As an international traveling sportsman, one of the questions we are most frequently asked is about taking my own firearm or renting. This is a personal question, and the correct answer depends upon the hunter(s) themselves. Before advising my client the best route to take, I start with my standard list of questions and recommendations for the individual. Below is a simple guideline that has proven very successful in making the right call. This is a personal decision, so you need to be 100% honest with yourself when answering.
- Which profile fits you best?
Hunter A: You’ve taken your firearm apart, glass-bedded your own stock and did your own trigger job. You hand-load custom rounds with fire-formed brass specific for your custom firearm? If so- take yours, it’s part of the experience
Hunter B: You are the type of hunter that says give me any firearm, I know how to shoot all firearms not just one. Then rent, make travel a bit easier
- Understand the laws of the country your traveling to. Some countries like Spain require the same process to take your own or rent.
If you rent: Don’t take ammo for the outfitter. Ammo is a regulated item in ALL countries and on ALL airlines, and requires the same documentation to meet the various countries import/export laws as taking a firearm.
If you take your own: Know that should your ammo not make the trip, common calibers are easier to source replacement ammo then odd calibers.
- Test fire your rental rifle till you are comfortable when you reach your destination; ammo is an inexpensive part compared to your total adventure.
- Reasonable expectations:There are very few Left-Handed rental firearms, and it is a highly unlikely option with outfitters.
Rented firearms are not collector heirloom pieces that live in a firearm safe. They are workhorses with a few well deserved battle scars. You may be able to ask the outfitter in advance what caliber, models and optics are available to help you make your decision.
- If you are used to a piece of equipment such as a Bi-Pod, still take it and temporally put it on your rented firearm.
- Practice, practice, practice from hunting positions. Standing, sitting, prone. Get off the shooting bench.
- Are you planning to tour pre- or post hunt? What steps are required to store or take your firearm with you in the countries you are touring? It may not be possible to take your firearm. Australia for example you need a different firearm license for every province you are visiting.
- Because of the basic nature of some hunts, it best to take your own firearm that you know extremely well. This is especially true on mountain hunts where long range shooting is the norm like Marco Polo sheep hunts.
As always, we recommend you visit with your professional WTA hunting consultant and your outfitter about making the decision on whether to take your own firearms on a trip.
Good luck on your international adventures.