Traveling Hunters in Today’s World
Traveling Hunters in Today’s World
by Tim Herald
We are fast approaching the two-year anniversary of when the world changed as far as travel and day to day living because of the COVID-19 virus. It was mid-March 2020, and I was actually in Uganda when travel restrictions first began. The guys I was hunting with, and I, were totally caught off guard, and with the conflicting information we were receiving, we had no idea if we could get home.
We had traveled through Europe to get there, and it seemed that you couldn’t enter the US from Europe. We looked at alternate routes through South Africa, Dubai, etc., yet nothing was clear. Eventually we all decided to take our chances and go with our scheduled flights through Amsterdam, and we had no problems at all. In fact, it was a super easy travel as not many people were in airports, and the customs line getting back into the US was nonexistent.
After that in 2020, I did have a couple of international trips that had to be rescheduled, but I did travel to hunt in the US with trips to Tennessee, South Dakota and New Mexico. 2021 saw travel restrictions loosen up and more flights become available, so I jumped back on the horse and took off. I went to Mexico for hunting, fishing and family vacations in May, July, November and December. I also traveled to Uganda (March), Botswana (June), and Tanzania (October) during 2021. In all those trips, I had absolutely no travel problems. I simply followed the airline and government rules for each country, and the US, and things went as smooth as could be. As a matter of fact, my 20 year-old son, went to South Africa for 3 months last summer to work for a safari company, and my other son is currently in Italy for 4 months through a study abroad program at his university.
Now that all being said, I understand when people are hesitant to travel, especially older folks or those with compromised health, and each has to make his or her own decision. Hunting travel is supposed to be for fun, so if you are worried and nervous about travel, you probably should wait, but hunters are generally an adventurous lot, and most of us are just ready to get on with our lives and go back to hunting.
I could never start to list all of the travel regulations for every country, so if you plan to go hunt out of the US, you need to check all the rules for your specific destination. I use the fine folks at Travel With Guns (www.wtg.travel) to setup and look after all of my travel plans, and they stay on top of all the rules. They keep me completely updated on what I have to do for each trip. In short and general, here are a few of the regs for some of the most popular hunting destinations as of now, but these all may change without notice.
- Canada: You must be fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test before arrival
- Argentina: You must be fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test before arrival
- Mexico: No Restrictions
- Africa: In general, most African countries require a negative PCR test before travel (check each country for specifics)
- New Zealand: Closed but there is hope it will open April 30th 2022
A US citizen traveling home from a foreign country must have a negative PCR or Antigen test within 24 hours of traveling home. All of the outfitters I know have testing lined up for their clients so they can return home.
So, is international travel a bit more complicated than it was a couple of years ago? Yes! But is it so complicated that it should be a strong deterrent from travel? Absolutely not! International hunting is picking up quickly and because so many hunters were rolled to later dates when we couldn’t travel, many outfitters are completely booked up for 2022 and some for 2023. So, hunts are in high demand, and advance planning is a must. My recommendation is to start your planning now during the off season, use all the resources available to you during this process, and get back out there and go on that dream hunt that you have been putting off.