Bear trouble with TSA in Ketchikan



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  • Bear trouble with TSA in Ketchikan

    Just a heads up to anyone bear hunting and dealing with TSA in Ketchikan. I just returned from a successful bear hunt on POW.
    Check in for the return flight was uneventful and we watched as all of our bags and coolers cleared the TSA machine. When seated and nearly ready for take-off, both of us who had containers with bear hides were paged and told to get all of our carry on items and exit the plane. All I was told was that I would likely miss my flight and that TSA needed to see me. We had to exit the security area and return to the TSA area to get any information as to the problem.
    I was told that they were required to examine the hides and the owner had to be present. He stated that they could not x-ray through the fat of the hides and that I would not be allowed to touch, but only witness the TSA examination. My father was told that TSA could not touch the hides and WE would have to open the frozen hides for their examination. After TSA's inept attempt to cut open the tape, we were requested to do it for them and they provided us with box cutters to do it. Incidentally, we were not allowed to do this inside the building, but were taken outside into the sidewalk/parking area in the rain. After opening the hides as best we could, TSA was satisfied and we were released to be searched through security and then our carry-ons torn apart manually as well before allowing us back. Luckily the plane was held and we did make it.

    Before allowing the cooler opening, I asked as to where in the rules this was and was told it was there and it was posted everywhere. I have spoken with several Alaska air employees who had not heard of this and Spoke with a local TSA agent in moline,IL about it . Her statement was that the idea of not being able to scan due to fat was ridiculous and that there was no rule whatsoever requiring this.
    As a veterinarian, I also know that anything metallic (including sealing tags) would show easily through fat and my hide had less fat than most dogs I examine.

    I have to wonder what was the real reason for the hassle and if anyone else has to deal with them, allow a lot of time. Remember, our coolers went through the machine and we were recalled about 30 min. later.

    Has anyone else had similiar problems??


  • #2
    I hope you got their names. If it were me I'd call the TSA director for AK and register a complaint with DHS
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today


    • #3
      You need to follow-up

      You need to definitely follow-up on this matter. Was it a few TSA agents with an "ax to grind"? Or some mis-interpreted rule by a supervisor?
      The rules need to be clarified so we all know what is to be expected.
      Please follow-up and let us know. I have experienced both sides of this situation.


      • #4
        Transportation Sturmabteilung= Incompetent welfare to work pukes that escaped natural selection.

        I would complain as high up the foodchain as I possibly could. However, I wouldn't count on it being satisfactorily resolved.
        Now what ?


        • #5
          Look at the big picture

          I know it was a hassle but stop a minute and look at it as the big picture. These people are just simply trying to do there best to keep everyone Safe. I'm not saying that you are someone who wants to inflect harm to our country or the people who live with the freedom we have. There are allot of people in this world who do and allot of them live right here in the U.S. and they do there best to blend into the crowd and look like everyone else.
          I'm not entirely sure The X-ray machines can or can not see through fat and muscle tissue but if they had doubt's I'm personally glad they decided to take the extra time to ensure safety of your flight. The Terrorist have changed our way of life and the minute we let our guard down they will strike again and they are continually changing they tactics to get the jump on the American people. It is very difficult to defend against something or someone who you don't know who, what where or when,
          Sorry to go on but once and while it's a good reminder and if you get a chance to watch the movie "Flight 93" as we come up on the 5th year after 9/11 I hope everyone will have a better understanding of why things have changed.

          Thank You.

          U.S. Military Member helping with the war on Terrorism


          • #6


            I must respectfully, but completely, disagree with you. According to MFH, there was at least a half-hour between his coolers going to the tender mercies of the Travel Nazis and the TN's response. Why did not the Travel Nazis respond immediately to their scanning of the coolers where "they couldn't see through the fat" instead of waiting for half an hour?

            When I look at the big picture I see a complete reversal of the American ideal of innocent until proven guilty and protection under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. When I look at what I know about this individual incident, either the original searcher was incompetent or the Travel Nazis simply felt the need to harrass a hunter.
            He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.


            • #7
              I had the EXACT same thing happen to me in 2003 in KTN except I was told to do it before I got through security. Had to take the frozen bear out on the sidewalk and pry it open. Same story about the xray. I was teed off because now I smelled like bear fat.

              I doubt any complaining will help, probably the opposite effect. You explicitly give them the right to physically and absolutely inspect all checked and carry on items, your firearm is a little bit of an exception because you have the right to be present for that inspection. The others you don't. They could rip open the bear themselves or have you do it. Heck they even have the right to do body searches. People miss flights all the time due to security delays.


              • #8
                Its all in the power.

                I asked my wife who is a x-ray technologist and supervisor at her clinic for 26 years. It all depends on the power capabilities of the machine. It boils down to enough power to penetrate layers of fat, hair or meat for that matter.
                The machines' power is measured in milliamps and kilovoltage. The amount of x-rays you get at the clinic are determined by what part of the body you are filming. It talkes more "power" to x-ray your lower back than the radius bone in your arm. It all depends on how much you are "shooting" through. She says overweight people need more x-rays to penetrate their layers of fat. The x-rays have to penetrate the entire thickness of the "package" inorder to show what the object is. The image receptors on the table, below the person have to receive the rays and project them onto the viewing screen.

                Not knowing the power capabilities of the machine, which she assumes is a secret, you may or may not see a hidden handgun inside a rolled up bear hide.
                If you are bent on causing a problem, you may ask what good is a pistol in the cargo hold of a plane anyway?

                The more layers of fat, meat and hair make it harder for a x-ray machine to penetrate the layers to "see" a metal object. She did say that the machine may have capabilities to "power up" but that the operators may not know what they can and cannot do.

                I can say that my 45# plastic tote of frozen sheep meat was cut open in the Anchorage Airport this August. I could tell that the tape had been cut and not put back as secure as I had it. TSA also put their brochure inside my tote.

                But pulling you off a plane to open your bear hide tote/cooler doesn't make sense.
                When you check that baggage through you are giving the airline and the TSA implied consent to search your baggage without damaging anything.

                Considering what Alaska generates for sportsmen, does TSA open every frozen box of fish, game meat or hides? Thats got to be something they should have protocol for or you would be hearing more stories about similar situations. Or, where you "profiled"?

                I would still follow up - maybe with Alaska Air to see what really happened there.

                Let us know.


                • #9
                  I will definitrely try to get clarification as to if this is policy or not. I did not have a problem that they examined the hide, but rather the time lag, the hassle with security and the lying about the reason for needing to do so. If it is policy, then fine, but make sure we are all aware of it.

                  As to the xray issue, I decided to check for myself. I xrayed both a bag of salmon and a bear hide, with the skull and foot bones still attached. I added several items to see if I could find them. I added a roll of tape, coins, syringes a paperclip and staples with some ammunition. I found that the fish was easier to see through, but the "fat" on the bear had no effect at all. The skin itself did make it more difficult to see the plastic syringes and the tape, but metal is absolutely not an issue. In fact, the numbers and printing on the sealing tags are readable.

                  One thing that does make the reading more difficult is the dirt/sand/gravel that gets picked up while skinning. There were even nuimerous metallic grains of sand visible, probably iron.

                  If anyone is curious, I could take a pic of the xray and post it so you can see. (I would need instructions for posting)

                  I will post anything that i find out from tsa.



                  • #10
                    Yeah, I'm sure the terrorists are planning to hide high explosives on a Ketchikan flight in a bunch of brown bear hides. This is just job security for the jackboot scum.


                    • #11
                      I heard about this happening to you from my girlfriend. She was standing at the door when you had to open the coolers. Sorry to hear that this caused you so much trouble. I've seen this happen back in 04 aswell. A gentleman had to come and open his cooler for the TSA rep to see the hide. Just doesn't make since....being we have all this technology to beable to see almost anything within something. Good luck on your quest to find answers.


                      • #12
                        Apology Accepted

                        Originally posted by stevelyn View Post
                        Transportation Sturmabteilung= Incompetent welfare to work pukes that escaped natural selection.

                        I would complain as high up the foodchain as I possibly could. However, I wouldn't count on it being satisfactorily resolved.
                        Excuse me for taking this personal but........

                        For one my father is a Tsa employee.
                        For two he is not an incompetent puke!
                        For three after serving as a police officer he owned and operated an oil heat buisness for 25 years. Now he works Tsa as a retirement to stay busy.

                        For four tsa employees Must follow a Strict set of rules set forth by YOUR Govt. Furthermore They are only as good as the screening equip. that is supplied to them by YOUR govt.
                        Fifth any Lack of training to these employees is most likely do Do too YOUR, AND OUR govts. lack of proper budgeting to support propper training or equipment.
                        Sixth with an attitude like yours no wonder you got extra screening.

                        Last until your brain is as big as your mouth you should not speak.
                        BTW he does not work in KTN.


                        • #13
                          Don't take it personal, but TSA is a useless fedgov agency that does nothing to enhance the safety of the flying public. They are eyewash, window dressing, they perform an illusion to make the bleating sheep feel good.
                          Now what ?


                          • #14
                            For what its worth +1 for what stevelyn said.
                            I couldent have said it better myself.
                            I travel to and from south America every 2 weeks still fighting Reagans war on drugs.
                            What I see we have lost in freedom the last few years under the excuse of airline security is a shame.
                            Most of the changes are driven by fear and fueled by the same.
                            And what Magnum man said:

                            Sixth with an attitude like yours no wonder you got extra screening.

                            Is part of the problem as well. Any resistence will be delt with severly, like swating a fly with a sledge hammer.



                            • #15
                              I was so wrong to doubt the courage of TSA employees. They are after all only trying to protect us from the very real threat posed by bear hunters in rural Alaska and their so-called "hides". What are they hiding in those hides, I wonder? Probably a whole cadre of suicide squirrels!


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