Ron Spomer

An overview of the TSA rules for flying with your hunting firearms, ammunition, and other hunting equipment

By Ron Spomer

They took my Swiss Army knife. They took my mini screwdriver repair kit. They even took my tweezers once. But they haven’t taken my guns yet, and if I pay attention and follow the rules, they hopefully never will.

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Tips and tricks to ensure your hunting guns arrive when you do.

By Ron Spomer

To my knowledge, firearms have not been used in the hijacking of an airliner in decades Sportsmen’s firearms checked as legal baggage have not been involved in any airline hijackings since—well, ever.

Nevertheless, traveling hunters face ever more strict regulations for flying with the tools of their trade. The rules continue to vary from airline to airline, country to country, check-in agent to check-in agent. As suggested before in this column, one is best prepared to fly firearms by getting complete, written rules and regulations that apply to one’s destination country/airline. One’s outfitter ought to provide this. For in-country flights, one should scour his/her airline’s website for its latest baggage rules/restrictions. Print out those rules in case you need backup at the check-in counter.

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How do you know if the guide who takes you on your dream hunt is any good?

By Ron Spomer

Have you ever been on an outfitted hunt where you suspected your guide had been the cook or maybe the wrangler the day before you showed up? Well, perhaps he had.

Turns out the title “guide” can be used rather loosely depending on where you hunt. In North America, there are no federal laws that define, test, or regulate hunting guides--and often no state or provincial regulations, either.

In other words, your guide could really have been the cook--or your outfitter’s brother-in-law, the local bartender, or some cowboy dragged in off the street. And it all would have been legal. Caveat emptor.

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Hunters have an obligation to make sure their game meat is cared for and used, even when hunting far from home.

By Ron Spomer

Once upon a time, a hunter hoisted his deer over a saddle and led the horse home proudly. Or he merely dragged it from the woods to shed or smokehouse. Then came decades of carrying game home on fenders and hoods, with the carcasses slowly cooking atop big Detroit motors.

Nowadays some of us are lucky enough to lay our game in the back of a cool pickup bed for the trip home, but, increasingly, many of us fly to our hunts, and that throws a wrench in the works. How do you get raw steaks, chops, ribs, and roasts from Alaska to Alabama?

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A hunt in the unspoiled British Columbia wilderness.

by Ron Spomer

A moose wallow will fool you, first time. It looks something like a whitetail scrape, just a muddy patch stinking of urine, sometimes with a track in it, more often smoothed by rolling shoulders. We found plenty of them in wet meadows and willow sloughs on the mountain flanks above camp. That first afternoon the British Columbia sun beamed happily, if uncharacteristically, on October woods, the willows already naked, the dwarf birches barely clinging to their last rusty leaves, the sedges yellow. It was late fall at this latitude, but the temperature suggested summer. It wouldn’t last.

“Lots of sign. Let’s try a call,” Dustin whispered. The twenty-two-year-old carried himself like a seasoned wilderness guide, but he looked like he should be dating someone’s teenage daughter.

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