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Thread: Commercial flight shipping archery equip?

  1. #1
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    Default Commercial flight shipping archery equip?

    Hey folks,

    I'm going on a once in a lifetime elk hunt down in Oregon this fall. I've never traveled with archery equipment before and I have some questions I hope to get answered. Any "lessons learned" from your adventures would also be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. How do I best send my bow? Should I just pack it in its hard case and check it or am I better off to Fedex/UPS it?
    2. I plan on bringing a sidearm (.357). Do I have to pack this seperately from the rest of my gear (on the plane that is, I know the federal regs on sending a firearm via USPS etc).
    3. I am thinking about packing all my hunting gear into a Stanley Tuff box and checking it as my luggage as this affords quite a bit of security to my equipment. Has anyone ever done something like this before?
    4. Should I carry on my electronics/optics?
    5. When (okay, if) I tag a super bull (fingers crossed!) how do I get the rack back? Can I send it on the plane or do I have to get it boxed and Fedex'd/UPS'd?

    I know that is a lot of questions but they are all kind of on the same subject. Any help on these issues would be super rad!!!

    Thanks a ton!!!

  2. #2

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    When I flew commercial air last year (Alaska to Hawaii) with my bow, I packed it in my hard-sided bow case and checked it as luggage. Admittedly, I have a cheap bow case so for extra protection I packed clothing inside the case so everything was snug. Whether your bow and case is 25 lbs or 45 lbs with additional items added (like clothing), you're paying the same amount as long as it's under 50 lbs total so pack extra stuff in the case to increase padding / protection. TSA opened the case with me present, looking briefly, then sent it through the scanning machine - no questions asked. I would not recommend the little TSA travel locks, they really provide no additional security. If you're worried about the latches on your case popping open, tape them shut.

    I don't know if your .357 has to be packed separately from your bow but I'm pretty sure it has to be separate from all other checked luggage and inside a locked case. Someone else will know better than I on that one.

    As for the Stanley Tuff box, that's a great idea. I see no problems going that route.

    For your optics and electronics (GPS, range finder) I'd strongly recommend packing those in your carry-on luggage. Ever look out the window of a plane and watch the baggage handlers load / unload a plane? Baggage gets tossed around pretty well, I wouldn't want my electronics going through that.

    For shipping antlers, check with the airlines as they generally have pretty specific regs on how antlers can be packaged and shipped. It may be cheaper to ship them UPS or FedEx. Regardless of who you go with, I'm pretty certain they'll require you to pad and tape all tine points. Some shippers require the antlers to be inside a box, which might not be so easy to find if you get that bull of a lifetime.

    Good luck,

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    When I traveled to Texas with my bow I checked it as baggage in a hard case. I placed my hand gun in the original hard case it came with and out it in my suit case and declared it. Don't skimp on your hard case for your bow. I bought a pretty nice one and the airlines was still able to break a corner but the bow was fine.

  4. #4
    Member Mort's Avatar
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    I made 3 or 4 trips with my bow in a Plano hard case before the airlines destroyed it to the point I had to "put it down." I've since bought a higher-end double case.

    I concur with the "pack extra soft stuff" around the bow. Secures it, and uses more of your allowable weight. On my last flight, the baggage checker sent my bowcase right down the chute instead of having me carry it to TSA, they cut my locks off and put the pieces in with the bow. Thankfully nothing was damaged by the shrapnel, and TSA used zip-ties to resecure it. You might consider those.

    It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway - make sure there is NO way for a knife or broadhead to get loose and come in contact with your string/cable!

    Have an awesome hunt!

  5. #5
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    Default thanks

    I appreciate the advice. I was already considering a lot of that.

  6. #6
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I last flew Alaska Airlines with both a hand gun and my bow. I used a PLANO type bow case for my bow, and a hand gun case for my pistol. Both went through the TSA special section to be checked for explosives/etc.. The TSA guy actually asked me to come into his work area and show him my Matthew's as he really wanted one like mine. Great experience for me. Made it home in perfect condition. For my handgun, I went to LOWES and bought a set of TSA approved locks and it worked great.

    I checked USPS, UPS, and FedX on shipping "after market". The cheapest price I got with a single bow case was over $75 one way. I chose the $25 excess baggage fee and was not disappointed.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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