Tips on Packing for Air Travel

With the 2013 deer season now open, hunters traveling by air need to take special precautions when packing their gear so that they aren’t held up a security check points.  Contributor Mathieu Larocque was kind enough to share some tips for those of us who will be traveling in Canada.

Mathieu is an experienced Moose hunter, and also works for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). Last year, there were more than 1000 incidents involving bullets in carry on bags or passenger pockets. These incidents are slowing travellers down at security because further searches are required.

Advisory for Hunters: Know what you can and can’t bring on the plane

With hunting season underway across the country, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is advising hunters to be aware of packing restrictions so they can start their excursions on a positive note.

When screening officers come across bullets, rifles, knives, and similar hunting gear at pre-board screening checkpoints, additional screening procedures must be performed. These measures take time and can create unnecessary delays for both hunters and fellow travelers.

Of all hunting-related items, bullets are the most common prohibited item found in passenger baggage. Last year, screening officers reported more than 1,000incidents involving bullets among passengers’ belongings.

Firearms and ammunition can be placed in checked baggage, but passengers are required to declare these items to their air carrier at the check-in counter. They are not permitted in carry-on luggage.

If you are a hunter preparing for a trip by air, you can help to ensure a smooth screening process by following CATSA’s packing guidelines and being mindful of security regulations when packing your gear.


•    Bear sprays and animal repellants (pepper spray) are prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage.
•    Make sure guns are unloaded and are securely locked.
•    Pack rifles, shotguns and ammunition separately in checked baggage.
•    Store ammunition securely in a marked container, separate from the firearm.
•    Securely wrap bows, arrows and knives in checked baggage.
•    Declare your firearms and ammunition at the air carrier check-in counter.

Bullets can fly, but not in hunters’ carry-on bags

More than 1,000 incidents involving bullets at Canadian checkpoints in 2012
Bullets fly at incredible speeds when fired, but they bring the screening process to a complete stop when passengers try to carry them on airplanes.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the Crown corporation responsible for screening passengers and bags at Canadian airports, reports more than 1,000 incidents involving bullets at airport checkpoints last year. A lot of these incidents occurred during the annual fall hunting season.

CATSA reminds hunters that bullets are not permitted in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints.For those seeking wilderness escapes in hopes of a prized trophy, there are a few rules you should follow to avoid unnecessary delays at the security checkpoint.
•    Rifles and ammunition must be declared at the airline counter. Ammunition and hunting rifles can be transported in checked bags if properly packaged and approved by air carriers. Hunting gear such as knives and axes should also be packed in checked luggage.
•    When what appears to be a bullet is detected in a carry-on bag, screening officers must implement special procedures, such as contacting police.If this situation occurs, not only does the passenger risk missing their flight to hunting paradise, other passengers waiting in line to be screened are also delayed.

In most cases, forgetfulness is the culprit. So if you are starting to count the days until your next hunting trip, remember: before you leave for the airport, double check your carry-on bag as well as your pants and jacket pockets, and make sure that bullets are properly packaged in your checked luggage.

More information on what’s allowed in your bags can be found on CATSA’s website at or find tips on Twitter at @catsa_gc.

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