Flying with your hunting gear doesn't need to be a pain.
To find out more about booking your hunting or fishing trip, check out Fin & Field.
Have you ever been hesitant to book a hunting trip if you knew you would need to take a flight? Chances are it is easier than you think to fly with your hunting gear. Yes, even firearms.
Always check with TSA before you show up at the airport with your hunting gear. You also need to make sure you know the applicable laws at your destination; bringing a weapon that is banned at your final destination is asking for trouble. For example, it's illegal in New York City to bring a gun to the airport or leave the airport with one.
To help you out, we've put together a handy reference guide that covers most of the gear you'd want to bring on a hunting trip. It's not all-inclusive, and rules are different depending on where you go. Make sure you've covered all bases, and it should be smooth sailing no matter where you travel.
All you need to do is declare that you are checking in a firearm to the gate agent, and you will likely be asked to present it to TSA. Then you need to fill out a form. Thats it!
Your firearm must be unloaded and stowed in hard-sided and locked case. For firearms, do NOT use a TSA lock.
If you are bringing a bow, the lock SHOULD be a TSA-approved lock. Remember this, it's odd that they require it that way, but worth designating to memory.
Bullets must also be declared when you check in. Store them in the same container with your firearm if it is convenient.
The same rules apply to arrows, all shotgun shells and other calibers up to .75. A tip for archers: don't attach broadheads until you arrive at your destination, and don't even assemble them. Broadheads can tear up a lot of gear fast.
For the muzzleloader crowd, keep in mind that gun powder, black powder, primer, and percussion caps are all prohibited.
Knives and Tools
TSA doesn't allow you to carry on any knives, even a pocket knife. On the other hand, tools like pliers can be carried on if they are under seven inches in total length (and scissors must have blades under 4?).
Any time you fly it's best to keep all important papers with you at all times. IDs, passports, itinerary, etc. Having those in hand can help you get out of a jam if something goes wrong. Handle anything unexpected patiently and calmly, it will get you further with airline employees.
Remember, you can carry on rifle scopes, spotting scopes, and binoculars. These are expensive and delicate and may fare much better in your possession.