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Hunting in British Columbia – what you need to know

British Columbia is home to a wide variety of large and small game, and this makes it a hunter’s paradise. Whether you are going after deer, elk or simply hunting game birds there are a few things you should know before you start packing for the trip. This applies to residents and non residents of British Columbia. If you’re a Canadian resident but don’t live in B.C. you are still considered a non resident. Here are a few of the things that I was glad I knew before I went on my first hunting trip.

 

 

Licenses

 

If you don’t have the right license then you won’t be allowed to hunt anything in British Columbia. Residents can easily apply for a Fish & Wildlife ID that will take them through the season or purchase a hunting license. While the temporary ID is free and you can apply for a new one every season, the hunting license does come with a small fee. In some cases you might need a “species license” and this will also come with a bag limit.

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Non residents are not allowed to apply for an ID or hunting license. If you are coming to the area specially for the hunting season you must be accompanied by a registered guide outfitter. Your guide must hold a valid Accompany to Hunt Permit and then you can apply for a non resident hunting license. It should be mentioned that the license does come with a fee that must be paid in full with your application. However, if you are only planning on hunting small game then you will only need a temporary license.

 

 

Firearms

 

Even if you’re a resident of British Columbia you will need to have a valid federal arms license, and this actually applies to all Canadians that want to own a gun. If you don’t own a firearm but still want to go hunting, it is legal to do so with a friend as long as they have a valid license. You can legally aim, fire and take down large and small game, as long as the licensed gun owner is standing nearby. Anyone under the age of 18 can also hunt with a firearm as long as they are closely supervised by an adult that holds valid hunting and firearm licenses.

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If you are a non resident and are planning on bringing a firearm into Canada for the purpose of hunting large or small game you must be 18 years of age or older. The firearm must also be declared at customs and approved in writing by a Canadian customs official. If you do not declare your weapon before entering the county, chances are you will spend the hunting season sitting in jail.

 

 

These are the two most important things everyone needs to know before they consider hunting in British Columbia. I’ve also found that the Fish & Wildlife Department is more than willing to help residents and non-residents fill out the required paperwork and answering any questions that you might have.

Things to do in British Columbia in the summer

If you’ve decided to explore British Columbia this summer, you may want to know what the areas and places you should make time to visit before anything else are. Even if the region is mostly known for its scenery, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other wonderful experiences to enjoy here.

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Anyway, let’s start with the obvious. If you want to enjoy wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, you should visit the Wild Pacific Trail. It is perfectly adapted to all types of tourists, even to those that don’t have a habit of walking a lot. Even so, don’t expect the 9 km to be easy. There are several entrances to the trail and there is a guide that can offer you explanations if you are curious in finding out some interesting things besides just seeing landscapes. Just make sure you wake up in the morning, guided tours start at 10:00 AM.

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If you’re more into cultural manifestations, interested in knowing people from all the corners of the world, why don’t you take part in one of the festivals that take place during summer? The one that is highly recommended is called, how else, Summerfest and it is located in North Vancouver. It starts on the 1st of July and lasts until the 4th of September. There are many activities you can participate in: outdoor movies, concert series, dance classes and shows, even fitness classes to ensure you stay fit even if you are on a holiday. In the same period, you can enjoy another event called Pianos on the street if you are in love with classical music and the sound of this instrument.

fair3If you’re interested in history and indigenous population, make time to visit the BC Royal Museum, as it holds a large number of exhibits regarding extinct species like mammoths, native languages and populations, but also activities for kids and adults altogether that will make you feel transported back in time. This makes it a great place to spend a couple of hours with family, to have fun, but also to learn valuable things about the past and what it means for us today.

Most definitely, if you are visiting the Royal Museum, you shouldn’t miss a tour through the capital city of the region, Victoria. There are many things that the city offers and many green areas, such as the Beacon Hill Park where you can admire the lovely gardens and spend some time in nature or near a lake, to relax.

Victoria's inner harbor with marina and Empress hotel in distance with chain railing and promenade
Victoria’s inner harbor with marina and Empress hotel in distance with chain railing and promenade

Nevertheless, if there’s something you should not miss while in Victoria, that is the Inner Harbor, where you can admire wonderful architecture and one of the most spectacular lights in the city. Many people say that the Harbor should be visited by night, because it looks wonderful and it offers plenty of terraces, restaurants and bars to eat and enjoy a drink. If you still have the time, take a boat (or a car) outside the city and visit the Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on Canada’s west coast and an important  historic site.

 

Fish dishes you have to try in Canada

Canadians know their way around food, and nobody can deny it. If you intend to travel to Canada sometime in the future, you may want to get well-acquainted with some of the most popular dishes you’re likely to come across in diners and restaurants scattered all throughout the country. One thing’s for sure, though – Canadian cuisine can vary significantly from one region to the next, which is why we recommend you to avoid taking things for granted and believing that poutine is the only thing you’ll find everywhere in Canada.

 

First things first. The country is filled with rivers that overflow with trout and salmon, so you’re likely to have the chance to taste one of these fish when going out with friends or acquaintances. Some of the most common specialties you’ll find in most restaurants that serve fish are Backyard Hot Smoked Salmon, Baked Tilapia, Salmon Tartare, and even Salmon Tikka. Mackerel isn’t out of the ordinary, so you may be able to taste some crispy one, whether it’s grilled, roasted, or fried. Fancy a bit of healthy foods on your table? In that case, don’t be afraid to try out some halibut with cherry tomatoes and an arugula salad. Even pan-fried halibut can be healthy when combined with vegetables and an innocent sauce concocted out of steamed asparagus.

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Another popular fish dish you’ll be able to taste if you visit Newfoundland, for example, is fish and brewis, of which the recipe might vary depending on the restaurant or home. In most cases, this specialty is served with scrunchions, which also seem to be typical for some Canadian regions. bc3Scrunchions is a pork fat that has been salted. Some cooks mix the cod in the fisherman’s brewis along with the scrunchions and the hard bread while they’re all hot. Others prefer the dish cold, particularly when they use salt fish. What’s the explanation this dish is so popular in both Labrador and Newfoundland? First of all, these two regions have more than enough cod to serve on their tables. Secondly, sailors invented the dish because it was composed out of ingredients they had at hand.

 

 

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Sea pie is another unique dish you might find if, for instance, you decide to visit Quebec. Quebecois call this cipaille or cipâtes. The history of this specialty is a lot older when compared to others, simply because it used to be served to British sailors in the 18th century. The shape of the pie is round and the ingredients are layered inside it. The same dish can be prepared using meat, although cubes of potatoes and minced fish are also popular among cipaille aficionados.

Fish curry is yet another food you might find in certain restaurants, where the Indian cuisine seems to have left its mark. Other critically acclaimed dishes include fish cakes, baked trout amandine, and roast lake trout.