Self-Importing Trophies to USA from RSA

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by bls72bmw, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. bls72bmw

    bls72bmw AH Member

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    Gents, first trip to RSA coming up this year! Plan on bringing back some nice rugs and plaque-style Tusk mounts- so nothing exotic or large either (Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Impala rugs, maybe a Wildebeest rifle case, and a tusk-only warthog mount)
    I live close enough to JFK Airport and the NYC Area, and have enough time to pick up the items myself- so what do I need to know/do?

    My PH will drop off the skins at the local taxidermist, J.S. Taxidermey (Jan Meyer) or I'm sure would ship them to an RSA taxidermist of my choosing.

    From the Taxidermist to me- what do I need to know/do?

    Has anyone here cleared them from JFK/NYC?
    Any tips if you have cleared from JFK/NYC- or the docks?

    Thanks for any help you might have- as of now I want to keep it simple and have the skins finished off in RSA so this is not a thread about who to use etc, but about how best to clear them and get everything going from the RSA Taxidermist to my house.
    THANKS!
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  3. blackdog001blackdog001

    blackdog001blackdog001 AH Member

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    I clear live animals (dogs and cats) quite frequently through JFK (which is the best airport in the NY Metro area to use). I can't speak to the docks.

    After the flight arrives, you most likely pick up the paperwork from the airline it came in. Get the Cargo Area (A-D) and Building Number where the airfreight/airline has their warehouse. Forget about an address - the clerks don't know them. Cargo Area and Building Number. After you arrive at the warehouse, go to Import then tell them the flight number and airline. Depending on how quick the freight guys are and how busy it is, it may take up to an hour or so to get your paperwork. Maintain your patience. After you get the paperwork, I don't know if you go to USFWS or Customs. If Customs, you need some patience. The Officers are basically lazy. You drop your paperwork in a box and have to wait until they deign picking it up and reviewing it. They will probably ask you some bs questions, act like they are the most important people at JFK and are generally annoying. As long as everything is ok, they will clear it (done electronically) and notify the airline to release it. I'm not sure if you go to USFWS before or after Customs.

    Now - I just checked with a broker to get an approximation on shipping and clearing one box from Namibia to JFK for my June 2014 safari. From an experienced, reputable broker at JFK who I have used before and who has been in business for over 30 years: around $1700-2000 including air freight.

    If everything is in order and the paperwork is done correctly both over there and here, it is pretty easy to do yourself, if you have the time and patience. The horror stories are generally just that - stories, unless someone is trying to violate CITES. Then, the USFWS agents will arrest you right there. Do not pass go and do not collect $200.
     
  4. bls72bmw

    bls72bmw AH Member

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    Guys thanks both for great info.
    Blackdog, I see this is your first post, so extra thanks for taking the time/effort to register post to help out.

    You mentioned $1700-2000 including air freight for your quote via a broker, sounds crazy to me. But I understand shipping is a lot of it.
    If I don't use a broker, I just tell the taxidermy shop to ship to my home address and then go to JFK to clear it? How do I know what flight/date it arrives? Is it a big deal to go a week or so later?
    I'm guessing air freight on a couple rugs and small stuff (no mounts) about $800-100 right now (self-clearing), sound about right?
     
  5. blackdog001blackdog001

    blackdog001blackdog001 AH Member

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    Tell your taxid in Africa to ship it to your address. I make up the outside lables for the crate in advance on 8.5 x 11" paper. Include a tag with the same info and ask that it be put inside the crate, so if the one outside comes off, they can track you down.

    You will need the taxid in Africa (or whoever ships it from there) to tell you the airline and flight number and when it departs; try and get the airway bill number, also. Generally, you have to pick it up the day it arrives, otherwise the airline is going to charge you storage.

    That number I quoted you was air freight and my customs brokers charges and included delivery to my taxidermist in WV. Believe it or not, this is not a huge profit margin business. The broker is probably charging $300 to $500 to clear it. If all goes well, it's no issue and he makes a couple of bucks. If there is a problem and he has to have man at Customs/USFWS or the air freight terminal for hours, it is a different ballgame.

    $800 to $1000 sounds about right for air freight. If you try a ship, which is cheaper, you may have to wait for them to get enough cargo for a container as your box will be too small to go by itself. If you taxid is not in a port (South Africa most goes out of Capetown or Port Eliz or Durban I think), then it has to get to the port from the taxid, which is a cost and a risk. Ship has its own risks - sinking, the container falling off, some trucker picking up the container with your trophies, but gets paperwork that shows it is a load of shoes (or TVs or whatever) and takes it to who knows where.

    I am not shilling for anyone (and I do the dog/cat thing only to help my wife), but what you are going to save v. the risks and not knowing exactly how to do it for clearing the stuff yourself, may not be worth it. One man's opinion.

    Good luck!
     
  6. accipiter

    accipiter AH Veteran

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    BLS,
    In February, I will also be leaving out of JFK on the South African Airways flight to JNB. I live about one hour from JFK so I also wondered if a shipping agent is necessary since I can just swing by the airport to pick up the crates. Make sure to give us updates on this thread. Thanks!
     
  7. accipiter

    accipiter AH Veteran

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    Any updates? Did you clear them yourself?
     

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