Tips on Flying

skinnyjk

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Dec 20, 2014
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Winesburg, OH
Hey guys, I'm debating whether to drive or fly on my upcoming hunting trip to Idaho. We'll log over 4,000 miles if we drive, but have never flown with guns, also is it difficult to ship the meat or rather how expensive. Thanks for any help you can give us, there would be two of us.
 

Greywolf18

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Dec 18, 2008
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New Bern, NC
Flying with guns is not bad at all. I just did it this past fall from NC to Montana. All I did was show up and declare it. You sign a little piece of paper saying it's unloaded (I take the bolt out completely so there's no question), throw that paper in the case, lock it back up, and off it goes. Some airports hold rifle cases and you have to go to the customer service area and they verify your ID and ticket number to ensure it matches. I personally like that because it ensures no one is walking off with my stuff. The ammo doesn't go in the case with the rifle, but rather in your other checked bag. I've flown with guns a few times and it's never been nearly as bad as I thought. Worst part is having to pay for the 2nd checked bag lol

I've only used Pelican cases and can't recommend them enough. Every time I've flown with a rifle in one, I get to my destination, go to verify nothing got knocked out of place, and the first shot has been dead center every time. I know there's horror stories out there, but on the 3-4 times I've done it with the rifles in pelican cases I've never had an issue.

I don't know about the meat part because I was unsuccessful.
 

Timber338

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I have a hunting buddy who flies out to colorado every year to elk hunt with me. The upside is he saves so much time compared to the 2-day drive, the downside is meat management and transportation and ultimately $$$$.

Once he is out here, I am his transportation, so that is not a big deal. If you don't have a friend that lives there, you've gotta rent a 4wd truck/suv.

When you fly you are limited on gear. We backpack hunt, so he has his frame pack filled with all of his gear and also checks his rifle case. His carry on is filled with regular clothes to wear before/after the hunt. He is maxed out with what he can carry.

Then he shoots an elk, we bring it back to my house and butcher it ourselves in a day, straight into my deep freezer. Takes a full day to get frozen solid, then I have two spare coolers that he packs the meat into... then flying home he has to pay extra baggage fees to get it home. Fees get even higher if the coolers weigh over 50#'s each, which they often do.

Couple years ago he did not have time to butcher his elk after the hunt, and we took it to a butcher. he flew home, and I had to pick the meat up for him, box all of it up into a special foam-lined box, and next-day air the huge box out to him. With the butchering fees, special box and shipping it was darn near close to $1,000 to get the meat back to him... and impossible if I were not out here.

I have personally flown with a rifle dozens of times and never had a problem. I do not see that as any type of problem.
 

Wingnut

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Jun 22, 2007
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Burlington WY
Flying with firearms is easier than most think these days. Allow a little more time to get checked in at the airport, and always insure, just in case. I fly to a number of hunts every year and have found that the most economical way to get the meat back is to purchase coolers at the location, allow for an extra day at the location to freeze the meat, and check the coolers as luggage. I have shipped in the past and it is extremely expensive for expedited shipping for that amount of weight. Although checked bag prices are going up it is still cheaper. Good luck!!
 

Timber338

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Colorado
Flying with firearms is easier than most think these days. Allow a little more time to get checked in at the airport, and always insure, just in case. I fly to a number of hunts every year and have found that the most economical way to get the meat back is to purchase coolers at the location, allow for an extra day at the location to freeze the meat, and check the coolers as luggage. I have shipped in the past and it is extremely expensive for expedited shipping for that amount of weight. Although checked bag prices are going up it is still cheaper. Good luck!!

What is your process to freeze the meat, or even butcher the meat, when you've flown somewhere to hunt? Always curious to hear how other guys are doing it.

Completely agree that buying the the coolers at location and baggage fees on an airplane is MUCH cheaper than having the meat sent expedited shipping. Just not sure how you would butcher/freeze the meat when you are at location. None of the butchers near me have that fast of a turn-around time.
 

T3-OleMan

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Jan 3, 2009
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GSP, SC, USA
I agree on the flying with firearms not a problem. I would contact the air carrier and see how many plane changes your coolers will make to get to your home 20, AND can they have DRY ICE in them? That is what would bother me.....if it is lost ..... is the meat spoiled? And, if you don't have a BUD that lives there I would not do it for sure. I also drive 4,000 + miles every year. Good luck.gun)
 

Timber338

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Coolers cannot have dry ice in them to fly. But I don't think it's necessary. Even with a cheap cooler, meat that has been frozen in a deep freezer, will stay frozen for over 24 hours.

You have to sign a waiver saying the airlines is NOT responsible for lost or spoiled meat.

I don't think it's as risky if you have a direct flight... a flight with connections would definitely make me nervous, an many times if you're flying somewhere to hunt, it's not near a large airport and you're going to have to make a connecting flight to reach the smaller airports.
 

Packrat 6

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May 1, 2014
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Arizona
Hey guys, I'm debating whether to drive or fly on my upcoming hunting trip to Idaho. We'll log over 4,000 miles if we drive, but have never flown with guns, also is it difficult to ship the meat or rather how expensive. Thanks for any help you can give us, there would be two of us.

If you are driving, be sure to check the state laws on how you can carry your rifles in the car or truck for every state you cross. Almost got myself in a bind because didn't check a state law and had 40 rounds of competition match ammo in the same case as the rifle. (Pelican 1750 case)

Cop was sympathetic, or would have had an impounded rifle and the only reason I was stopped was my Washington Plates. He knew about the competition though, so let it slide. As i remember, that was Illinois or maybe Indiana. Some Northern Midwest, and Eastern States are particularly bad! AND if taking a Pistol, be very careful to check out the laws! Not so bad in the western states, but you do need to check the laws on transporting. Stay out of New Jersey totally with a Pistol!

Packrat
 

Rick Richard

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Jan 7, 2014
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North Carolina
Check the TSA rules. You can pack ammo in the same case as your firearm. Also, the rules states the case has to be locked. I had an issue with a Delta agent who said you must have more than one lock. Again, not true per the rules, but almost cost me a delayed flight.

Another good idea is to carry a copy of the TSA rules with you in the event you have an agent who is not too knowledgable of the rules.
 

idaho elk hunter

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May 7, 2013
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Elkhorn Idaho
I live here in Elk Country Idaho. Have you ever harvested a Elk? Do you know how much that would cost to fly it home? Bring some money, and it will not be for beer.

No Republican states will give you problems for transporting a firearm in your vehicle unloaded.

Democratic states could give you problems with firearms so they need to be loaded and mounted on a operating turret on the roof top of the operating vehicle , sited in perfectly for the exact yardage and wind factor. Democrats are sometimes hard to hit.

I would suggest a magnum load on Elk and Democrats.:D
 

Varmint Hunter

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Long Island, New York
Either method has its drawbacks. I chose to drive my truck and trailer from NY to Northern Idaho so that we could bring plenty of gear in and (hopefully) get a few elk out. We drove around the clock when we started but that grew old fast. Some of the guys couldn't stand to be in the truck more than 12hrs/day despite the fact that you could recline on the air mattress in the back.
When you add all the hotel bills and all the restaurant bills to the $2,000 we spent for gas you begin to rethink your decision to drive. And that doesn't factor in the significant amount of time lost on the road.
I'd be inclined to fly the next time and be willing to ship back only a portion of the meat.

Either way there isn't a perfect solution.
 

Timber338

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Colorado
So not counting cost of either flying or driving... If you fly how would you butcher and freeze the elk/deer in time to make your flight home?

Most butcher shops take several days to a week, or how would you butcher/freeze the animal yourself??
 
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