Sitting on the plane winging my way home from Japan again. I do this trip 6 or 7 times per year, and it just doesn’t get any shorter. However it lets me catch up on movies I probably wouldn’t see otherwise and much needed time to catch up on writing. But these trips also give me time for planning my trips. Next week I’m leaving for 11 days in Texas, on three separate hunts.
I’ve had a lot of readers write to ask me how I go about planning a traveling hunt, so thought I’d use this flight time to tell you how I go about organizing my trips, because there is a need to maximize my time to get everything done. The objectives of the upcoming Texas hunts, besides satisfying my love of hunting, is to fulfill the following deliverables: use 4 different guns to take multiple species (predators, hogs, black buck, jackrabbits), generate 4 articles for various magazines (and a couple blog posts), generate 4 short articles for my website and 4 videos for youtube. This year I have commitments to write over 50 articles, do 25 YouTube videos, and about a dozen segments for American Airgunner. With a full time job outside the hunting world the only way I make this work is by planning
The first thing to do is decide what and where I’ll hunt, which of the guns I have in for testing are suited for the intended game and hunting methods. The next step is to build a schedule, for instance two days I’ll use gun X to hunt quarry X. The next two days, etc etc. Then for those hunts I storyboard the articles and video so that I know what video or photos I’ll need. I also figure out if I can use some ancillary gear (scopes, pellets, shooting sticks, range finders etc) for some additional articles or videos.
The camera gear I’m using these days are: a Cannon Rebel T6i DSLR, a Vixia HD Videocam, a couple of GoPro’s, a compact Sony Videocam, a couple tripods, selfie stick and a scope mount for through-scope shots. I bring extra batteries, SD cards, and my laptop so I can write and edit during my down time. This puts on a lot of pressure to get results, and hunting is hunting so there are no guarantees. I typically build in some extra days in case things don’t go as planned.
I book my flights well in advance to keep costs down, but you have to watch out for hidden costs. I can get a flight on a budget carrier to Texas for $200.00, but then they charge me $200-300 for checking my guns, though shipping the guns in advance is an option. I frequently fly on business and have pretty high flight status on Delta, so if I can get my flights on this airline can check my guns for free. Even if the base ticket price is higher, with no baggage fees the actual cost is lower (and Delta is my go-to airline).
For air, if I don’t ship tanks in advance I’ll find a dive shop online and rent full tanks and have them waiting for pickup on my arrival. Some times there is a local source that can loan me tanks in the area, AoA when flying into Phoenix, AoT when flying into Dallas, or friends in the area that I hunt with that always have full tanks on hand.
I hunt on my own, with other airgun hunters, and various outfitters. When hunting new areas alone, I’ll use google maps and do as much online research as possible, plus talk with people that know the area. However when hunting in new areas it is generally more productive to go out with a local, so this is an approach I’ve been using more. In an upcoming post I’ll do a behind the scenes write up of my Texas trip to tell you how my plans went and if I got everything done that was required!