Lessons Learned from Shipping Trophies Home

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by desertloper, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. desertloper

    desertloper AH Veteran

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    Like many other 2012 hunters, our trophies are scheduled to come back to the states next month.

    What are the lessons you've learned from your experiences?

    Sea/Air, insure? Clearing customs, etc.

    I'm not even sure what all the details are-our taxi is on top of the details-just thought I'd get input from those who've done it themselves.
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I have only done Air, so can not speak to Water. (5 Separate shipments, 3 of my own; Four Different shipping Companies)

    Get quotes early for your anticipated trophy list. thus a budget.
    Describe accurately the type of mounts you are having done.

    The initial "estimate", not a "quote" will usually be high. The initial estimates tend to use the "reserved" or courier rates at this point and then when actually starting the shipment the invoice will be based on "consolidated". Thus the cost will be slightly lower. Thus a surprised happy hunter.

    The Air rates are based on volume and/or weight. Whichever way it costs you more is the one you will pay.
    Good crating matters.

    Be VERY specific about your location. Many assume you live in the US.
    Be VERY specific about the ROUTING required. There are many routes and countries, they all go through Joburg though.
    There are many countries that have rules you do not want to encounter. eg. USA if you live in Canada

    Get pictures of your mounts from the taxidermist BEFORE they are packed.
    Get pictures of your mounts in the crate.

    Your trophies will be air shipped in "consolidated" shipping. When there is room on a plane your trophies will move along the route.
    That is the case with each plane change. (Even though you are paying the same amount as you would to reserve yourself a return flight home.)

    The rates:
    Insurance: Do they really have a policy??
    Amazing little lines of detail where you can hide bill padding.
    Look at the invoices closely. Audit.

    BUGS, BUGS, BUGS:
    Get them to throw a bunch of mothballs in when they close the box.
    Biggest issue for rejection at customs (other than papers)
    The warehouse workers here hate the stink and they will want it out asap. Guarantees your phone call on arrival.
    It also reduces the likelihood of you having to pay for fumigation here at home. Lots of $$$$$.

    Online tracking is great, if they choose to enter the information enroute.
    Strikes, work slow downs and other exciting events will leave your trophies in some digital information void.
    Someone went on coffee break when your shipment came in or was moved. (Airline or Customs.) "No record of your shipment sir"

    Bureaucracy:
    One Airline (B.A.) would not allow one shipper to send Warthog tusks, meanwhile another shipper just sent another hunters Warthog tusks by the same airline a week before. Confirmed policy in writing.
    Why they refused one and not the other? Bureaucrat, bribes, monopoly
    The ongoing headache was amazing; $, frustration and delays.

    If you have the energy and time you can clear your own trophies. Typically, pay the couple hundred bucks and just get someone capable to do it.


    You are a hostage to your choice so you better trust who you choose.

    There are no deals. They know you have to ship the stuff, get over it at this point.

    I used to hate Euro mounts. My opinion has transformed. :)
     
  3. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    :agree:

    Don't think I could have said if better myself. Now that I have been once. It's euro mounts from here on out. With pictures. It's a process like Brick said, and you are at there mercy. From what reasearch I did for my stuff. Ocean was just not with the $$ for me. Air is a little more but a lot faster. A customs broker is a good thing if you do kit have the time to clear yourself. and like was alredy mentioned get as many quotes as you can. Before you know it they will be hanging on the wall!!
     
  4. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    Most aspects of the process and your options have been well covered in the first post.

    However, I would like to add a few more suggestions from my expereinces... You can clear your own trophies, but there are some stipulations to consider. Only mounted(finished trophies) can be cleared on the U.S side without a valid vetinary cetificate. In other words, if you are only receiving finished mounts and tanned hides then you can clear your own trophies. If you are receiving any Dip & Packed parts, your trophy parts will not be released to anyone not in possession of a valid vetinary cetificate which all licensed taxidermists should have. Therefore you will either need your taxidermist to provide a certificate on your behalf or have a clearing agent work with your taxidermist of choice to clear the trophy parts on your behalf. There are members here who may tell you that they received unfinished parts and did not have to do this... I will tell you that they got extremely lucky. For the few hundred extra it may cost, an experienced, licensed & bonded clearing agent is worth every penny in dealing with the headaches for you....

    All swine(warthogs, bush pigs) and primates (monkeys and baboons) need to be packed separately from other animals. They can be in the same crate, they just must be packed separately and marked accordingly. Some shippers will try to ship two separate crates to charge you for double crating and shipping. You should instruct them that this is not necessary, and that separation within the same crate is perfectly acceptable for USDA inspections.

    Also, keep in mind that you have the right and final say as to who your shipping company will be. Many African taxidermists/Dip & Packers recommend a shipping company to you or simply pick one for you. They commonly receive commissions from the shipping companies that they recommend. Make sure to ask them to give you several shipping options from different shippers. And lastly, ask your taxidermist/Dip & Packer to provide you with a written estimate before you send money. All reputable companies should already do this for you. They should be willing to offer you an itemized invoice of your exact costs. The only cost they cannot predetermine exactly will be the actual freight shipping cost, but they should be able to give you a very close estimate. I would not use any company that is hesitant or refuses to do this. Ultimatley, your host outfitter is your best resource to ask questions and discuss your options before your hunt. Ask them who they use for their clients and why... I would also research references on the companies that they intend to use....
     
  5. desertloper

    desertloper AH Veteran

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    Thanks. I've heard that costs just seem to continue to build throughout the process. Living in Nebraska, some of the initial research quotes came back as air being more economical....either way it's gonna be a big box.
     
  6. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    It can seem that the costs are never-ending, but if you do your homework, it shouldn't be too dificult to find the best way to get your trophies to your door.

    Air freight is usually actually more expensive, but not so much more than to make sea freight a better option for most. If you hunted anywhere in South Africa, and you chose air freight, your trophies will more than likely be shipped via Delta Air freight and your first point of entry would be Atlanta where your inspections and clearing would take place. From there, you would have to arrange for a freight forwarding company to send them to your final destination. A clearing agent can do all of this for you... There are some excellent taxidermists that offer free shipping of your finished mounts to your door. if you use their services. One of the members here on AH.com owns the Artistry of Wildlife taxidermy studio. I believe he is offering that option to his clients. He is excellent if you are not settled on your taxidermist....
     
  7. jeanpaul3006

    jeanpaul3006 AH Member

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    Yes , the shipping was the most difficult part of the whole safari. Costly, they got you if you want your trophies. I decided against shipping and putting the saved money towards another future hunt. Couldn't get a straight answer from the canadian gov as for fees, taxes. Got very complicated with no real answers. Just gave up. Next time maybe euros .
     
  8. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    As far as the shipping I found that to be the easy part with a little research on yellowpages.com I found customs brokers in the area (ALT for me) and got quotes from them rather then going through custom brokers that specialize in trophies because they specialize in getting you money as well mine charged 140.00 and did the F&W paperwork for me as well. my Taxidermist in Africa only uses 1 shipper so it was easy to get a quote and the difference from ship or air wasn't enough to worry about in the area of $95.00 so they came by air alot faster that way. and the big box they came in is now a shooting house on my farm, good way to recoupe your packing and paperwork fee.:)
     
  9. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Lots of great advice here.

    One very important one came from BRICKBURN

    "Get pictures of your mounts from the taxidermist BEFORE they are packed.
    Get pictures of your mounts in the crate."

    Make sure they are good pictures showing the mounts well.
    And make sure that you don't pay the full taxidermy bill before you have seen the pictures.
    I have wasted money on taxidermy, shipping and taxes to get home trophies/memories I don't want to hang on my walls because the taxidermy job was crap....
     
  10. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Does anyone know if you get a warthog mounted in africa.Most it go through all the same steps as a raw prepped one to bring into the states.Have a shoulder mount one done ready to ship with my other animals.Was hoping to clear the trophys on my own when they get here.I have heard a pig can cause a problem.Thanks Billc
     
  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Bill I've heard the same thing the last time I had the Tusk shipped in they were worried no problems we'll see if it is next month I've got a full body mount coming. It would have been here this month but South Africa desided to take the month off for the Holidays. Go figure and with me waiting on that Beautiful Warthog.
     
  12. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Bob did you clear your own trophys or did the warthog tusk need to go to a special place to be checked.
     
  13. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    No I got a customs broker in Atlanta to clear everything for me the tusk came in the same box as the rest of the trophies and so is the full body mount that is coming next month I paid Mrs Sprouls 140.00 and she took care of all the paperwork even fish and game thats why I'm using her services again this time. I quess a Customs Broker is a Customs Broker they can all do the same paperwork so why use one that only does animals and charges you 3 or 4 times more for the same service.:confused: Fish and Game will inspect all of your trophies when they come in thats just part of the formality you may be trying to sneak something in like a pet Elephant or something, the Broker will take care of the paperwork then give you a copy once you've paid them, you take that copy to the customs area where they are stored give them the paperwork they stamp the paperwork send a worker to go get it with a forklift, puts it in the back of your truck or trailer and sends you on your way of course if you can't make it there in a timely manor there may be some storage fees added.
     
  14. TimSharpe

    TimSharpe AH Member

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    Great thread..thanks for all the good info.
    I second using a clearing agent and using air...but like others have said, for my second trip to SA this july I most likely will come home with euro mounts this time to save the money for another trip.
     

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