While some of the rules and regulations applying to firearms and ammunition do not apply in the same way to bows, arrows, and associated gear the best planning route is to assume they do. Here’s a quick listing of tips for travelling on the airlines with a bow and arrows.
1. Buy a durable, hardside locking case — The higher quality and more rugged the better. It should be well padded and the walls should be as indestructible as they can be made. Look for reinforcement ribs on the inside, especially in the areas were the external surfaces are wide. Rugged, high-quality cases aren’t cheap, but they are worth every penny to do all you can to ensure youre bow arrives in good condition.
2. Give arrows extra protection — Acquire a separte, rigid arrow case or tube that fits inside your bow case. Pad it well.
3. Stow your broadheads — Don’t attach broadheads to arrows until you reach your final destination. Keep them stowed in a separate hard side case, in your bow case as well.
4. Take an extra release — Releases are easy to lose. You likely won’t be able to find a duplicate at your destination if the airline loses yours. So, bring two — one in the bow case and one in your carry-on baggage.
5. Take spare parts — if a bow breaks down in a remote location, it’s tough to find a replacement and, likely, impossible to find accessible spare parts on short notice. Take extras along with you for any repairs you’re capable of making.
6. Make your case visible — add whatever you can to make your bow case unique so you can pick it out at a distance. Bright spray paint, decals, ribbons, a stenciled ID number of some kind (NOT SSN) — anything so you’ll know your case with your bow at a glance.
7. Carry your sight — even in the best case a bow can take a beating. Consider marking and removing your sight; carry it with you. Then you can reinstall when you reach camp and know it hasn’t been abused. As always take some shots at a target to make sure it’s on.