Traveling with hook.

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gabrielgartner
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Traveling with hook.

Post by gabrielgartner » November 17th, 2015, 9:01 am

Hi all,

I have never traveled with a hook but will be for a South America trip this year. I have several standard field hooks, none of which will fit in my large backpack I'm bringing. How do you all travel with hooks or do you just bring collapsible hooks? If I need to purchase collapsible gear, any suggestions on personal favorites?

Cheers,
Gabriel.

P.s. I did a brief forum search and didn't see anything, so my apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere.

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reptologist
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by reptologist » November 17th, 2015, 10:59 am

Every situation could be different but my own personal experience is I had no problems with collapsible tongs in a carry on bag several times in Costa Rica and Panama. Then on a trip to Panama they let me bring them into the country and then refused to let me carry them on the return flight. I ended up just leaving them at the airport because no one in my party had any checked bags so I did not want to make everyone wait. Also they told me I had to leave and go back out, check the tongs and then clear security again. It just wasn't worth the cost of the tongs.

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chrish
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by chrish » November 17th, 2015, 5:07 pm


hellihooks
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by hellihooks » November 18th, 2015, 6:45 am

while admittedly within the US... i just went to a nursury when i got where i was going and bought a collaspable 3-prong potato rake, for a few bucks... worked fine... :thumb:

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tomharten
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by tomharten » November 18th, 2015, 9:32 am

I got this one from Midwest Tongs in my carry-on for a trip to FL last year. Works well. Now I keep it under the front seat of my car to escort copperheads off the road when we cross paths here in Maryland.

http://tongs.com/collapsiblehookwithnarrowhookend.aspx

Kfen
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by Kfen » November 18th, 2015, 11:02 am

Get a collapsible hook from John Zegel. You will not regret it. My Midwest collapsible broke with limited use, as did a friend's. The John Zegel hooks are bulletproof. (Except when you use it as a baseball bat with a rock, but that's my own stupidity. And for the record it just put a small dent in it.)

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lateralis
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by lateralis » November 20th, 2015, 7:55 am

I've had mixed results in Central America. Had no problems in Yucatan and Honduras but ended up "donating" a pair to the good people in Belize. No reason to use tongs so never bring them but a simple stick made in the field wrangled everything from Bothrops to micrurus. Non-venomous does not require much more than the two things attached to the ends of our arms. I prefer to travel lite, dragging something along that draws attention is usually not a good thing either sooooo improvise and adapt are words to live by when traveling abroad. Good luck and don't play with anything too dicey - a bite down there could be more than you want to deal with financially.
Cheers
Lat

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tomharten
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by tomharten » November 20th, 2015, 8:55 am

Another friend purchased a collapsible aluminum walking stick. It works fine for helping to position a snake for a photo and probably appears a bit more innocuous to TSA or other baggage inspectors. Won't work well to flip things or to hook anything with size. But he never brings a hook when he travels and manages some great photos.

rtdunham
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by rtdunham » November 20th, 2015, 9:55 pm

hellihooks wrote:while admittedly within the US... i just went to a nursury when i got where i was going and bought a collaspable 3-prong potato rake, for a few bucks... worked fine... :thumb:
Yeah, I did that on a trip to California a couple years ago, when I packed only a carry-on. Left the rake behind, but liked it so much i bought three of them when I got home.

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chrish
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by chrish » November 22nd, 2015, 5:18 am

I think the take home from all of this, particularly if you read back to the two other threads about this is that anything you try to carry on can be confiscated (or you will be faced with the choice of not getting on your flight or throwing away your expensive hook).

You really need to consider whether your really need one.

And then there is the extra hassle you can have for being in some of those areas with a hook in the first place. Some people don't care, but you could run into authorities somewhere who might take it from you because they don't trust/understand your intentions with it. This is particularly true if you are going to be in a park or other protected area. They see a hook as an intention to collect.

So if you want to take a hook:

1. Get something you can disassemble or collapse.
2. Check it in your luggage, don't try to carry it on.
3. Be aware that you might be asked to give it up.

One solution I have used many, many years ago was that I used to buy a cheap aluminum rifle cleaning rod set (the three piece type that screw together) and flatten file the end down until it is smooth and make a good hook. Then pack those three pieces (don't leave it in the bag that says "gun cleaning"!) and when you get to your location, you can easily bend the end into a nice hook shape. They aren't strong enough to flip stuff, but you can manipulate animals with them.

Now my solution is either no hook or use the my 30" Stumpripper which will fit in a suitcase or duffelbag full of clothes (to be checked).

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by BillMcGighan » November 22nd, 2015, 6:11 am

I think Chris' post pretty well sums it up.

For 25 years I traveled on average every 3 weeks, to somewhere in the US or other countries for 1 - 2 weeks at a time.
Except for a couple trips where I bought a hoe and broke off the blade, Lat's,
a simple stick made in the field wrangled everything from Bothrops to micrurus.
, worked fine for all nature of beasties.

Losing equipment to security, even in the developed nations, can happen in a blink.

If you're a researcher, going to be somewhere for a good while, and require a quality tool, FEDEX works well.

Seemingly paradoxically, I did hand carry a fly rod in a protective tube on better than 50% of those trips. It ran through X-ray fine. Even the slowest TSA agent can appreciate a "fishing pole". Funny that not one agent on dozens of trips, foreign or domestic, ever opened the tube. I even had a French security guy joke with his buddy, hold the green plastic tube on his shoulder like a rocket launcher (looked like an M72 LAW.) :lol: :roll:

gabrielgartner
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by gabrielgartner » November 23rd, 2015, 10:57 pm

tomharten wrote:Another friend purchased a collapsible aluminum walking stick. It works fine for helping to position a snake for a photo and probably appears a bit more innocuous to TSA or other baggage inspectors. Won't work well to flip things or to hook anything with size. But he never brings a hook when he travels and manages some great photos.
Good advice...I just need something to position animals or even more likely, move an errant twig or vine out of view when dealing. I only ask because we're going to places where we will be allowed to do these things.

Jon-m
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by Jon-m » December 3rd, 2015, 5:22 pm

This may be a bit late for the OP, but I just recently got back from a trip to Nicaragua and I traveled from the US with a very sentimental non-collapsible hook. Mine is slightly shorter than standard, but still too long to be fit fully into a backbacking bag ( about a quarter of it would extend from the bag). I was very concerned about losing this to customs, so I spent some time working out the details.
Traveling to Nica I didn't want to check my backpack as luggage, so my solution was to just check the hook in a suitable cardboard box (picked up for free from a golf club store), which I clearly labeled as "a tool for handling snakes" (which was important, because TSA clearly opened the box to inspect it more than once along the way).

Once we got to Nica, I just tossed the box and went along with the hook sticking out of my backpack the whole trip. We flew around Nica once on their national airline and just checked it sticking out of my bag (small plane) ... no one gave it any mind at all or asked a single question about it. For the return flight to the US I didn't mind checking my backpack as luggage, so I fastened the hook to my backpack with zip-ties (and another little note saying what it was), and checked the whole thing. No security issues at all coming back, and the hook was a very handy tool during the trip.

All in, it was not a hassle at all and definitely worth bringing along.

Jon

Jimi
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by Jimi » December 4th, 2015, 8:18 am

I concur with the summary "gin up something on the spot, and don't burden yourself with a commercial hook". Like, just find a big stick to flick snakes off the road. Also repeating for emphasis - seriously, attend to your safety while traveling. The more I watch people taking photos of venomous snakes, the more I think "I don't even want to be here to see this bite happen and get sucked into its aftermath". Objects in viewfinder are closer than they appear!

But if you're hell-bent on taking and using a hook, by all means don't try to wrangle e.g. a beefy terciopelo or C. simus with a short or possibly flopping hook. Go long and go stout.
so I fastened the hook to my backpack with zip-ties (and another little note saying what it was), and checked the whole thing
Clearly this can work sometimes. I don't think it'll work all the time. Between the potential for damaging luggage, and possibly injuring the people who throw the luggage onto and off of airplanes and carts, I just don't see this being a dependable or even very responsible or ethical solution. However I will say that - in my experience - foreign airlines seem much more able to mentally cope with "weird-looking stuff" than domestic airlines.
I just tossed the box and went along with the hook sticking out of my backpack the whole trip
If it's the handle end sticking out, I think this is much better than just zip-tied to the outside; it might also be acceptable to the airlines. I once traversed Central America and Mexico, mostly by bus but also with several flights, with a long Colombian machete in my backpack. The handle stuck out the top, and/so that I could get the sucker out pretty quick if I packed it in there right. The machete is in my garage right now, I still use it for certain yardwork tasks, e.g., dealing with rampant vines. (FWIW, I walked back into the US, and this was before 9/11 - I don't know that one could tote that huge-ass knife back into the states today.)

Finally, I'll put in a plug for Alaska Airlines. They are the surfers' choice because of their no-hassles, totally predictable, non-usurious way of charging for "weird luggage". I think if you were traveling in a group, with a number of items longer than fit into your luggage, it might be worthwhile to compile those items into a golf-club box (or a home-made box) and check it. Keeping the box for the return leg.

cheers

Jon-m
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by Jon-m » December 8th, 2015, 12:50 pm

Jimi wrote:.....
so I fastened the hook to my backpack with zip-ties (and another little note saying what it was), and checked the whole thing
Clearly this can work sometimes. I don't think it'll work all the time. Between the potential for damaging luggage, and possibly injuring the people who throw the luggage onto and off of airplanes and carts, I just don't see this being a dependable or even very responsible or ethical solution. However I will say that - in my experience - foreign airlines seem much more able to mentally cope with "weird-looking stuff" than domestic airlines.
I just tossed the box and went along with the hook sticking out of my backpack the whole trip
If it's the handle end sticking out, I think this is much better than just zip-tied to the outside; it might also be acceptable to the airlines. I once traversed Central America and Mexico, mostly by bus but also with several flights, with a long Colombian machete in my backpack. The handle stuck out the top, and/so that I could get the sucker out pretty quick if I packed it in there right. The machete is in my garage right now, I still use it for certain yardwork tasks, e.g., dealing with rampant vines. (FWIW, I walked back into the US, and this was before 9/11 - I don't know that one could tote that huge-ass knife back into the states today.)
....
cheers
Hello Jimi,
I may be taking this much worse than it was intended, but I don't believe it's fair or appropriate to call into question the ethics and responsibility of someone you've never met over something so benign as this. I'm sure that nothing I wrote originally could construe my planning and/or packing for my own trip as flippant or under-thought, so I truly don't appreciate such a harsh denigration of my character from a stranger.

As I said originally, I traveled with a substandard length hook, and a full backpacking pack. If you're familiar with these type packs you'll note that they very often have loop fasteners on the sides to hold collapsible hiking poles, and they always have waterbottle holders on the bottom-side, that very conveniently happen to fit the head of a snake hook like a glove. See the link below. Slip the hook shaft through the loops, slide the hook head down into the water bottle holder, zip tie the whole thing to the pack for extra security. That leaves a few inches of the rubber hook handle sticking up above the top of the bag, and renders the whole thing no more dangerous than the metal rods already running through the frame of the pack. A simple, straight forward packing job for backpackers that I didn't think needed such thorough explanation, but if you were unsure of what I meant you could have asked before accusing.

http://www.rei.com/product/878451/ospre ... 65-ag-pack

If you've ever spent time watching planes being loaded and unloaded, you would know that this would be the least dangerous thing for the workers to encounter, and luggage is abused in far worse ways by those individuals than it could ever be by a snake hook.

Thanks,

Jon

Jimi
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Re: Traveling with hook.

Post by Jimi » December 8th, 2015, 4:32 pm

Hi Jon, nice to meet you.
I may be taking this much worse than it was intended
Definitely, but these things happen. And I acknowledge my own responsibility for the shared misunderstanding. If I could elaborate - I think putting people and their property at risk of damage is generally irresponsible (admittedly, sometimes it's necessary and completely responsible). I don't mind saying so, because I want other people to think about it too. It's awfully easy to just get into a situation, and then wish you weren't in that situation - it's even worse if it was something that was easily prevented. Worst of all is when you're on the receiving end of a situation, like if you were in a car wreck caused by someone texting while driving. Anyway, perhaps I'm over-sensitized to reckless behavior, and see it where it is not.
loop fasteners on the sides to hold collapsible hiking poles, and they always have waterbottle holders on the bottom-side, that very conveniently happen to fit the head of a snake hook like a glove. See the link below. Slip the hook shaft through the loops, slide the hook head down into the water bottle holder, zip tie the whole thing to the pack for extra security. That leaves a few inches of the rubber hook handle sticking up above the top of the bag, and renders the whole thing no more dangerous than the metal rods already running through the frame of the pack.
Thanks for the clarification. I think if one can make absolutely sure the hook stays down in the bottle-pocket, that would take care of most of the risk. If the shaft gets bent or broken it could still be a nasty cutting or penetrating device on flesh or fabric. And if the hook winds up outside the bottle-pocket - same concern, more about poking than slicing though.
A simple, straight forward packing job for backpackers that I didn't think needed such thorough explanation, but if you were unsure of what I meant you could have asked before accusing.
Yeah, I guess I was careless - sorry about that. I own about 5 backpacks (kind of a graduated set) but haven't long-term, long-distance traveled out of one in a LONG time (rip-offs taught me to stop that). I also have some of those hiking poles you mention and have attached them like you note. So I could have tried harder to picture what you may have meant. And to compound my carelessness, you are taking it much more personally accusatory ("harsh denigration of my character") than I ever intended. Anyway I think this discussion might have been instructive for readers - both for the clearer picture of your rig, and also the mature way you noted and I'm responding in a "conflict".

I still think the best - the surest, safest - thing for the tool, the luggage, and the handlers would be to box and check it separately. And I'll add that I've taken quite a few international trips without a hook and have had very few regrets about that. Those regrets I've had, have been much more about lacking a safe handy flipping & grubbing tool, than a purpose-built snake-manipulation tool (again, for that I prefer to either just McGuyver something disposable once in-country, or take a completely hands-off approach to all encounters).

The stupidest moves I've made, by far, with venomous snakes (and there have been some dandies!) have all been with hooks. A couple hours from good help in the US is one thing, a dozen or more hours from mediocre help in the 3rd world is another thing entirely.

Finally, a safe handy flipping & grubbing tool can be shorter-handled (and fit into luggage...) than a snake-handling tool. Just something for readers to consider. I might look for one of those collapsible potato rakes someone mentioned.

Cheers

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