Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

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AndyO'Connor
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Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 24th, 2013, 6:17 pm

Wondering if anyone has suggestions for flying with snake hooks? I'd like to take my hook along (sentimental and all) on trips where it could be used, but it's 44 inches long and won't fit in any of my current luggage. Most airlines have a linear inches total of 62 inches which makes me wonder how anyone travels with those 36-44 inch duffel bags? Also I see people with golf clubs and fishing rods at the airport, do they just pay extra fees? I also would need room for clothing and such, but I was just wondering what other people do, especially people that fly to far away places and take a week+ worth of supplies with them?

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Rancorrye » July 24th, 2013, 7:43 pm

My wife just bought me a midwest collapsible hook for my birthday. Folds down to 17 inches and extends to 39 inches. So far I haven't had any complaints about it. That might be an option for you.

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Rich in Reptiles
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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Rich in Reptiles » July 24th, 2013, 7:48 pm

I was just about to say.... i also have a collapsible Midwest snakehook too lol! Same thing as Rye's, works great and is great quality. I wouldn't want to hold an adult Eastern diamondback with it, but you get the idea.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Rothdigga » July 24th, 2013, 8:27 pm

I take my non-collapsable one in my Dakine Bag that fits it (barely) diagonally. But mostly I also travel with a collapsable one. I haven't yet tried to bring it as a carry-on, only because I'm afraid I'll get it taken away. I'm about 90% sure that I can bring it along as a carry-on, but not enough to go through the hassle of having to check it if they detain me.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Tim Borski » July 24th, 2013, 8:50 pm

I always carry a hook/flipping tool with me. It fits in the bottom of my checked bag. Also, I travel with fishing rods (3 piece) often. It's rare that anybody questions them but when they do, I tell them to put them in the "closet" up front. I've never been denied.


Tim

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by M Wolverton » July 24th, 2013, 9:44 pm

You could find a long cardboard box (similar to a fishing pole tube) and/or ship it to your destination and pick it up when you get there.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 24th, 2013, 9:57 pm

Thanks for the replies. Buying a different hook like a collapsible one isn't something I'm interested in. I didn't think about just carrying it on like a cane or something and I bet the only time it'd be a problem would be the pre-gate security. I found a 40" long duffle I bet it'd fit in diagonally, but I think that might get charged as an oversized bag since it's technically over the 62" total linear measurements. I'll look into carrying it on. I wonder if people take walking poles on board.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » July 25th, 2013, 3:12 am

You could tell pre-gate security that you ALWAYS fly with your snake hook, ever since you saw "Snakes on a Plane." Just in case.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Daniel D Dye » July 25th, 2013, 3:59 am

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:You could tell pre-gate security that you ALWAYS fly with your snake hook, ever since you saw "Snakes on a Plane." Just in case.
:lol:

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 25th, 2013, 4:44 am

If you ever do find yourself in the market for a hook, I would recommend NOT going with midwest. Every experience I've had with their products and service has been sub-par so far. John Zegel makes a nice collapsible hook: http://fieldventures.wordpress.com/2012 ... ible-hook/

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Jon Wedow
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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Jon Wedow » July 25th, 2013, 6:15 am

Hockey bag with wheels. Fits everything .. literally you could travel with a kitchen sink if you wanted. As long as I'm within weight I have never had a problem with the size.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 25th, 2013, 7:18 am

Thanks for the info Jon, I will look into that. I wondered if they were strict with inches if you are within weight. I'll see if I can find a hockey bag or similar at goodwill or somewhere similar.

Josh, I am also an anti-midwest guy at this point. My first two hooks were midwest, one snapped in half when I fell down a hill and rolled over it while it was suspended between rocks and the other broke when I used it to push off from shore in a canoe. Granted both of these were my fault, but my stumpripper can handle both of those tasks.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 25th, 2013, 7:48 pm

Well after several recommendations from several people who's opinions hold weight in my book, I am going to see if I can get a Zegel collapsible hook in time. I requested him as a friend on facebook, does anybody know how else to order one, I couldn't find a website of his.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by chrish » July 26th, 2013, 9:25 am

Rothdigga wrote:I take my non-collapsable one in my Dakine Bag that fits it (barely) diagonally. But mostly I also travel with a collapsable one. I haven't yet tried to bring it as a carry-on, only because I'm afraid I'll get it taken away. I'm about 90% sure that I can bring it along as a carry-on, but not enough to go through the hassle of having to check it if they detain me.
I once tried to bring my collapsible hook (Furmont model I've had since 1984) in my carry-on bag. When it showed up on the X-ray, they asked me what it was. I tried to explain and they didn't seem to know what to do. Finally the TSA supervisor came over to talk to me. He asked me what it was used for and I explained. He didn't know what to do. He finally asked if I would classify it as a "tool". I said, "ok,...sure, it is a tool for manipulating animals". He responded by telling that "tools" were on the list of prohibited items and because I had said this was a "tool" and over 7 inches long it couldn't be brought on the plane!

In hindsight, I should have said "no, it's a toy".

Check your bags if they have herping gear.

As for how to carry hooks, I've always though a golf club bag would work for this task and not attract any undue attention.
I once carried some snake hooks to Indonesia in a rifle case since it was the right shape. Big mistake there! :roll:

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 26th, 2013, 11:35 am

Well since finding a bag large enough for my 44" long stumpripper was a problem (would have cost me $50ish for the bag, and still might have been charged as an oversized item by the airlines) I chose to order the highly recommended collapsible medium field hook from John Zegel. It was similarly priced to buying a new bag, and will fit in my existing baggage plans.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by VanAR » July 26th, 2013, 12:58 pm

I'm not a big fan of collapsible handling tools because most of them are not very strong, IMO. I prefer to pack shorter-length hooks/tongs in checked bags. I've found that a 24-30" set of tongs works for nearly every snake I'm likely to encounter.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by M Wolverton » July 26th, 2013, 3:16 pm

If you get selected for hand search, be sure to tell the guy to really bear down on the beanbag area. If he hesitates, tell him his mom grips it like she's trying to extract nectar from a stone and he should do the same.

Call the stewardess an air waitress. After she warms up to you, change it to air mattress.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Mike VanValen » July 26th, 2013, 3:28 pm

chrish wrote:
I once tried to bring my collapsible hook (Furmont model I've had since 1984) in my carry-on bag. When it showed up on the X-ray, they asked me what it was. I tried to explain and they didn't seem to know what to do. Finally the TSA supervisor came over to talk to me. He asked me what it was used for and I explained. He didn't know what to do. He finally asked if I would classify it as a "tool". I said, "ok,...sure, it is a tool for manipulating animals". He responded by telling that "tools" were on the list of prohibited items and because I had said this was a "tool" and over 7 inches long it couldn't be brought on the plane!

In hindsight, I should have said "no, it's a toy".
They got you good. I've always imagined it would go something similar to your experience, which is why I never bothered to fly with my hook.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 26th, 2013, 3:44 pm

VanAR wrote:I'm not a big fan of collapsible handling tools because most of them are not very strong, IMO. I prefer to pack shorter-length hooks/tongs in checked bags. I've found that a 24-30" set of tongs works for nearly every snake I'm likely to encounter.
Well Van, I felt the same too but apparently the hooks that John is making are contrary to that school of thought, and anyways, fully collapsed, it's still 26" which is a good size. I'm not a big fan of tongs, I've seen even careful people damage a snake's skin with them.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by VanAR » July 26th, 2013, 4:02 pm

You can get shorter hooks, too. M1 and whitney-style tongs are much less dangerous for snakes than pilstrom snake scissors. You can still pinch smaller species with the tooth in the front, but with careful use they can be 100% safe. If they injure the snake, they aren't being used properly, pure and simple.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Erik Williams » July 27th, 2013, 8:02 am

I check tongs and hooks in a $10 rifle case. They always want to open it and inspect it, so I always show them exactly what's inside right away. Usually it shows up at my destination with about a roll each of three kinds of tape wrapped around it and crudely scrawled notes that it is snake handling equipment. I guess they are being extra careful that I don't lose my valuable investments.

The rifle case is nice because I can also shove some flashlights, a camera monopod, and any other heavy, long and skinny things inside and it still won't weigh more than ten pounds.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by SnakeDude » July 27th, 2013, 4:34 pm

I have a 36 inch midwest gentle giant tong and its just awshum. I've always brought it onto the plane with me, no problemo. same with my longboard, which is just a bit shorter.

Ian

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by chrish » July 27th, 2013, 9:20 pm

Erik Williams wrote:I check tongs and hooks in a $10 rifle case. They always want to open it and inspect it, so I always show them exactly what's inside right away. Usually it shows up at my destination with about a roll each of three kinds of tape wrapped around it and crudely scrawled notes that it is snake handling equipment. I guess they are being extra careful that I don't lose my valuable investments.

The rifle case is nice because I can also shove some flashlights, a camera monopod, and any other heavy, long and skinny things inside and it still won't weigh more than ten pounds.
Rifle cases are great, as long as you stay within the boundaries of the US or go places with liberal gun laws that also frequently receive hunters as travelers (South Africa, for example). Otherwise, you are asking for a long stop in customs.

One trip when I brought my snake hooks in a rifle case into Kalimantan (Borneo), I happened to luckily glance out the window as they started to unload the plane and see a group of police pick up my (locked) rifle case and walk off to a different area of the airport. I carefully watched what building they went into and after I got my other bags at customs I walked over to that building where I found them looking at my case having a rather loud conversation in bahasa indonesia. I opened it, showed them the contents and they laughed and let me go. But If I hadn't looked out the window at the right moment, I would never have known what happened to my rifle case.

Even traveling around indonesia by car and pulling the case out of the trunk got me in trouble a couple of times.

Military-looking gear is never a good idea in many countries of the world (including stuff like camo clothes).

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by reptologist » July 29th, 2013, 5:17 pm

I saw this post and wanted to comment. I traveled to Panama for a week of fishing and herping and took my collapsible Mid West Tings. We only travel with carry-on bags and I had taken it to Costa Rica a couple of times prior with no problems. They allowed me to enter the country with it but when it was time to leave they waited till my party all cleared security and then told me that I could not have them in my bag. The hassle and time restraints kept me from leaving and going back through security to check it so I decided to leave it there.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Bostaff of Asclepius » July 30th, 2013, 5:42 pm

I have traveled with my snake hook (non-collapsible) multiple times across the world by placing a golf club cover over the hook and firmly zip-tying it to the external frame of my backpack. I've had very few problems with the exception of Qantas airlines; I removed the snake hook from the frame and simply placed it within a ski bag provided by the airlines.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by JakeScott » July 30th, 2013, 6:49 pm

Midwest collapsible hook is the worst piece of garbage I've ever purchased. I brought down to the Amazon with me for it's first use. I got there and it literally broke the first time I brought it out, and I didn't even hook anything. It basically just fell apart. I felt like Wile E. Coyote.

-Jake

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by Terry » August 2nd, 2013, 4:40 pm

I took my collapsible gentle giant tongs to Indonesia this year. I got a lot of inquiries from TSA but when I explained what they were for they expressed fear or amazement (depending on the agent) and let me go.

I'd think hard about taking them again. I never used them once, opting for a broken stick instead. They were certainly a good conversation piece in the various villages I visited.

Terry

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by DaneConley » August 3rd, 2013, 9:14 am

I have a 40" hook and I just shoved it in their diagonally, stretches the bag out a bit. But I traveled from Virginia to St. Louis last week with it just fine.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by reptileexperts » August 5th, 2013, 10:53 am

I travel all over central and south america with my gear. I do not like the collapsible hook from midwest as others have pointed out, but I love my collapsible gentle giants, and have never had any hassel checking them at security in my luggage. I also travel with a micro 14" hook that I use for smaller snakes at the house, works great for young snakes in the field also. I do miss a pro field hook like the stump ripper, but this solution has worked well for me in Panama, Ecuador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by ncphinsfan13 » August 5th, 2013, 1:21 pm

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:You could tell pre-gate security that you ALWAYS fly with your snake hook, ever since you saw "Snakes on a Plane." Just in case.
Image

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Re: Traveling with snake hooks and other gear?

Post by jason folt » August 10th, 2013, 6:18 pm

My wife used to play lacrosse and I have stolen her old stick bag in the past. It fits snake hooks, tongs, water bottles, socks, shirts etc pretty well. It doesn't offer the best protection, but most of the stuff I pack in there isn't really damagable. I am sure one wouldn't be too much to pick up. It would count as an extra bag though, and has those associated fees. That being said, I also picked up one of John Zegel's collapsible hooks. Forget everything you know about collapsible hooks. He uses different base materials, made to withstand. It isn't quite as light as the midwest collapsible, and is a small amount heavier than a general field tong, but falls much closer to a stump ripper in strength. Of course a collapsible hook will never be the same strength, but his come close. I had him custom make my hook with the stumpripper/field hook style hook, and not a curved traditional hook. I always carried/carry a stump ripper so I am more comfortable handling snakes with that style hook, and it better serves my needs as a hiking stick and weed wacker (not a ton of venomous snakes here in MI). It also comes in a few inches shorter that way, and fits easily in my backpack or a suitcase.

I have also traveled with the collapsible M1 tongs. They are pretty darn sturdy, I just don't love using tongs. They are a bit heavy though and don't work as well as a hiking stick.

Anyway, best of luck in your search.

Jason

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