When you dream of hunting "Big Elk" you think of New Mexico straight away! But when you live in Australia what do you do? How do you plan it? Whats the first step? Ok, lets start at the very beginning...first you chose an Outfitter in the State you wish to hunt.
Step 1. Choose Your Outfitter
I chose Jordan Hall Outfitting www.huntingnewmexico.com . I met Jordan at an Grand OVIS Convention held in Las Vegas USA in Jan of 2017.
I was drawn to Jordan and JH Outfitting, as the more I talked to Jordan the more I understood what he is about. Jordan is dedicated, passionate and full of knowledge about hunting and someone who takes great pride in what he does and wants you to have a great experience and adventure.
New Mexico offers so many choices of big game, like Elk, Antelope, Deer, Bear, Cougar, Ibex, Orix and many more species.
Jordan assist me in applying for you big game tags in New Mexico. Once you sign a contract with him as per NM State law the outfitter will give you the special Outfitter Number which gives you a better chance in the outfitter pool of drawing a tag with him.
You apply in March each year and the tags are drawn at the end of April.
I put in a section of tags for Elk, Antelope and Coes deer hoping I would win at least one of the selection.
The NM Tags were drawn early this year and I received a phone from Jordan who explained that I had not only been fortunate to win my dream hunt of an archery Elk, that I had an amazing result of winning all three tags Elk Antelope and Coes Deer ...I was speechless!
Step 2. Hunter Education Card
I already had a USA Hunters Education Card from Arizona, as its required by most States to hunt or apply for tags. You can complete it online at https://www.hunter-ed.com/
Step 3. Drawing The New Mexico Tag
If you draw a tag in NM during the April draw, its a huge celebration...Yes I am throwing a party here in Australia with my hunting mates!
Wow its time for the next step, which means booking your airline ticket and complete your online USA Visa which is valid for 90 days...(as I assuming you already have a valid Australian Passport which you need to have.) I have a valid five year USA Visa which is fixed within my Australian Passport. This visa allows me to stay in the USA for six months at a time.
Step 4. Flying To North America
I use Qantas, as I am a Qantas Club member which gives me a few extra comforts when traveling overseas like, one extra case up to 23 kilos - giving me a total of three cases, plus my cabin carry on and laptop.
I have access to the Qantas Club at Brisbane, Sydney LAX and Dallas to have a hot shower before a long haul flight, eat, drink and free access to the internet etc.Qantas operates from all major capital cities with-in Australia and flies ex Sydney to LAX Dallas Fort-worth direct.
If you book all the way with Qantas to your final destination in New Mexico they are partnered with American Airlines, so once you clear US Customs at your port of entry you can re-check your bags with American Airlines on to you NM destination on the same day.
Step 5. Taking A Bow Or Rifle To North America
Taking a bow to North America is no big deal on Qantas as long as you have a suitable secure and strong case with padlocks fitted. I find you use the term ARCHERY EQUIPMENT is easy and more accepted than a bow and arrows.
Taking a rifle is possible but requires import paper work from the USA and Export/Import paperwork from your Australian State and Government departments. You can buy your factory ammunition over in the USA.
This paperwork generally requires at least three months to be processed and your flight details are normally required to lodge this paper work.
Step 6. Suitable Clothing
Talk with Jordan about suitable cloths to hunt in and the likely temperatures you will hunt in but remember is America and temps change hourly and daily at times so be prepared. Hunting cloths and gear are available much cheaper in the US and offer a great selection that we never see in Australia.
Its not a bad idea to have a few extra days before the hunt, hire a care just make sure you have FULL AUTO INSURANCE.at in mind if you leave a couple of days earlier to do some shopping in Albuquerque NM.
I suggest you have two releases, enough arrows set up to practice and hunt with, talk with Jordan about the correct broad-heads to bring or buy over there.
A spare bow string is a great must have and or a back up bow all ready set up.
Step 7 Taking Precautions
Take out full medical insurance before you leave Australia, as its a must have have in-case of sickness, theft, or other problems don't do it with the airlines as its do not give you real value or access I use https://www.scti.com.au/use this company
Step 8. To be continued...