Dear Writing Huntress,
My husband surprised me for our fifth anniversary with an elk-hunting trip in Colorado, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. The only problem is getting there. I’m planning on flying with my compound bow, but I’m not sure how to pack it or how to go through security with it. Is there a certain case I need to buy? Will my bow get damaged? Should the case have locks?
Journeying to elk joy
Color me jealous! What an amazing way to spend your anniversary! Props to your husband for “bringing out the big guns” and ringing in half a decade with an elk adventure.
Flying, as everyone is well aware now, is full of security measures, and bows are a precious part of every archery aficionado’s gear; combine the 2 and you’re entering interesting waters. Fear not, airlines as well as bow case companies, make it easy and safe to transport your equipment.
North Dakota’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents are a friendly bunch, especially since our airports generally have 3 gates, not many patrons and even less interested people with which to converse. Hence, many a TSA agent has seemed to enjoy partaking in discussions about life, liberty and the pursuit of safe aviation enjoyment.
Recently, I ventured to my hometown of Rochester, N.Y., via my new homestead in north central North Dakota. The seasoned traveler that I am, I perpetually have my ducks in a row when approaching security; they all stand in perfect order, no quacking, flapping of the wings or impatiently stamping of webbed feet. Therefore, I generally have time to engage the TSA agents in conversation.
During this trip, I was patted down thoroughly before being passed to a gentleman with a hand swab. While he checked my hands, I asked him about transporting archery equipment.* He told me, quite obviously, that there is no wielding of bows onboard the aircraft. He advised that I buy a hard case with a locking mechanism and check my bag to be placed underneath the airplane for safe transport to my final destination.
Lucky for you, Journeying, many bow manufacturers and websites now manufacture and sell cases with TSA latches, for your convenience. The SKB Sports, ATA Parallel Limb Bow Case ($299.99) not only holds your bow and arrows steadfast, but also is adorned with TSA recognized and accepted latches. SKB also carries the ATA Double Bow Case ($329.99,) that may be perfect for transporting both you and your husband’s bows. Both these ATA cases offer a $1,500 content guarantee, covering the contents of your case throughout its journey to Colorado.
Fellow huntress and WON columnist Mia Anstine says she has flown bow-in-tow, hassle-free, with no problems many time throughout the United States and also Canada. She carries, as well as recommends, the Vanguard Saberlock ($249.99 from Amazon) for your bow globetrotting needs.
Before I shuffled off to await my departure, my TSA buddy advised that I label my gear clearly and check with the airline to see if there would be extra baggage fees for the bow case. I, in turn, thanked him for his advice and inquired about any additional information that may help a hunter have a better adventure.
He smiled and said, “Have fun, and get a big one,” which is exactly my advice to you, Journeying. This hunting adventure will be one you’ll remember forever, so have a great time and shoot straight!
*Always check airline rules and regulations before flying with archery equipment.