How to Pick the Right Ontario Hunting Lodge
Picking the resort or hunting lodge for your hunting trip in Ontario can seem daunting. Here are some tips when looking at choosing the best fit lodge for your group.
Tips to Pick a Hunting Lodge
Figure out how far your group is willing to drive from your home base to your lodge/resort of choice. The average drive time an American consumer will drive into Canada for a hunt is 12 hours. Meet with your group and basically pick a time, get out the map and figure out an area that you can reach safely within that time frame. By sticking to the area you picked, you will greatly reduce the number of lodges/resorts you might wish to contact, and the group will all be pleased with the travel time.
The price is always something to consider, remembering that most of the time, you get what you pay for. It’s important for your group to figure out a budget, and advise the person doing the research of the price range and amenities you are looking for. Be realistic in your requirements based on the price you wish to pay. You may have to adjust your group’s wants as you do your research if you realize that there is a gap between what you want and what the group’s budget can handle. Always keep in the back of your mind during your research if it’s a bargain basement price, you can probably figure out what the amenities are like at the lodge.
Know What’s Included
Make sure exactly what is covered in the price presented. You don’t want any surprises when you get that final bill. Pro tip: some lodges and resorts are all-inclusive and some places charge you for every little thing you do, so make sure what is covered and what is not.
Clearly communicate who’s in your party and what you’re expecting. Contact the lodges you’re considering to find out details about the accommodations. Because lodges are not a motel or hotel, cottage configuration is different at many lodges. In fact, not all lodges are family friendly. Do not hesitate to ask questions because you truly don’t want any surprises when you arrive.
Customer Reviews and Referrals
Read reviews online and do not hesitate to ask the resort owner for customer referrals. Sometimes chatting or emailing with a hunter that has gone there is the best type of review to get. Contrary to popular belief, operators are used to being asked for customer references. So ask for a few names to contact, but always remember the lodge operator will always give contacts who had the best time, so keep that in mind. When you contact these references, here are some of the most common questions that are asked:
- When did you hunt there? Was this the best time to go? Would you recommend a different time frame to attend the lodge/resort?
- How was the lodge or resort? How were the food and amenities? Does their website portray what the lodge/resort is like?
- How many hunters were there during your visit and how many were successful?
- How much game was seen?
Check out resort or lodge Facebook and Instagram pages (particularly during hunting season) to see the size of the dispatched animals that are posted. These shared photos are a tell-tale sign of what size of animal you could see during your stay. But remember, they generally only post the best, so check out the quantity of pictures with different hunting groups during the same year/season.
Conversations With Resort or Lodge Owners
Call the owner of the lodge or resort and talk directly to them. If the conversation makes you feel uneasy, they may not make you comfortable when you are at their lodge. Trust your gut and move on.
Make sure you can change dates if it’s necessary for you to do so. You never know what can happen, particularly when you are booking a year in advance.
Are they handling your meat processing, any taxidermy services and preparing the meat to cross the border? If they are not taking care of any of these processes, please make sure you visit here and find out everything that has to be done to bring your game home safely and legally.
Canadian Hunting Rules and Regulations
When travelling to Canada to hunt, there are rules and regulations as well as paperwork that must be completed for bringing in your firearms or bow. Remember that each person in your group must understand the paperwork required to come across the border into Canada via land travel. As a United States citizen or permanent resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a United States Permanent Resident Card or a Certificate of Indigenous Status along with photo identification. Of special note: American citizens returning to the United States must show a valid U.S. passport card, a Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST), or an enhanced driver's licence. So please ensure each member of your group has identification that covers both entry into Canada and entry back into the United States.