Mia & the Little Gal: Mia Anstine shares tips on how to prepare for a hunting trip overseas.
LG and I dream of hunting abroad. In our downtime we chat about where we would like to go. Can you imagine how long the list is? We’ve all had those, “If I won the lottery” chats, right? The “where” question really isn’t the hard part because we’d be happy to see the entire world. That is, if money, safety and time weren’t issues. Now we just have to figure out how to get there.
LG and I chatted with a few of our friends who are experienced world travelers and accomplished hunters. Their answers about hunting abroad enlightened us.
Experience worldwide hunts
This advice comes from 5 women who have hunted Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, Australia and much of North America. These ladies have the world covered, as far as hunting experience goes.
How did you meet the guides you’ve hunted with?
Our friend, Stephanie Wottrich, president of the Austin chapter of Safari Club International (SCI), says she likes to meet guides and talk to them face-to-face at trade shows. She is able to ask a lot of questions and get a feel as to whether or not the hunt will suit her needs. More importantly, she can determine if the guide’s personality will be a match to hers.
Stephanie says she and her husband have purchased several hunts at conservation organizations’ fundraising auctions. LG and I like this idea because the money goes toward a good cause. With organizations like SCI, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and more, we should be able to find an event that fits our schedule.
Are there specific questions you asked before the hunt?
Danica Harker, field-staff member of Babes Bullets and Broadheads, recommends, “Ask what the laws are for traveling abroad with firearms or weapons. See how much ammunition you’re allowed to bring and how it should be packed. In addition to checking the country you’re traveling to, check the USA’s laws.”
Both Danica and Stephanie told LG and me to ask the guide or professional hunter about clothing to wear, in addition to what gear to bring. Surprisingly, some countries frown upon camouflage clothing because of terrain or other circumstances. You don’t want to arrive in an unknown country and feel uncomfortable.
Winchester’s Deadly Passion host, Melissa Bachman, told us to confirm arrangements for pick-up at the airport. Stephanie also reiterated this point. Stephanie’s group ended up stranded at an airport motel for a night, after weather changed their flight times. We added, “Get your outfitters cell phone number(s), if possible,” and add to the list.
How do you manage the amount, size and weight of your gear?
Norissa Haman and Jenifer Adams, owners of Girls with Guns Clothing, have been filming and hunting abroad for their upcoming TV show. They say luggage is definitely a struggle. “With guns, shooting sticks, laptops and camera equipment, it makes for several bags and a heavy load!” said Norissa and Jen. Choose carefully any equipment for traveling.
All 5 ladies told us to ask the airline and the outfitter if there will be weight limits. For example, if you will be flying in a helicopter or small airplane in New Zealand, your weight will be limited. Pack items to layer, and find out if there will be a place to wash clothes. Also, remember that when you shower, you can always quick wash and rinse out your hunting clothes.
Ammunition is heavy. Stephanie suggested going through a shooting course prior to the hunt. Be confident in your shooting, know how many animals you’ll be hunting, what caliber is recommended, and as Danica told us, “Know your limits.” Make sure to pack enough extra ammo to sight your gun in after it’s been banged around during travel.
Are there key questions female hunters should ask?
Melissa said, “Ask how they feel about guiding a woman or a child. You can tell a lot about them in the way they respond. If they don’t seem that interested, find someone who is.”
The ladies all said outfitters, guides and professional hunters make or break a hunting experience. Ask lots of questions. Go with your gut. If it doesn’t sound good, look for someone else.