer selection process I believe. However it wonít in anyway, cause us not to go back. Small price to pay, to be allowed, to visit Canada.
My view is that once, you have taken a firearm through customs, it subjects you and those with you to a much more through review at crossings in the future. Other factors are the state you are from, Texas for example (bunch of gun packing red necks) LOL, or having been "caught" in the past with non-approved items, from meats, veggies, too much liquor/tobacco, etc., the vehicle you are driving, i.e. a rainbow painted VW micro bus, your appearance,(the hippie look) and who knows what else triggers the computers, on both sides to notify the officers to give you extra attention.
If I am going to be doing remote hiking, remote fishing, photography, etc. I would buy some "bear spray" after I cross the border. Sportman's Wholesale store has it, in Grande Prairie. It is very effective, from all the reports I have read No one, or at least I hope, no one is going to be packing a large bore rife/shotgun with them on the board walk to the Liard Hot Springs. (the urban mountain men from Anchorage, strutting around the Russian River fishery, with their new camo gear, boonie hat and their shinny new large bore handgun, makes me a lot more nervous than do the occasional bears I see at the Russian River)
Remember, life is a series of taking calculated risks. Getting attacked by a person or bear, in Canada or Alaska, is such a remote possibility, I put those in the same categories as getting stuck by lightning, hit by a falling aircraft part, or getting killed in a car wreck, which is a much higher probability, than a bear attack, IMHO. Last year over 4,000 people were killed in Florida car wrecks and a few hundred in homicides, mostly by people that knew each other. I don't stop driving because of possible car wrecks and I don't carry a firearm in Canada, because of the bears that live there.