Dear Writing Huntress,
I’ve moved once before, when I met my husband, many years go. Because of him, I started hunting, and now we’re moving again — this time across the country. I have no idea how to deal with moving our guns, hunting equipment or mounts. I’ve been following your adventures for some time and I know you’ve been moving quite a lot, too, so I figured you’d be the best to ask!
Relocating for Hunting in Henderson
I can confidently say I didn’t help much with either of our first 2 moves. I was a mess, crying entirely too much to be of any assistance. Also, since my husband is amazing at Tetris, he couldn’t be bothered with my then-haphazard way of packing, which, back then, involved me throwing things into whichever vehicle crevice seemed the emptiest. Luckily for you, I’ve become a much better mover in recent years.
While packing and, subsequently, moving your hunting gear and guns remember:
Boxes and labels are your friends
Unbeknownst to my former, sloppy packing self, boxes are a wondrous moving invention.
Label the boxes, not only by what they contain, but also by what hunting season they represent. This helps keep you organized, and will help if a certain season is open upon your arrival. You’ll be able to easily access the equipment without having to tear through last season’s duck hunting gear to get to your turkey call.
Mount packing is an art form
Packing mounts is a delicate tango. We have generally moved mounted ducks and geese in the last 4 years, which involves a tightly packed space and some ingenious use of ratchet straps.
If you have bigger mounts, check out Whitetail Writer’s coverage of his move from Pennsylvania to North Dakota. He developed a great way of crating and safely transporting his mounts.
Transporting guns can be tricky business
Be sure to invest in good, resilient cases for your firearm relocation. You’ll drive easier knowing your guns are comfortably riding along.
Keep in mind that different states have different laws for the transportation of firearms and ammunition. If you’re planning on stacking your guns in the backseat of your truck, some states may allow for them to be there, some may not. Research each state along your route, individually, and see what laws they have pertaining to gun transportation for non-residents.
After the move, the real fun begins. Obviously, hunting won’t be in the forefront of your mind in the first few weeks, so enjoy the chaos that goes hand-in-hand with moving to a new place. However, don’t let too much time pass before you turn your attention to the hunting side of moving.
When preparing to hunt in a new state remember to research the following topics:
Many states require a certain period of time as a new resident before you can establish hunting residency. Some periods are 6 months to a year, while others are as soon as you become a resident. In states with longer residency requirements, you may be able to get a waiver via certain parameters. Check out your new local Department of Fish and Game website for the full details.
Lottery vs. over-the-counter tags
As a resident of New York and North Carolina, tags were abundant. I never had to enter a lottery, as gun tags were as plentiful as the deer I wished to eat. In North Dakota, however, I had to draw tags, and was twice turned down for deer gun tags. Bow tags were over the counter, but in our area, almost impossible to fill in the wide open, treeless spaces, hence we focused on waterfowl and upland game.
That being said, be mindful of how your new state goes about appropriating tags and licenses and plan to be flexible with the available hunting opportunities.
Private vs. public land
One of the most difficult challenges you’ll face after moving is finding land to hunt. In some states, almost all of the land is privately owned, limiting public land hunting opportunities to next to nothing. Conversely, other states are primarily comprised of areas for public hunting. Make friends with landowners and fellow hunters to help in your plight to hunt good land this coming season.
Relocating, moving is hard enough, but acclimating to a new hunting climate is a challenge itself. Be sure do to plenty of research beforehand, trust me, it’ll help in the long run.
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