Travel Tips for Completing the North American Waterfowl Slam | Field & Stream

Travel Tips for Completing the North American Waterfowl Slam

Packing a gun case for travel hunting

Bard's gun case, packed with essentials.

Andrew Hetherington

If you aspire to complete the North American Waterfowl Slam, plan on a lot of travel. Beyond that, here are a few helpful tips from Mike Bard, the slam man himself. Read the full story behind Bard's slam here.

Case Study: Rip the foam out of your hard-shell gun case. Line the bottom with a full day’s worth of clothing, then set in your gun, binoculars, and other fragile items on top. Next, line the top of the case with a set of outerwear, ensuring it’s all packed snug. Airlines tend to delay regular luggage, but firearms are flagged as “must fly,” so you have a better chance that your gun case will arrive without issue.

Social Network: Many of Bard’s ducks and geese came through a loose network of waterfowlers, who trade advice, hunts, and even gear online, all in pursuit of knocking a few more birds off the list. You can do this, too: Build a network of other hunters, offer to take them out to your spots, and opportunities will happen. Well-traveled hunters are the best guys to ask for recommendations on outfitters in places like Alaska where you have to hire a guide.

Trophy Luggage: When Bard shoots one for the wall, he dabs away any blood and mud with a cotton rag, then double-bags the bird in two 1-gallon Ziploc bags, which he carries into the field. Bard’s taxidermist, Tim Schloss (tim​schloss​­taxidermy.com), says to forget storing birds in panty hose, which can twist feathers, or wrapping them in newspaper, which draws away moisture. As soon as possible, get the bird into a freezer. Bard travels with his frozen birds as a carry-on in a soft-sided cooler.

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