I love this time of the year, hunting season. It reminds me of the arrival of Christmas when I was a youngster. There is nothing more exciting to me than the anticipation leading up to a hunt except for the hunt itself. I never get tired of this time of the year. I can’t imagine anyone who loves hunting not having the same feeling.
Nearly every year I try to plan a hunt or two out of state. Traveling by plane has always been a part of my life since I’ve become involved in the bowhunting industry. I have been fortunate to have hunted in many faraway places, out of town, out of state, and out of the country. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we could travel with two and sometimes three bags with no charge from the airlines. Those days have changed and I am sure in part because of 911. Nowadays, we’re lucky if we can travel with one bag and not have to pay for checking in that one bag. I find it hard to believe that the airlines aren’t already making money on their customers. Sometimes it’s just a nightmare traveling by air to some far-away place. It’s costly and often we’re on pins and needles waiting to see if our gear arrives with us.
When traveling out of state I have already spent a good amount of money on my hunt as well as any items I might need for the hunt. I’ve now made it a rule for myself to travel as light and simple as I possibly can, because if I don’t need something, I’m not going to take it and have to pay the airlines anything more than what I have already given them.
I now pack my bow, arrows, accessories and clothing all together in one case whenever it is possible. This takes care of two potential problems. I am not going to arrive at my final destination missing either my hunting equipment or my hunting clothing; they’ll both be there when I arrive. I know too that if I pack my bow case well, everything in the case will be in great shape on arrival. Let’s face it the airlines are not the best at handling yours or anyone’s baggage. I hate to say I don’t trust them, but I just don’t trust them to handle my gear, bow and all my accessories.
Here are a few ideas that might help you on your next out town hunt. Follow these simple rules and your gear will arrive where you’re going and in shooting condition.
In the last seven years I have traveled exclusively with a Lakewood Products Bowfile case, whenever I am hunting with my compound bow. I pack my bow, arrows and all my accessories in the Bowfile case. I also spend a little extra time folding my camo gear, yes folding my camo gear, to place in the bow case. This way I can pack a little more of my core and camo gear in strategic places around the bow. It also helps me to be a little better organized and knowing what is going into my case as I go through my check list. There will be no surprises once I arrive to my destination. This gives me two benefits; it allows me to pack most of my gear in the case, and it also gives extra rigidity to the case and additional protection to my hunting equipment, not to mention that I have all my hunting needs together. I usually wear my hunting boots to my destination which gives me extra space in my bow case for my hunting clothes.
Most airlines will allow for two carry-on bags when boarding the airplane, so I’m going to take advantage of that. I always carry my binoculars, camera and airline tickets in my daypack or camera bag, to insure that they are secure and arrive with me, not damaged in any way. In a small duffle or smaller daypack, I can always pack a few extra items or two that I wasn’t able to get into my bowcase. In that bag I can pack light and small gear from socks to a light jacket or sweat shirt. Surprising enough I am much better organized with all my gear now than I ever was in the past. Using a little ingenuity, you shouldn’t have any problems packing your bow or rifle case and your day packs with the gear you’ll need for an extended hunting trip.
Taking the extra time to pack your gear is going to be far less costly to you. It will give you a sense of relief that your gear is safe, secure, and that you will have your gear at your final destination. There is nothing worse than arriving at your fly-in destination to find that one of your bags are missing; either your bow or hunting clothes didn’t show up at the baggage claim. Now you’re in trouble!
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. I have had this happen to me and a few friends of mine over the years. One particular friend had taken a reputable airline and flew to Montana from Georgia. On his arrival he had only one bag show up on the conveyor belt, his bow, but not his hunting clothes, including jacket. When the airline had researched the location of his second bag he was told it had ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was detained in Great Falls for an additional day waiting for camouflage clothing. He stayed in a hotel over-night so that the airline could deliver his duffle bag when it arrived in Great Falls. It not only cost him much more money than he had anticipated, but he also lost a day of hunting. My friend now travels lite. It’s not to say that your single bag won’t get lost, but the odds of one bag not arriving at your final destination are far less than when traveling with two bags.
Whenever you’re traveling by air be sure to go lighter. Traveling light and flying with one check in bag will help to insure even better chances of your needed hunting gear to arrive at your destination along with you and it will cost you less. It might prevent any missed hunting time if you travel lighter and will reduce the chances of the airlines sending a bag to another state far from your hunting destination.
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