Hunting Season Creates Delays at Canada's Busiest Airports

Attention News Editors

OTTAWA, Nov. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Ammunition, rifles and other hunting gear are creating hassles at pre-board screening checkpoints at airports. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which screens air travelers and their baggage, reports a rise in intercepted items relating to hunting season.

"Canada's big game attracts hunters from across North America," said Jacques Grilli, CATSA Vice President, Operations. "Every time a screening officer comes across a rifle or bullet, bear spray or other similar item, law enforcement has to get involved. This adds to screening time and delays for travelers," added Grilli.

Screening officers in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario in particular are seeing a spike in hunting-related paraphernalia.

Winnipeg airport is the biggest problem area. So far this year, CATSA has intercepted 155 pieces of ammunition, including 51 key chains with bullets. In the month of October, Winnipeg officers screened 20 pieces of live ammunition, compared with nine from April to June, 2005.

Ontario officers intercepted a dozen rifles in the month of September, compared to eight from April to August 2005.

In Quebec, officers screened 15 live bullets from April to June, 2005. The incidents nearly tripled with the beginning of hunting season. CATSA recorded 42 cases involving live bullets from July to September 2005.

"For the remainder of this hunting season, we urge hunters to double check what they pack in their carry-on bags so they can pass through screening points quickly and efficiently," said Grilli.

PACKING TIPS FOR HUNTERS - Store rifles, shotguns and ammunition separately in checked baggage. - Make sure guns are unloaded and are securely locked. - Ammunition must be securely packed in a marked container, separate from the firearm. Passengers are permitted up to 5 kilograms (11 lbs) of ammunition. - Bows and arrows, animal repellants, knives must travel in checked baggage. Items should be securely wrapped. - Before the trip, travelers need to inform their air carrier that they are transporting these items. - For more information, contact the Canada Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-4000.

Anna-Karina Tabunar, (613) 998-4527, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

<<Canada Newswire English -- 11/08/05>>