By Bob Humphrey
Planning an out-of-state hunt this fall? Whether it’s the next state over, or across the country, here are a few tips to make your trip and your hunt go a little more smoothly.
Licenses/Permits - Check, then double check to determine what licenses and permits are necessary for your hunt. A good starting point is the website for the state fish and wildlife agency of your destination. If you’re not sure, a phone call should get you what you need. If possible, obtain them before you leave. Most states now sell licenses on-line, allowing you to make purchase instantaneously, right from home or work.
Don’t wait until you arrive and hope you can find a license vendor. They may be hard to find. They may be closed or they may not have the necessary authorizations, especially for non-resident hunters. And don’t rely on private license vendors if there’s any question about which permits you do or do not need. They don’t always know.
Firearms - Check your weapons to make sure they are in good serviceable condition. Sight them in to make sure they’re still hitting where you’re aiming then give them a good cleaning and lubrication.
Store in a padded case while transporting. The vibration of road travel can wreak havoc on unprotected firearms, particularly their optics. It’s also a good idea to use a locked case. Each state has its own set of firearms regulations and in some cases it’s a requirement.
Most of the above also applies to archery equipment. Sight it in. Check all moving parts and tighten or lubricate where necessary. Then put it in a padded, locked case. Ridiculous as it sounds, some states require a locked case even on bows!!
ATVs - Much the same logic applies if you’re bringing your ATVs. Start by going through your machines from top to bottom. If you’re not mechanically inclined, this would be a good time to take your rig in for its annual tune-up and inspection. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you probably have a checklist. Go through it and make sure everything is tightened, lubed and in good working order.
Breakdowns are a hassle anywhere, but especially so if you’re far from home or the trappings of civilization. In addition to a basic toolbox, you should also put together an assortment of common replacement/repair parts like belts, filters, spark plugs, fix-a-flat and/or spare tire(s) for ATV and trailer.
After loading your ATVs, set the parking brakes, remove the keys and strap your machines securely to the trailer. It’s also a good idea to cover your machines to protect them (especially lights and windshields) from bugs, dirt and rocks encountered while trailering at high speeds.
Map out your route in advance. Leave plenty of extra time and drive carefully.