Just cleared my own trophies... easy!
I just wanted to post for those who are interested in clearing their own trophies, as I just got home from collecting my animals from our June trip to South Africa. I had 2 crates, including a warthog (which has to be signed off by USDA). I was amazed at how easy it was to clear my own stuff. I orginally decided to do this to save money, as business is very tough for me lately, and I didn't want to pay the customs broker $400 to clear my shipment and then give it to a trucking company for shipment to my taxidermist. Keep in mind, I live only a little over 2 hours from San Francisco, so this was feasible for me when it might not be for others who live farther away from your point of entry airport.
I made one significant mistake that cost me 3 hours of waiting around, and that was my own fault. I thought I could just drop into the Department of Agriculture office to clear the warthog, but when I called them all the inspectors were already out in the field clearing other shipments, so I had to wait for someone to return to get my paperwork and then go over to Swissair's cargo facility. Other than that avoidable glitch, the whole thing took about 30 minutes between going to Fish and Wildlife's office and getting their sign off, going to USDA and getting theirs and then going to US Customs and getting their release signatures. I was surprised at how easy it was to do, and FWS's "e declaration" system is a breeze to use. You siimply go onto the US Fish and Wildlife website, find the import/export page, go to 'edecs' and fill out for form. You submit it online to the airport where your shipment is coming and they advise you when you can come clear it.
I found the officers with Fish and Wildlife, Agriculture and Customs to all be friendly, professional and effiicient. I'll definitely clear my next shipment myself after this experience. I saved about $400, which is part of a trophy fee or extra day of hunting expense.
If anyone is contemplating clearing their own animals and needs assistance, feel free to message me and I'll help walk you through the steps to clear your own trophies, it's easy.