Over in Zimbabwe, that police and customs crackdown on gun and ammo import paperwork we've been telling you about does not appear to be causing any more problems for arriving hunters. Continuing subscribers know US booking agent, Bruce Grant, as well as an American shooter who crossed over into Zimbabwe with ammunition after a recognized international shooting competition in South Africa, both spent time in jail this spring for inadvertently failing to declare ammunition in their bags. At this writing the gun problems appear to be abating, not because there has been any relaxation of customs procedures, but simply because arriving hunters have gotten the message about the need to declare every gun and every round of ammunition in their bags, paying close attention to gun serial numbers to be sure they are properly entered on arrival forms. The only new incident we have heard about actually took place last September. It is worth describing it here because it points up a problem other subscribers might have.
Seems Hunting Report subscriber Rodney Lockard arrived in Harare last fall to discover that his guns had been mislaid along the way. Acting on instructions from custom officials, he filled out the necessary paperwork for both his gun and his ammunition and left it with them so they could clear the gun when it arrived and send it on up to him in Victoria Falls. Figuring all was in order, Lockard proceeded to try and board a plane to Victoria Falls, only to be pulled out of line by security officials who had found ammunition in his bag. When Lockard could not produce a Declarations Form for the ammo, he was accused of being a smuggler and was told he was under arrest. He says it took more than five hours to straighten out the problem and, even then, after it was clear what had happened, police officials still wanted to arrest him. All that prevented his being arrested, he says, was a tough stance by customs officials. The moral of this story, of course, is to be very careful entering Zimbabwe right now with a gun........(continued)