Weapons and Game Transportation on Business Aircraft: Part 1 of 2 – Travel Options

PT 3 M minute read
Weapons and Game Transportation on Business Aircraft: Part 1 of 2 – Travel Options

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on big game hunting travel requirements.

There are various issues business aircraft operators must consider when flying off to hunt big game. Considerations include transportation of hunting equipment, and its temporary importation into international locations, as well as bringing big game back home. It’s best to work with your 3rd-party provider, several weeks in advance of any planned international hunting trip, in order to avoid unnecessary complications and/or delays during your trip.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Popular hunting destinations

South Africa is probably the number one destination for big game hunting. Unlike the rest of the African continent, many hunting options are available in South Africa, and all eight provinces allow big game hunting. For large and dangerous game the most popular regions in South Africa are the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces. Other popular hunting destinations in general include Canada, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Northeastern Russia. While there are big game hunting opportunities in other countries/regions it’s best to confirm this with your ground handler, or in-country authorities, as it’s on a case-by-case basis.

2. Hunting in South Africa

Information for hunting in South Africa can be found at http://www.hunterssupport.com/hunters/. This site provides hunting requirements and associated restrictions. For example, you may bring only up to four weapons per hunter into the country, and each weapon must be a different caliber.

3. Some locations restrict big game hunting

A number of countries – including Kenya and Botswana – currently prohibit big game hunting. Kenya outlawed big game hunting several years ago, and anyone in possession of illegal game is subject to prosecution and jail. Botswana has put all big game hunting and permits on hold indefinitely. At other locations in Africa, and elsewhere, big game hunting may be permitted, but you’ll be restricted on what you can hunt. It may be possible to hunt antelope or Cape Buffalo, for example, but not lions, tigers, rhinoceroses or crocodiles. From time to time, however, special permits do come available for certain types of big game.

4. Tech stop considerations – guns

Be mindful of tech stop restrictions to/from your hunting destination when traveling with guns. In Ghana and Nigeria for example, it’s against the law to arrive with weapons onboard, even for tech stops. In the UK you’ll need to declare all firearms in advance. If they’re not being used within the UK and the aircraft will be in the country for longer than a tech stop, weapons must be stored with airport police.

5. Tech stop considerations – game meat

There are also tech stop considerations in regard to transportation of game, and limitations often exist on what you’ll be able to bring into or through a country. If you’re departing South Africa with game onboard, for example, tech and destination stop options may be limited. The European Union (EU) has many restrictions on the transportation of game. It’s best to speak with the local agriculture control office, for planned tech stop locations, to determine available options. Some tech stops are easier than others. The Azores, for example, does not require declaration of any onboard game for tech stops. The UK, however, requires complete disclosure, particularly if the onboard game falls within the threatened or endangered species list, as maintained by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) . In such cases you’ll need to present CITES paperwork along with all paperwork/documentation that allowed you to hunt the animal.

6. Register guns prior to departure

Many countries require that you register your guns and ammunition prior to departing your home base. This is the case with the U.S. Prior to an international departure, operators must fill out paperwork (form 4457) – including gun serial numbers – and present this to CBP prior to departing the U.S. This paperwork will be reviewed, and compared against guns onboard, when you return to the U.S.

7. Exporting game

It’s important to ensure you have appropriate permission to export any game from the country you’re in. Each country has specific requirements for game exportation. The meat, in some cases, may have to be fully dressed/processed while in other cases the animal must not be fully processed, so that local authorities are able to identify the species. For example, ducks and geese being brought back into the U.S. from Canada need to have one feathered wing attached to identify the species. Always allow additional time for departure from your hunting location to ensure all customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) formalities are cleared and to transport the game to the aircraft. For the return portion of the hunting trip, be aware of rules for game importation and processing for your final destination.

8. Additional Reading


There are really two separate areas of concern – moving guns internationally and the game itself. Both require adequate pre-trip research to ensure that all requirements are met for all countries you’re visiting and passing through.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits and documentation for a big game hunting trip.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next big game hunt, contact me at jeffreykelley@univ-wea.com.

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