Tips for Traveling with Firearms for Hunting Trips
As many hunters know, traveling to a destination by airplane with firearms can be a bit challenging, even for domestic flights. If you have ever been unsure how to go about preparing for a hunting trip where you need to fly with your weapon, then this post is for you. Check out Double T Outfitters' tips for traveling with firearms.
Before you book the flight for your next African Safari or Texas whitetail hunt, make sure to research the airline’s individual rules for traveling with firearms. These are usually posted somewhere on the airline's website, often labeled in sections like “Allowed Baggage” or “Specialty Items” under Travel Information or Rules and Regulations. Double T suggests that you may want to follow-up and contact the airline directly by phone or email and verify exactly how to pack your checked weapon and ammunition, and keep all email correspondence with you as you travel. It is a good idea to print any online information or emails from the airline and take it with you when you travel to help if any problems arise when you check in for your flights. If you are using a travel agent to book your flights, make sure you discuss your hunting needs and intentions with your agent in order to assure you are booked on an airline that does allow weapons as checked baggage since not all companies allow firearms.
Each airline will have a limit to the amount of firearms and ammunition you may bring. Generally, the weapons should be unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Ammunition should be packed separate from the firearm, and most often it must be in its original packaging. Once again, each airline’s regulations are unique, so you MUST check the regulations of the airline you are using before you leave for your hunt.
Also, it is imperative that you have proper identification with you at all times. Don’t forget to take your driver’s license and/or passport with you. Always be polite and accommodating with the ticketing agent or airline staff, and try to dress nicely on the day you travel.
When you check in your baggage for the flight, let the agent know that you are declaring "unloaded firearms." If the agent asks to inspect the unloaded firearm, be courteous and oblige. Follow any instructions the agent gives you, even if they ask you to wait or to personally transport the firearm to a TSA screening area.
If you are traveling outside the U.S., then you will want to fill out a Customs Form 4457 (Declaration of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad) before you go as proof of ownership for your firearms. You will need this form when returning to country to declare the unloaded firearm. Simply take your firearm to any airport with a U.S. Customs Office to complete this free form ahead of time. More information about tips for traveling with firearms for hunting trips is available online.
Over the years, Double T has seen hundreds of clients successfully fly with their weapons. The next time you book a monster whitetail or trophy exotics hunt, follow these tips for traveling with firearms for hunting trips. If you are traveling to South Texas for one of Double T's great hunts, feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you may have about flying with firearms. Also, feel free to leave comments below and let us know what experience you've had flying with your weapons.