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Preparing for Africa

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
    Remember one thing. Africa takes patience. Kindest Regards
    Always in short supply here. You seem to have more than enough though. FedEx me a truckload. I don't think you'd even notice it's gone.

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    • #17
      I will pick your brain more about travel via PM if you don't mind.
      Sounds good. I'll check my inbox every now and then.

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      • #18
        According to my sources, the greater kudu is split into four species, based on horn structure and coat color, the cape kudu found in south central South Africa, northern kudu, western kudu and Zambezi kudu.

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        • #19
          I have learned some interesting things about hunting management in South Africa. My source informs me the game animals belong to the landowners since virtually all land is either private or national park. Also many species were reintroduced by the landowners specifically for the purpose of promoting hunting operations on their ranches. Thus, the trophy fee amounts to the hunter essentially buying the animal from whomever owns the land (as opposed to buying the right to control access to the land in North America). This is why the trophy fees vary so much for the same game species. He also tells me that if I wound an animal and it's lost, that counts as bagged and I have to pay the trophy fee anyway. Depending on how the landowner wishes to manage the resource, it may be possible to obtain another animal by paying for a second trophy fee, but I suspect with some high demand limited number expensive species like cape buffalo or sable, that might not be possible. Be careful or get out the pocketbook. Not a bad way of running things.

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          • #20
            Ontario,
            keep in mind this is a six day hunt, reasonably close to sophisticated South African civilization so don’t need to take too many belongings. There is a tendency to take too much. You are on the right track with ammo. For example, last year for a 30 day back country Tanzania Safari I took 40 rounds of 300 mag and 20 rounds of 416 Rigby. Killed ten plains game and four Cape buffalo. Came home with ammo to spare. Dave Petzal commented I had not taken enough.

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            • #21
              Consider using an airline travel agent specializing in African hunters they can set up a meet and greet service who will help thru customs and airport rifle procedures and then take you to a hotel and back again in the morning. Think one is called Travel Express

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
                Ontario,
                keep in mind this is a six day hunt, reasonably close to sophisticated South African civilization so don’t need to take too many belongings. There is a tendency to take too much. You are on the right track with ammo. For example, last year for a 30 day back country Tanzania Safari I took 40 rounds of 300 mag and 20 rounds of 416 Rigby. Killed ten plains game and four Cape buffalo. Came home with ammo to spare. Dave Petzal commented I had not taken enough.
                Their site only advises bringing three changes of hunting clothes. Daily laundry service takes care of things. I can't imagine I'll need a lot of ammo unless the scope gets whacked up badly in transit and some major work is needed to zero it again. The outfitter rents out 30-06 Weatherbys and I'm sure I can buy some of his ammo if I somehow come up short. David Petzal seems to like shooting paper targets a lot no matter where he is. A couple hundred rounds on a trip to Africa would probably be the norm for him.

                One interesting item on the outfitter's list of stuff to bring: antacids. Hmmm. The cooking is that bad? Oh well, I'm going for the hunting not for the gourmet food. Hell, these days I consume about half a jar of Tums a day no matter what's on the menu. Getting old sucks. Another interesting list item: tags for trophies. So I make up my own tags? What's supposed to be printed on them?
                Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-16-2019, 03:38 AM.

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                • #23
                  This is great news. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

                  i can offer no advice except listen to your guide. Pretty much standard advice around the world.

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                  • #24
                    Trying to book my flight. That is complicated. Moving the gun should not be too difficult ... until I get to South Africa. Then it gets interesting. One of the outfitter sites provides very detailed instructions step by step (literally one foot after the other) when I get to Johannesburg airport. I will have the route through the airport officialdom labyrinth printed up so I don't get messed up. At one point during the process the site warns someone in the SAP (South African Police) airport station may try to collect a fee. It says to ask for a receipt at which the response will invariably be "Oh, it looks like the receipt book is full and we don't have another. Your lucky day. You get off free." Pfffft!! Here's what's really interesting: there's several domestic carriers in South Africa but only SA Airlines and its two subsidiaries will/can take guns for domestic flights. What's really peculiar is that two of the other non-carrying domestic carriers are subsidiaries of British Airways and as far as I have been able to determine it has no problem carrying guns into and out of Britain. I find it almost stunning that a country which is very heavily involved in hunting tourism tolerates any hindrance whatsoever to hunters and their guns. Smells like some money-grabbing politics for the benefit of one airline? Or maybe the other smaller domestic airlines have such poor management their staff and baggage apes can't be trusted with guns? Whatever the reason, it must be "unusual." Anyway, my connection went from just one five hour early morning layover at Heathrow and then straight through to my destination to a second seven hour layover in Johannesburg waiting for the one afternoon SA Airlines flight out to my final destination.

                    Now the million dollar question: What do I do with my gun during the layovers? I think I saw a site for an outfit in Johannesburg that will, among other things, store the gun, but they don't have any fee list anywhere on their site. Seems kinda shady. I suppose they just charge what they think the gun owner can bear.

                    If the PH intended on hunting during the first day of the package deal (the same day they pick me up at the airport), I will probably have to skip bringing my gun so I can fly with one of the other carriers or arrive in town a day earlier and book into a motel overnight. I'll have to see exactly what's on the outfitter's agenda. Frustrating that all kinds of adjustments can be made to my travel itinerary for price and cutting flight time ... till I get to the last leg, a mere one hour domestic flight!! Then there's lots of options daily ... but only two flights that take guns.

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                    • #25
                      Sounds like you are attempting to make your flight reservations on your own. Both Amflyer and I recommend you use a U.S. travel agent for African hunting clients. Some examples include Gracy Travel (Debbie). Areva Travel (Annalise), Travel With Guns (Steve), there are others. It also seems you are thinking of traveling through Britain, their regulations and logistics make flying through there with firearms difficult.
                      Last edited by Happy Myles; 04-17-2019, 08:46 PM.

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                      • #26
                        True indeed. OHH, you have Montana ties, or at least you hunt there. Travel Express is a family run business, and I have used them thrice. They also booked the flights to the US for my PH and family when they visited. Montana people.

                        There will be a fee, but the costs of the booked flights are usually less than available to the rank and file. More importantly, they will make sure you are on the right airlines, guns are checked through to destination, and you have enough time to make your connections.

                        Lori and Jennifer will take care of you

                        Also: you seem to have a pretty utilitarian view of rifles and such. It would be nice to have your own rifle there, but things are oh-so-much easier if you rent a quality rifle in country.

                        Truth: I much preferred having my own rifles there, but I didn't shoot one whit less with the loaner.

                        But, if you take yours, you want to check it through to the final destination. and you do not want to change airline companies anywhere, but especially in Heathrow. SAA and Delta usually agreements that allow this, and maybe United.

                        Each country has its idiosyncrasies, and some are caught up in changing regulations, so no one is on the same page. But if it is checked, and you don't have to take possesion, you're in good shape.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
                          Sounds like you are attempting to make your flight reservations on your own. Both Amflyer and I recommend you use a U.S. travel agent for African hunting clients. Some examples include Gracy Travel (Debbie). Areva Travel (Annalise), Travel With Guns (Steve), there are others. It also seems you are thinking of traveling through Britain, their regulations and logistics make flying through there with firearms difficult.
                          Just looking into this to see where the pitfalls may be. And as you can see, I discovered a whopper. I read some not so good reviews about two of those travel agencies. But you can't please all of the people all of the time I guess. According to one gent on SCI forum who travels to SA quite a bit, it is possible to self-book with United and fly through Heathrow via South African Airlines to Johannesburg without touching his guns after he leaves LA Intl. He has done it several times. United and SA Airlines have a baggage handling agreement. I would like to fly Air Canada to Heathrow where I'd connect to SA Airlines direct to Johannesburg. I'll have to see if they have a similar agreement. I know what paperwork I need to get the gun out of Canada to Europe (not necessary for me when travelling to US because I'm still US citizen). I also know what paperwork to have ready when I arrive at Johannesburg. Having a Canadian federal firearms license photo ID makes things easier at that port. And I know I would have to let Heathrow know a gun is coming at least 24 hrs in advance. Other than that, the airport's regulations seem to be pretty much generic: approved locked case, unloaded gun, ammo in ammo boxes in luggage (not carry-on!), two guns only, weight limits on guns and ammo, etc. Apparently it can get hairy at Heathrow if passenger has to change terminals. Then he'll have to check the gun out and back in and that requires British temporary importation documentation ... and a bonded transporter to move it.

                          Something new as of last month at Johannesburg: Don't expect to get back on a flight out of there with a bag that doesn't have at least one flat surface. Not without difficulties anyway. Also long straps are now unacceptable. Apparently the airport management authority got fed up with odd shaped bags and straps buggering up the ramp systems and causing delays that messed up people getting their stuff on time. Sounds like a good enough reason. So it looks like I won't be using my fancy Browning camo backpack for checked baggage. Hockey bag is out too. The way I read the press release, any non-compliant baggage arriving via other airlines will gain a flat side courtesy of the baggage apes and their duct tape. Sounds like the new rules won't affect gun cases though since they all have flat sides.

                          I'll contact those agencies for a quote. I planned on doing that but wanted to have a baseline for comparison. At least I'll have some idea of the markup.

                          Note to self: Get the process finished for Canadian Landed Immigrant ID Card. On-line process stalled last couple of attempts. My old landing document from 1989 is getting a bit ragged after being carried all over the world several times since then. Photo ID card will be more authentic looking for unknowing third world customs/immigration officials. A strange piece of paper not so much. The problem is I'm a Canadian gun owner travelling with a US passport. Bound to cause some head-scratching. I can expect delays no matter what I do to prepare ahead of time. It is what it is. Renting a gun is sounding better all the time!
                          Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-18-2019, 12:17 AM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Amflyer View Post
                            True indeed. OHH, you have Montana ties, or at least you hunt there. Travel Express is a family run business, and I have used them thrice. They also booked the flights to the US for my PH and family when they visited. Montana people.

                            There will be a fee, but the costs of the booked flights are usually less than available to the rank and file. More importantly, they will make sure you are on the right airlines, guns are checked through to destination, and you have enough time to make your connections.

                            Lori and Jennifer will take care of you

                            Also: you seem to have a pretty utilitarian view of rifles and such. It would be nice to have your own rifle there, but things are oh-so-much easier if you rent a quality rifle in country.

                            Truth: I much preferred having my own rifles there, but I didn't shoot one whit less with the loaner.

                            But, if you take yours, you want to check it through to the final destination. and you do not want to change airline companies anywhere, but especially in Heathrow. SAA and Delta usually agreements that allow this, and maybe United.

                            Each country has its idiosyncrasies, and some are caught up in changing regulations, so no one is on the same page. But if it is checked, and you don't have to take possesion, you're in good shape.
                            Thanks. If they are indeed Montana people then that is a plus! I will give them a jingle.

                            As I said below, being a Canadian gun owner with a US passport will almost certainly throw a wrinkle in things. Anytime all the ID documentation doesn't originate from the same country, someone's liable to get concerned, especially if a gun is involved. It's a handy situation to be in when travelling with guns on this continent but not so much overseas.

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                            • #29
                              Honker - Right now, the only benefit I see in going through the hassle of bringing the gun along is that some day, one of your descendants might have a better story to tell about a family heirloom.

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                              • #30
                                The transportation issues just keep getting more and more "interesting." Won't be bringing any horns back with me, that's for sure - they will have to be shipped by freight later. Air Canada charges a fee of $150 Can for EACH set of horns (even if one set is wrapped inside a larger set) + usual extra baggage fees (thirty-five bucks last I knew). Brother! I imagine horn fees for SA Airlines are probably as bad or worse. I understand the outfitter's taxidermist company handles all the shipping issues (which MUST be cheaper than that!). I never planned on bringing back horns as baggage but it was interesting studying yet another of the peculiarities involved in this adventure. And then there's this interesting item: Air Canada allows two rifles in the same case going for the same handling fee of $50 Can. A third rifle is allowed (no more than three total) but has to go in a separate case with additional fee applied. However, two shotguns can go in two separate cases for one $50 handling fee for the pair. Go figure. South Africa apparently only allows two long guns into the country per visitor anyway. Also, Air Canada requires an additional trigger lock on all guns inside locked cases. I don't see this requirement with any of the other airlines I've looked into. With Air Canada, ammo in a proper container packed inside the gun case can ride free of charge (within specified ammo weight limit which is eleven pounds as I recall). Any other baggage containing ammo gets charged an extra $50 gun fee. Specs for acceptable ammo container are pretty much the same through all airlines - shells in factory box usually is best to avoid hassles re safety and identification requirements.

                                One of the fellas on the SCI forum site had some great advice on packing rifles for air transportation. He always removes the bolt. That way when case is opened for inspection it's instantly visible the gun is unloaded. No reason for anyone to pick it up and handle/drop it (which is no insurance they won't anyway). However, might make it easier for some anit-gun animal lover in the back to "accidentally" lose the bolt during inspection (most of those types aren't smart enough to figure out how to remove a bolt from rifle themselves). He also buys four locks with same key and packs the extra two locks inside the case with their shackles open. He puts a sign inside the case pointing to the opened locks that says "Replacement Locks" in case for some reason the case locks have to be cut off for inspection during transit. That way the case can be relocked with same key still opening them. Good plan! ALL sources advise/require shipping the gun in a case that is not specifically identified as a gun case, i.e. no factory labels embossed on the case or Ducks Unlimited stickers, etc. Makes sense. No airlines will allow guns shipped in transparent cases (though I'm not sure I have ever seen such a thing). Another interesting tip: at many airports when the guns are checked in they have to be taken to special section and inspected. However, it is often against regs for a passenger to accompany the gun case to inspection area. Also it's against the regs to give up the key to the case locks at ANY time. Keys must always remain in possession of transporter. So before the gun case leaves the check in counter for Twilight Zone inspection station, this fella unlocks it but leaves the locks hanging on the case. Also, he insists that the baggage people bring the gun case back out after it's inspected so he can ensure it is locked up properly for shipping (good luck with that). Apparently some airports allow the transporter to be present when the gun is inspected but many do not. I recall watching guns being inspected in front of everyone in the King Salmon, AK airport when I was flying in to work at Katmai NP twelve years ago. It was the start of spring bear hunt.

                                I always enjoy the hunt and the more difficult, the more I enjoy it. A big reason why I chose my profession: research and writing. Research is the hunt and writing is everything afterwards. I am retired now but old habits die hard. Still hunting. The internet has certainly made the game a lot more interesting and abundant.
                                Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-18-2019, 01:48 PM.

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