New US Customs policy pertaining to bows & arrows for hunting

Nick Ziegler

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My wife and I just returned from a hunt with Limcroma. (still need to do a report but 5 star) We brought her crossbow along for her and I just rented a rifle. When we got to customs in Atlanta they said as stated that we must wait to be cleared. Thank God that we had a long layover because it took a good 30 minutes of standing around prior to then letting anyone with a bow come through and open up the cases. They did not spray any archery equipment but made a big deal that I needed my boots sprayed. We never mentioned my wife's boots and she just walked through. I felt bad for some guys who were waiting on rifles. likely took a good amount of time
 

StickFlicker AZ

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leslie hetrick

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was over in Africa in may for 11 days, leaving via philly to Qatar then to joeberg, as I rent(cost, a dinner) a friends rifles in Africa, I miss the firearm import-export BS. I also take extra cloths and boots over and give them away to the trackers when I leave and only come back with two changes of cloths, none worn in the bush at all. I only had the same checks as regular travelers

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Hogpatrol

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was over in Africa in may for 11 days, leaving via philly to Qatar then to joeberg, as I rent(cost, a dinner) a friends rifles in Africa, I miss the firearm import-export BS. I also take extra cloths and boots over and give them away to the trackers when I leave and only come back with two changes of cloths, none worn in the bush at all. I only had the same checks as regular travelers
How was the Qatar Airline flight relative to room and comfort versus the Delta clunkers? I'm doing that route next May.
 

leslie hetrick

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i have used them two times and have been satisfied, good food and free booze(if wanted). in may the tickets were 954.00 round trip from philly. seats were just about like other air line in ec.
 

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I flew back from New Zealand last April with two bows and some arrows that probably were not clean. (Shot a bunch of goats and fallow does) Never checked anything in customs. Checked like crazy going into NZ however.
 
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crs

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Leslie,
Good move with the clothes. That reduces hassle and benefits the trackers.
 

bruceb

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Is there any new info on this topic as it relates to ATL?
Can you avoid this hassle by packing your archery equipment in a well padded rolling duffle with all your clothes? Are they just looking for obvious bow or gun cases?
 

StickFlicker AZ

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As of my trip last August, through Atlanta, the process was pretty much identical as described in the original post. The only minor change was that they took the hunters as they were ordered in line, not necessarily bows first. They also did not wait until they had received all cases from the flight before starting. I had to allow a number of people that were behind me in line (many with rifles and I had a bow) to go into the room in front of me because their cases showed up before mine arrived. They will also ask you about any shoes you may have that were worn in Africa and they'll treat them with a bacteria-killing disinfectant. It was a pretty simple process not too unlike what they used to do back in about 2008. I would recommend thoroughly cleaning any arrows/broadheads that were actually used on an animal before putting them in your luggage. If you leaned a rifle or bow against a kill, also check it for any blood before packing it for the return trip. Last year the Africa flights were only about half full, so this didn't take that long. This year the planes are filling up, so there will be more people to process.

My friend and his son's bow cases came out just across the aisle from the glass room, I believe in oversized luggage, so they didn't have to go through the process. So, yes, if you use a rolling duffle or otherwise have luggage that isn't obviously a bow or gun, you may be able to avoid this. The Line to the glass room is only about 25 yards from oversized luggage, so two of you could watch both places and be within sight of each other to communicate.
 

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I went on United out of Newark to Joberg last September 2021. We had two crossbows in cases. Both were checked in as oversized luggage and put in a special area. No inspection here, there, or anywhere. I was told that crossbows were handled like luggage. No special handling was done at any time.
 

firehuntfish

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Is there any new info on this topic as it relates to ATL?
Can you avoid this hassle by packing your archery equipment in a well padded rolling duffle with all your clothes? Are they just looking for obvious bow or gun cases?

We packed our bows in a drop-bottomed duffle for this most recent trip to Africa and it worked out well. Assuming the duffle is normal size, it come out in the general baggage carousel.

We have been packing our bows this way for the past few years now, and it works great for hassle-free travel anywhere. I recommend getting a high quality duffle if you decide to do this. We remove the sights from the bows and I wrap the bow itself with a piece foam A/C pipe insulation. I also zip-tie a 6" section of 2" PVC pipe vertically to the riser near the handle so the rest is protected from getting crushed. You can pack a piece of egg crate foam over the top or use clothing for added protection. The bows have come out in great shape in over a half-dozen trips or so..

To add to @StickFlicker AZ 's information, I also recommend getting Global Entry for international travel. Instead of going through customs in person, you scan your passport in via a kiosk and walk right in avoiding the inspection lines, the equipment spraying etc.,. I have two of these bags below and they have held up extremely well.

Redhead dufel bag.jpg
 

bruceb

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We packed our bows in a drop-bottomed duffle for this most recent trip to Africa and it worked out well. Assuming the duffle is normal size, it come out in the general baggage carousel.

We have been packing our bows this way for the past few years now, and it works great for hassle-free travel anywhere. I recommend getting a high quality duffle if you decide to do this. We remove the sights from the bows and I wrap the bow itself with a piece foam A/C pipe insulation. I also zip-tie a 6" section of 2" PVC pipe vertically to the riser near the handle so the rest is protected from getting crushed. You can pack a piece of egg crate foam over the top or use clothing for added protection. The bows have come out in great shape in over a half-dozen trips or so..

To add to @StickFlicker AZ 's information, I also recommend getting Global Entry for international travel. Instead of going through customs in person, you scan your passport in via a kiosk and walk right in avoiding the inspection lines, the equipment spraying etc.,. I have two of these bags below and they have held up extremely well.

With regards to the new checked bags requirement listed above you have not had any issues with this bag at checkin?
 

firehuntfish

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With regards to the new checked bags requirement listed above you have not had any issues with this bag at checkin?
Are you referring to the checked bag requirements for OR Tambo as outlined in Stickflicker's SCI screen shots?

The bags I use are drop-bottomed, rolling duffels with hard sides on the bottom section and a hard, flat bottom. They are in complete compliance with the current baggage requirements at OR Tambo. Soft duffle bags that do not have any internal support structure and without hard, flat bottoms are the ones they are restricting.
 

SikaMDhunter

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I went on United out of Newark to Joberg last September 2021. We had two crossbows in cases. Both were checked in as oversized luggage and put in a special area. No inspection here, there, or anywhere. I was told that crossbows were handled like luggage. No special handling was done at any time.
How is that flight? Thinking of taking it as a direct flight to save on hassle.
 

archer36

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It was great. I don't know if it's still offered.
 

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