Travel_tipsAfter having several boxes of ammo hoisted from my bags by clueless TSA agents over the years and more recently, dealing with the hassles of traveling with tons of hunting gear and usually a firearm, I thought it was a good time to bring back this oldie, but goody from the NWTF.

If you plan to fly this season to hunt, check them out:

Be early – Airlines are telling the average flyer to arrive one to two hours before takeoff. If you are traveling with a firearm, it will be to your advantage to arrive sooner. When checking in, you will need to fill out a form declaring the firearm is unloaded. Gate agents will open your gun case for verification.

Call ahead – Rules concerning firearms can change quickly. Ask for the rules when you book your trip, and call back a few days before you leave to ensure nothing has changed.

Open your mouth – Declare the firearm to the first TSA representative you see. When you declare, call it a firearm, not a gun or weapon. Those words can cause unease, which may mean delays for you.

Use a hard case – Airlines require that firearms be transported in the original manufacturer’s non-cardboard box or in an approved lockable hard case. Have the key ready since you will need to unlock and relock it during check-in.

Check the extras – Knives, ammunition and tools must be stored separate from the firearm and packed in checked luggage. Any sharp objects packed in checked luggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and security screeners. Airlines have different regulations on how much ammunition can be carried and most require you to transport it in its original packaging. Any amount above the allotted weight will cost extra. Check with your airline for specific restrictions.

Know the laws – Before heading out, read up on the firearms laws for the area that you are traveling, especially if you plan to leave the country. Countries like Canada and Great Britain require documents months before entering the country with a firearm.

Be responsible – Every time you are out with a firearm, you become a representative of the shooting sports. Follow gun safety to the max and prove that responsible owners are a danger to no one.