Air Travel Tips for Hunting – Make the Most of This Hunting Season!
Most of the professional hunters like to hunt in different states or do hunting internationally. Riding such a long way is very tiring and it’s not possible to hunt internationally by a car and the best option is to fly in another state or country. Because it could save your valuable time and your energy.
You would have to travel with your precious hunting gear in an airplane. Air travel for hunting is not so complicated as there are only a few rules and regulations you have to follow and take some precautions.
Before starting your journey by plane, you should check the airline security requirements as well as firearm regulations. Border protection and customs website would help you to get such information. Let’s start!
The guideline and tips to air travel for hunting in detail
Step 1: How to pack your hunting gear?
Because of the strict rules of airport security, no one is allowed to carry weapons like guns, rifles or other hazardous items unless the person is an approved law officer or a Marshall. If you want to travel with your hunting gear, you have to pack your necessary gears according to their rules. You should contact your specific airline and ask if they have changed any rules to travel with hunting gear or not. Tell the agency or the representative what type of gear you are going to take with your luggage and note if he provides any specific rules and regulations.
Now, it’s time to prepare your hunting gears to fly. You must unload the gun first and buy a hard shell weapon case to store them. you would be charged for each luggage so, use a big and hard sided double rifle case.
Put your unloaded guns both small and big and ammunition in that case safely. Place as many things as possible in your rifle case and use every corner of the case. But keep in mind that you have to put them securely as this case might shake a little while travelling. Put a layer of the cloth so that the weapons don’t move easily.
However, don’t use plastic cases to air travel because these cases are easy to break. Each of your luggage must carry 50 pounds of weight. After setting everything properly in the case, lock your case by using a brand key lock or twist combination lock. If possible, use a double lock for extra safety.
You should keep the keys of each lock with you because you have to unlock them in the airport for checking. I would prefer not to use TSA approved locks as any of the TSA agents could easily access your gun. Moreover, you should pack your arrows and bows safely in another luggage and ensure that there are not any sharp points poking by the luggage as it may harm someone while carrying.
Step 2: Arriving at the airport:
First of all, you have to find your airline area and it is better to look for an agent who may tell you where the special items line is. Normally, it is located near the ticketing area. After that, you should declare to the agent that you are going to transport a firearm. Weigh your firearm case with other luggage as usual and fill up some form that ensures that your gun is unloaded. You would be given a receipt that you must keep it with you all time.
The airline representative would take you to a room where another agent would unlock it to see if it is unloaded or not. You should let them do their work and follow the instructions that they may provide. After proper checking, you have to lock it again and drop it at the special items room. Sometimes, it may happen that you have lost your lock. Don’t get panicked! The agents would give you extra locks for which you have to pay.
Step 3: Landing at your destination:
After landing at the final destination, you should go to the baggage service office to pick your firearm. You may not find it with your other luggage most of the time as someone else may put it down with other people’s luggage. You have to show your ID or the receipt that you have been given before for picking up your firearm. Check everything properly and inform the baggage representative as soon as possible if you find any damage or couldn’t find your luggage.
Things you should remember:
- If you want to bring your extra equipment like a paintball gun or pellet on your next plane trip, prepare yourself in advance and follow the airline requirements. In this case some approved law officers would pack your firearm and board it as per the security laws.
- You should never carry any kind of weapon like a gun or rifle on the plane even in your carry-on luggage. The criminal laws are strict and they would take necessary steps to ensure other passengers safety.
- Your firearm case shouldn’t weigh more than 11 pounds in total as said by the NRA.
- If you forget to unload your rifle, don’t try to unpack it for unloading and inform an airline representative about this situation. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed to travel.
- Some airline laws would not allow you to carry more than 3 rifles in a case. But there are also some airlines that don’t have any rules about the specific number of the rifle as they checked the luggage according to the weight.
- Don’t forget to fix a zip-tie round the cables and string of your bow.
- Fix a lock in the place of bolts of the rifle which ensures that your rifle is fully unloaded at the first glance.
- Always keep a cleaning rod in the bag because you may need it if something unusual happens like a case stuck or anything else while travelling.
Air travel for hunting requires some regulations but if you follow the instructions above, you may find it easy. You should double check your luggage and firearm case for extra safety.