One of the most intimidating aspects of international hunting is the process of getting yourself, your firearms and your ammunition into the area you are going to be hunting. While this process is certainly not as easy as hunting in the United States where the only issue is checking your rifle at the counter. HunTrips.com and its affiliate network of travel service providers developed specifically for sportsmen is dedicated to making your dream adventure way less confusing and much more enjoyable..
Many of the places you will be traveling to as Huntrips.com client do not require any special immunizations, however others require very specific immunizations due to local diseases which most people outside of the host country are not immunized against. The best thing you can do to determine what is required for the area you are visiting is to talk to your local physician, and have them refer you to a specialist in international immunization.
Since many of these immunization processes require several months of phased treatment, it is important to schedule a meeting with your physician well before you intend to travel. Although they are not a replacement for a specialized physician, the following are some web resources you can check for recommendations as well:
PASSPORT The first thing you should consider is that you will need a current US passport for yourself and any companions you expect to take along. Because of recent changes in the laws regarding the need for US citizens to have passports to travel to Canada and Mexico, the time required to process a passport application has become excessively long. This means you should apply for your passport at least 4 months in advance of when you will actually need it for your trip.
VISA You should also be aware that certain countries require a VISA for entry. This is something that Huntrips.com can help you understand and apply for in advance or you can go to: http://www.timaticweb.com. If you enter your nationality, destination and any points of transit, this web site will tell you what VISA′s are required as well as advice on immunizations recommended.
FIREARM PERMITS Another area you must pay close attention to when hunting abroad is the permits and costs for transporting firearms and ammunition. This can be a very complex process and the rules change often - not only due to the destination country′s laws, but also the laws of any countries you enter as part of your transit and the airlines themselves. Because this can be such a complex process, we highly recommend that you employ the services of an experienced travel agency to help navigate this process. In some countries your travel agent will also need to employ the outfitter to get you the forms needed in advance and huntrips.com will make you aware of this when you book trips to these areas. Finally, although everyone prefers to hunt with their own weapons, you should seriously consider the use of the outfitter′s firearms and ammunition where available as this takes all the confusion and cost out of traveling with a weapon.
Trip Cancellation A final area that requires consideration and forethought is insurance - both for trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage. Since these trips are booked so long in advance, it is almost impossible for an outfitter to book another client if you need to cancel at the last minute. Because this would result in a serious loss of income to the outfitter, none of the trips we offer are refundable although we will try to fill your spot with another club member if possible. Because there are no guarantees that we can fill your slot should you need to cancel, members may want to consider special cancellation insurance available through most travel agencies. Please be advised that travel insurance for international hunting can be tricky to collect on and we recommend that you pay close attention to the fine print when purchasing such a policy so you know exactly which scenarios allow you to be reimbursed. The best policy regarding this whole situation is to make sure you are committed to the location and date before you send in your deposit.
Medical Evacuation: If you get sick or injured in the field a medical evacuation will often cost over $100,000 and is typically not covered by medical insurance. Because of this, Huntrips.com strongly recommends that you purchase medical evacuation coverage that transports you from the point of injury or illness to your hospital of choice. The only company that we have found to provide this service anywhere in the world, regardless of your nationality, is Global Rescue. Global Rescue will perform a field rescue, regardless of where you are or what you are doing, and bring you to your home country hospital of choice should you need hospitalization.
Their phones are answered 24/7 by paramedics with extensive experience in emergency medicine who can give you immediate first aid advice and are backed by over 2,400 specialists from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Should you be traveling to unstable or dangerous regions, we recommend that you upgrade your Global Rescue membership to include evacuation for non-medical reasons. They will evacuate their members who sign up for this " security " upgrade in the incidence of civil war, natural disaster or terrorist attack. If there is a government declaration for you to leave the country or you face imminent grievous bodily harm, Global Rescue′s teams of special operations veterans will use every means necessary to evacuate you to safety. For more information on Global Rescue, click here.
Getting your trophies home from an international hunt involves a lot of steps that aren′t familiar to those who are new to the international hunting scene. Like many of the other issues involved with travel overseas, it′s important to understand what is going on and budget correctly for this process.
After all the traveling is done, the trophies on your wall are what is going to bring back the great memories for years to come so you want to make sure the process of getting them there is handled correctly.
The first part of trophy preparation is having your animals skinned, caped, cooled and salted in the field when you harvest the animal. All of our outfitters handle this process for you and in almost all cases this service is included as part of the package price (in cases where caping is an extra charge, the cost is specifically called out in the "Hunt Details" section). The rest of the process, as described below, is not included in any of the packages we sell, so you will need to budget accordingly.
The next part of the process is what is commonly called "Dip and Pack" or "Dip and Ship". The "dip" part of this name comes from the process of dipping the cape of the animal in various chemical baths to remove parasites and disease. Because your trophies are going to be crossing international borders, the US government demands that the trophies go through these processes and have special tags placed on them which verify that they have received such treatment. The "pack" part of this term literally means the packing of the capes and head gear into crates for shipping.
Next the packages need to be physically shipped back to one of the five points of entry in the United States that are sanctioned by the US government handle such imports (the dip and pack company will typically handle this part of the process for you and ship to the point of entry closest to your final destination). Often times you will have the choice of sending your trophies by air or by sea, with the trade-off being time versus cost. Even if you are not in a big hurry to receive your trophies, you may want to consider having them shipped by air so that the skins stay in better shape. There are many international hunters that can tell you stories of beautiful trophies that were lost due to long shipments in sea vessels where temperature and humidity are not controlled. Although many taxidermists are amazing at fixing bullet holes or shoddy caping jobs, there is nothing they can do with a rotted hide or one that has lost all the hair.
Once the shipments arrive in the United States, they need to be run through the import process with the appropriate government agency. This process will typically be handled by a customs brokerage that specializes in such matters and you will have to pay them a handling fee on top of what the government charges for the process. Although it is theoretically possible for you to physically travel to the point of entry and handle this process yourself, it is not practical or advisable to do so. Most times your taxidermist will recommend a brokerage they have a good working relationship with and have them handle this process for you.
The last step is to actually ship the trophies from the point of entry to your taxidermist so they can start the mounting process. Although this is the last physical step in the process, it is the first place you should start before going on your trip. We highly recommend that you find a taxidermist who specializes in international mounts to work on your trophies from overseas. Look for a business that handles a lot of international hunters and understands the correct poses and coloration of the animals you will be hunting. These businesses will typically give you tags to take to your outfitter which specify exactly what port they want the trophies shipped to and what brokerage should handle the paperwork. By using someone who is already familiar with the process and has a network set up to handle your shipment, you will have a much better chance of getting a good end result in a timely manner.
The process of getting your trophies home from an international hunt is certainly much more complicated, costly and time consuming than the same thing within your home country. However, when that hard earned trophies show up in your trophy room, it will all be worth it when your hunting buddies come over to see your trophy and to hear the story.
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