I followed many of the items mentioned in this article, and there is some good information here as well.
I also always separated my ammo as well. I have had guns and bows delayed on the arrival to the hunt and not show up for days after I got home, so plan accordingly. Some airlines are good and a few I avoid. I have used United many times and they have been the best for me. American and Frontier also have been good.
The traveling hunter: Flying with firearms
Steve Piatt Blog
January 21, 2015
I've done some hunting-related travel by air over the years; not in the league of Jim Shockey or any of those guys, for sure, but enough to pick up a few tips of what works and what doesn't when it comes to checking in firearms or archery equipment.
Most folks today have done enough air travel to dispel the myth that flying is glamorous. It's not, but it usually beats the option of driving, if nothing more than to save time. Hunters have learned, too, that things rarely go entirely smoothly when it comes to travel with firearms - or any other type of baggage, when you think about it.
That said, I've been pretty fortunate along the way, my trips to Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota, Florida, Colorado and Nebraska toting guns or bows relatively uneventful. It just takes a bit of extra planning and, at times, a tone firm enough to get your message across but not so firm you end up face-planted on the tarmac.
Have I ever had a gun lost or a firearm delayed? Lost? No, but delayed once. Fortunately, that was on a return trip from a Florida hunt, and by then my Mossberg 835 had already done its job on an Osceola longbeard. The real problem arose when the courier casually drove from Albany to Elizabethtown, up our 100-yard Adirondack driveway at 2:30 a.m. to deliver it. He learned I had more than the gun he was delivering, and I advised him he shouldn't make any middle-of-the-night deliveries in the 'Dacks.
Most airlines - and I know some hunters prefer some over others and flat-out won't fly specific airlines - are used to dealing with hunters and don't bat an eyelash when you show up with a hard gun case.
But it helps if you announce, "I have a firearm to check in," instead of saying, simply, "I have a gun." (See previous tarmac faceplant note.) Sometimes it even gets you moved to the front of the line.
Guns and bows fall under the airline baggage category of "sports equipment," and there are typically several basic regulations to follow to have them checked in smoothly (NOT as carry-on baggage, obviously):
firearms must be packed in a hard-sided case with a lock, and should be locked when presented to the airline for check-in. They'll ask you to unlock it for inspection, then re-lock it. It helps if you have the key or combination to the lock when you get to your hunting destination. I haven't made that mistake - yet.
some airlines allow you to pack your ammo - up to 11 pounds in most cases - in the same case. I generally take the cautious route and separate them, carrying the ammo in my checked-in luggage in its original container or another package of some type.
while my hard gun case is probably in the area of being labeled as "oversized," I've never been hit with an overside baggage fee. I might lobby my case - literally - if an airline tried to slap me with that charge, but not too vociferously (see previous tarmac faceplant notes).
a word about archery equipment. It's not treated quite as rigidly as firearms by most airlines, but I always request my bow be treated as a firearm, which allows me to lock things up after an inspection. That way no one is opening my case and then trying to jam my tight-fitting Mathews Z7 back into the case. No telling what might happen then. I've only had one agent balk at my request, and I think it was simply a product of laziness. He simply said, "they (TSA agents) won't open it." Fortunately, another airline worker quickly countered with, "Yes they will" and we got things resolved.
So I really don't have any horror stories when it comes to flying with firearms in tow. Maybe I've been lucky - and I'm jinxing myself ahead of a Kansas turkey hunting trip in April - or maybe it's been a product of planning and preparation. But half the time I get a casual question or two about where I'm headed and what I'm hunting or, on my return trip, whether I had any luck.
Kelly, I am planning my hunt in a hunt area that includes large tracts of private land. What do I need to do to hunt on private land?
A Great question-- it is critical to know if a hunt area is predominantly private land or has limited access to public lands before applying for a license. Approximately half of Wyoming is private land, and some public lands can only be reached by crossing private land. To cross private lands, permission must be obtained from landowners. Landowners have the right to control access to their lands and charge an access fee. Wyoming law requires that written permission or other proof of permission for access has been granted before one can hunt on private land.
The following tips should help minimize access problems:
Be familiar with the land ownership before applying for a license.
Make hunting arrangements with the landowner in advance of applying for a license.
Avoid the season opening day. Many landowners are full on opening day, but have vacancies later in the season.
Carry a good map and/or a GPS with landownership information. Maps showing public and private lands are available. It is a good idea to check with local land management agencies to see if land sales have changed the status of lands in your hunt area. The Hunt Planner, on the Game and Fish website, is a tool that hunters can use to look at private/public land status.
Know where you are. Wyoming law does not require landowners to post their property. It is the hunter's responsibility to know if the land is public or private.
Some county assessor's offices have landownership information on their county websites and chambers of commerce may be able to advise you of landowner names in surrounding hunt areas.Some private land is open for public access through either Walk-In Area orHunter Management Area programs.
Jennifer Doering, License Section Manager, is answering this week's question.
Q: Jennifer, I'm applying for a limited quota license in January. How will I get my refund in the spring if I don't draw?
A: Thanks for your interest in hunting in Wyoming in 2016. Game and Fish is working to simplify the refund process for hunters who are unsuccessful in the limited quota drawings.
This new method will mean that unsuccessful applicants will no longer receive refund warrants (a check from the State Auditor). Instead a credit will be applied back to the credit card that was used for the submission of the online application. This new approach should save time and money.
For the new process, please ensure the credit card used has an expiration date valid through the time period in which the drawing will be conducted. The last drawings are done in June. Game and Fish will issue refund warrants when the credit card is no longer valid for processing a credit back to the card.
Tentative draw results for nonresident elk and spring turkey will be available beginning Feb. 25, 2016.
With any Ask Game and Fish question please consult the 2015 hunting regulations for more specific information.
CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has launched an online tool to help hunters plan their upcoming 2016 Wyoming adventure. The tool known as the Big-Game Wyoming Hunt Planner, revolutionizes the area maps available for Wyoming and combines species-specific hunt information, drawing odds, license details, and harvest information.
"Wyoming Hunt Planner will be invaluable to hunters who are applying in January. This method of sharing hunt information is the first Game and Fish has been able to offer online. The planner responds to the needs and requests we have received from the public and should make it much easier to have an enjoyable, safe and successful hunt in 2016," said Scott Talbott, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Wyoming Hunt Planner, available on the Wyoming Game and Fish website, steps hunters through the process of preparing a hunt by outlining hunting needs and requirements. For each species, hunters can select their prospective hunt area from the map, and then dive into area-specific details. The maps, which are interactive, allow hunters to view land ownership details, overlay different species hunt areas, and soon will offer Wildlife Habitat Management Area and hunter management area locations. Hunters can also customize their own maps with pins and other information for later use on their desktop or mobile devices. Maps are available for download as GeoPDFs and KML files and are printable.
Each area also includes the most up to date, detailed season information. The planner synthesizes information on draw requirements/application deadlines, licenses needed, harvest information, and drawing odds. Hunters should note the information provided in Wyoming Hunt Planner is tentative, and are encouraged to read the finalized season information when approved in April.
"Wyoming Hunt Planner completely revamps the way hunters can prepare and allows hunters to find the best option to fit their goals with the interactive and customizable maps," said Chris Botkins, Wyoming Game and Fish webmaster. "We have taken public input and worked to make a user-friendly tool."
The launch includes information for antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, bison, and turkey.
Y Wyoming Game and Fish Department
5400 Bishop Blvd
Cheyenne WY 82006
The Colorado Division of wildlife is regarded as one of the best for their ability in managing the wildlife resources they have and they amount of research they do. They have devoted a large section in their website alone communicating what reserch they are currently doing and what is on the plate in the future.
They also provide hunter support and this sequence for helping hunters to understand how to hunt Elk is just another example of the effort they put into their resources and helping hunters be successful. Take the time to look and read thru this- very well done.
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