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Flying with Hunting Gear and Firearms

Can I fly with Hunting Gear and Firearms

Man looking through binoculars while hunting

Flying With Hunting Gear, Guns and Weapons

If you're looking to fly with your hunting gear, fishing equipment, guns, or other weapons, our handy guide will help you understand what you can and cannot take with you on your travels...

Hunting gear

Flying with Hunting Gear

It’s really important to understand that flying with hunting gear will take time to prepare, due to very strict airport security measures regarding particular dangerous and hazardous items. In the USA, you will not be permitted to carry guns or weapons onto the flight, so your weapons will need to be safely packed with your checked luggage.

Do I need to declare hunting gear when checking in?

Yes, it is highly recommended that you do declare your hunting gear when checking in.

Hunting gear must be declared to the airport agent when you check in. If your hunting equipment needs to be inspected by security, make sure to provide them with the key or combination to open the package, making sure that after it is inspected, that it is carefully and correctly closed and locked. If the security agent asks for any other information, such as permits to own the hunting gear, specific plans, and permits, make sure to provide what is requested. Remember when being questioned to be polite and courteous - the security agent is doing their job to ensure that all passengers are safe.

Flying With Firearms

What are the rules for flying with a gun?

Each airline will have their own policies about flying with guns and ammunition, and they will vary depending on which airline you are flying with. Make sure to contact the airline in advance to confirm that what you are planning to bring with you is allowed on your flight.

It is always important to ensure that you comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms - for where you are travelling from, to, and also the countries or states that you will be stopping at if your flight is not a non-stop flight. Laws concerning possession of firearms will vary by locality, county, state, and international government.

Always make sure that if you are travelling internationally, that the customs and border protection for the countries you travel to and from are contacted so that you can ensure that you comply to packing requirements and documentation requirements.

Each firearm will need to be declared each time it is presented for transport as checked baggage. There may be limitations or fees concerning transportation of guns and other equipment, so make sure that you have checked with the airline(s) which you are travelling with for information on this.

Each firearm must be unloaded and locked and contained within a hard-sided container. They need to be transported as checked baggage only. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination of the lock unless airport security personnel request to inspect the item to ensure compliance with regulations.

Parts of firearms, such as clips, magazines, firing pins, and bolts, are prohibited in carry-on luggage and must be transported as checked baggage. Replica firearms, including toys, must also be transported as checked baggage only.

Rifle scopes are permitted in both carry-on and checked luggage.

Flying With Ammunition

Are bullets and other ammunition allowed on planes?

US TSA guidelines prohibits ammunition as carry-on baggage, but it can be transported as checked baggage.

Empty and loaded magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included in a hard-sided box accompanying an unloaded firearm. If ammunition is considered as small arms ammunition, it may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm.

For travel to and from countries outside of the United States of America, it is always recommended that passengers who wish to transport firearms have consulted the airport security for all airports before travelling.

Flying With Bows And Archery Equipment

For flying with bows and archery equipment, as with flying with hunting equipment, firearms and ammunition, it is recommended that passengers check with the airline that they are flying with for the most up-to-date and relevant to them information.

In the USA, bows and arrows are not permitted as carry-on luggage, and should be checked in with sharp objects sheathed and securely wrapped to prevent injury to handlers and security screeners.

Tips for flying with bow and arrows:

  • Use a good case
  • Make sure that your bow is secured inside the case
  • Be polite and cooperative if asked security staff ask questions about what is in the case and when asked to open the case for inspection
  • For US residents travelling outside of the country, it is recommended that your bows are registered with US Customs and Border Protection

Flying With Fishing Equipment

As with most irregular baggage and sports equipment, it is worth contacting the airline in advance to see what is acceptable and the best and recommended ways to pack fishing items. This will be dependant on the airline you are travelling with, and potentially the countries to which you are travelling.

The TSA in the USA declares that “Small hooks for fly fishing or fresh water hooks are acceptable” in carry-on luggage, but “deep sea fishing hooks” are forbidden. They also state: “Fishing equipment should be placed in checked baggage. Some tackle is sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as flies should be packed in your carry-on baggage.”

With regards to fishing tools, those less than 7 inches in length, including forceps and line snips, are allowed as carry on. Scissors and knives are only permitted in checked baggage.

Clothing such as boots, gloves, and waders can be packed as carry on.

Flying With Game, Meat, Seafood, And Other Perishable Items

If you have been on a hunting or fishing trip, it is part of the process to bring your meat home with you. Whether it’s fresh, or frozen, it is important to understand what the limitations are on transporting your catch home.

Can I bring fresh meat on a plane?

When travelling between countries in the EU, you are permitted to transport meat products with no weight limits with you.

When flying to and from other countries, the rules are very different and will depend on the origin country, destination country, and any that you may visit in between on a layover. It is always recommended to check with your airline, alongside the local customs and excise departments of origin and destination countries.

Can I bring frozen meat on a plane?

Passengers are usually permitted to transport frozen meat on the plane, subject to restrictions of the origin and destination countries. However, if the frozen meat is packed with ice or ice packs, they must be completely frozen through when taken through airport screening.

It is recommended that those who wish to take frozen meat (such as game) with them on the plane check with the airline for the most up-to-date and relevant information for them.

Read more about flying with meat and other prohibited items on our prohibited items blog.

Fishing rod on edge of boat

Travelling With Hunting Gear And Weapons Checklist

- Always check with the airline(s) you are flying with to confirm what you can and cannot bring with you on an aircraft, and also to check that what you do plan to bring is permitted.
- When travelling internationally, make sure to check that you are in compliance with the rules of the destination country before you travel.
- Always be polite and compliant with airport security staff.
- Make sure to check with airline staff where you need to pick up your hunting gear from baggage reclaim as there may be a special area for large/unique pieces of luggage.
- Ensure your equipment is insured for travel.
- Make sure that your hunting gear/equipment are packed correctly and compliant with international travel guidelines.
- Always travel with all of your permits, plans, and other documentation needed for travelling with hunting gear and related items.

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