Taxidermy shipping-ship or airplane?

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by enysse, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I have a big shipment of taxidermy at some point this year...with payment due from a place in Windhoek, Namibia. I've heard it's a alot cheaper to ship by boat across the ocean to the U.S. than by airplane.

    What I'm asking is do I have to pick the right shipping agent? I would like my mounts here in Wisconsin, USA but would like to do it as cheaply as possible so I can continue hunting in Africa...faster and faster...with less time paying down taxidermy and shipping bills. I'm going to the East Cape and Limpopo Province next month with two different outfitters and am planning to have something down in South Africa. I would prefer to have the taxidermy done there and boated back to the USA. I'm not super picky on Taxidermy...it doesn't have to be museum quality...nobody here in Wisconsin would no the difference...I would...but don't want to spend years paying down my taxidermy bill. I will try to take as many animals as I can in 2 weeks of hunting because airplane tickets aren't cheap and I would like to go to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania to get some of unique antelope of those areas. I'm never sure how long my hunting career will last...prices keep getting higher and higher.

    Anyway any help and advice would be appreciated :).
     
  2. Gerhard

    Gerhard AH Veteran

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    Not real expert on this.

    But in my job I have to move a lot of material from the US or South Africa to Angola.

    When it comes to sea freight you are charged per container lets say 20ft.

    When it comes to air freight you are charged per volume and that gets expensive very quickly.

    I would suggest you talk to your taxidermist in Windhoek and hear what he suggest.

    Get the approximate size of the crate and get quotes for different shipping agents....

    My 2 kwanza
     
  3. Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris

    Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    enysse,

    Choosing a good shipping agent is very important. Someone knowledgeable who works with hunting trophies all the time will be able to prevent costly or time consuming issues down the line.

    Your hunting outfitter or taxidermist will usually recommend someone that they work with, this can be a good recommendation, however I suggest that you do due diligence and check them out on your own as sometimes these companies are in bed with eachother and prices or quality of service may not be what you are expecting. Even if you are recommended to someone, you should know that you are free to choose your own shipping agent, and you can get quotes from several companies. Most hunters end up using the shipping agents recommended by their outfitter or taxidermist just because it's easier.

    In AfricaHunting.com's directory you will find under each country a list of shipping agents with links to their website and email addresses, for Namibia's shipping agents click here, for South African shipping agents click here. I personally recommend to my clients a shipping agent Rainer Sentefol of African Shipping Services, I have used him for years for hundreds of clients and find him to be very thorough and reliable.

    Sea freight costs can be as much as 30% cheaper than air freight, however it is highly discouraged for "raw" trophies as transport takes a long time and too many things can go wrong along the way that can affect or ruin your trophies. Sea freight can be a good choice for finished taxidermy, I believe that the only draw back is time. Be sure to ask the shipping agents that you contact what their opinion is as they have much more knowledge than I do.

    One of the best ways to save money is doing what you are already talking about, which is getting your taxidermy work done in Africa. There is no reason to compromise on quality as there are many excellent taxidermists in Southern Africa. They know their African game well as they do this all year round, which is not necessarily the case for taxidermists outside of Africa. In AfricaHunting.com directory you can find under each country a list of taxidermists, click here to find South African taxidermists.

    Hope this helps, though I still would like to hear from other members what shipping agents they have used and their personal experience with them...
     
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Thanks Jerome, it has been a very long work day but I'm happy to hear some opinions and hope people respond to the forum. I was thinking of using Nambia Safari Services. I have heard a lot of good things. I'm very patient! I have more time than money. But I did want to ship by boat. I have my pictures posted on this website under member pictures and wanted to have my animals brought home as cheaply as I could. I'm probably going to use South Africa taxidermy services. This webpage has a ton of information and I want to discuss shipping options when I'm in South Africa...and hopefully I get some honest opinions and suggestions. I don't need someone to say one thing and do the other...it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

    I'm truly hope this trip goes well because my airplane flight has been cancelled 4 times already. And like I said I would like to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania down the road.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  5. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...Jerome.. My first safari I used Taxidermy International as my Taxidermist & Fakirs Transport cc. was the shipper. I was very upset with the shipper as for 1 crate not overly big they were charging $1800.00 U.S. to ship home. I put up a stink & asked for a price to send them by boat. In return they just flew them to the states & I was stuck with a huge bill!! There reply was you still had to truck them from the east coast of the States so we just got them closer to you!!That was Nov. 2004.
    >>2nd safari I used Highveldt as the taxidermist & Safari Cargo Systems was the shipper. Things went very well as the shipper was more than upfront & with the same size crate cost me $1019.00 to Chicago in the states. That shipment I received the end of March.
    ...I never personally picked a shipper , but I can see that you guys are right & it's an important issue that most hunters overlook, or should I say just rely on the taxidermist.. I can see why there are a lot of unhappy clients out there when the shipment finally gets home!!!
     
  6. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Calhoun, I am glad that you shared with all of us what companies you used, how much you paid, the level of service that you received and how long it took. It's a good example of the difference in prices and service that you can experience with different companies and proves that you should not just accept a recommendation without checking out the company. I really think it's helpful when members are willing to tell others what they paid, how satisfy they were and what they would do the same / differently...
     
  7. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ... Thanks Jerome I have no problem telling prices as I hope no one ever gets burned!! One thing that does irritate me about the taxidermist prices are their prices for crates. One of those outfits was 10% & the other was 20% of the taxidermist bill. Both taxidermist bills were $4,000 - $5,000 US. Now I don't know the price of wood in Africa but I suspect it isn't as bad as in the States. But I do know the wages in South Africa aren't near what they are in the USA. So why the high prices? One company made a hell of a crate & the other one I wouldn't have used it for a Deer stand!
    .....People I talked to before I went on my first safari said the prices of taxidermy in Africa doesn't compare with the costs in the states. Well you start adding everything up.. there costs have risen tremendously & throw in the cost of a luxury crate, shipping etc. these taxidermists may just price themselves out of buisness. One would think they would stay low enough that it would be a no BRAINER to get it done in Africa! But then again the word greed comes in to play!! But then again they will probably just raise the price of dipping as that seems to be rising everytime I look at a price list!!
     
  8. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    This is my take on the whole subject.

    You are spending a lot of money on hunting already and depending on what you have hunted you have to about pay the same for the taxidermy alone. Make sure whatever you get mounted or worked on is worth it for you. Euro mounts with a nice size photo underneath it is a lot cheaper.

    Then not to be melancholy but you aint gonna live forever what will happen to the mounts after you are gone ? If it will be kept as an heirloom in the family great if it's gonna be put away in a cellar or some other odd place why waste the money rather hunt it all out.

    Some mounts are special and should be done but instead in saying yes to all of them in the heat of the moment rather wait and think about it. Sure get it skinned correctly and prepare it for the taxidermist but if you are not going to mount it then the taxidermsit will have an extra cape and you will have more cash inyour pocket for the next trip.
     
  9. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Frederik, you made some very good points to consider.
     
  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I found a great taxidermist in South Africa. But I will use him for all my work. His rates are good, work is excellent and he is a shipping agent. Contact me for more information.

    The greed factor is terrible in Africa. So many outfitters are steering their clients to where they can get a great cut of the action. The taxidermists in turn have made there dip and pack prices crazy! You almost have to get it mounted otherwise you can kiss another $1000 to $2000 good-bye. And the taxidermy prices are nuts!!! The product is not close to America quality for the most part. My guy is pretty great.

    In the end people are going to shoot less and mount less if this keeps up. I know, I'm pretty steamed about the whole issue. But nobody seems to care. Outfitters and taxidermist raise there hands and say there is nothing they can do. For me...it means less hunting. Taking photographs only doesn't cut it. I'm not going to shoot a great Animal and not mount it. I'd rather stay home in Wisconsin.
     
  11. madabula

    madabula New Member

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    a problem as serious as anti's

    I strongly believe that trophy prep, crating, shipping, and handling are as serious a problem to the hunting and taxidermy industry as are the Anti’s!

    Obviously legitimate costs are going up $ values are doing down and hunting is an expensive sport. So some of the guys on modest budgets find that their dreams are in jeopardy of becoming nightmares or they will at least experience some serious “wakeup calls”.

    However the same can be said for outfitters, preparatory aspects, shipping agents and everyone else in the economic food chain if there is not some considerably more efficient and cost consciousness behavior. In the past few months I have heard from a number of clients that have considerable financial resources but are extremely disenchanted with the greed, slack and slop in the Safari and trophy handling business.

    One client paid nearly $2,000 for airfreight on 1 lion skin and skull because it was put in a crate large enough to ship a full plains game safari. Another paid more in service fees and handling charges than he did for the prep and freight on an Argentina stag.

    Many crates arrive with unusable scrap sized back hides, and others with full hides for a shoulder mount because the skinner or PH did not listen to what the client had stated was their desired trophy.

    Others are taken to the perpetrator and given one price only to find many months later that there are several additional charges that were not quoted. These clients contact the outfitters to express their disappointment and are given the brush off or divert the blame.

    Even when specific instructions have been made to the contrary; shipments are routinely sent to US ports with no warning or to a different port than requested, where storage fees and clearance issues pile up quickly.

    Gouging, kickbacks and lack of consideration by outfitters as well as a lack of preparation and follow thru by clients are adding more to the cost of International hunting than anything else. This is not a problem specific to Africa and it is not new. Many years ago the graft and kickbacks and the gouging of an enthusiastic clientele took a major toll on the hunting industry, and a large part of a generation turned to other recreations where full disclosure and an atmosphere of full service and fully satisfied clients was the goal and the norm.

    While the internet serves as great information source and can help some savvy hunters navigate the pitfalls of a wide open market, in many blogs and arenas it has only served to discourage would be hunters from pursuing their dream.

    I abhor govt. meddling as it typically only polices the good guys and serves as a smokescreen for the illegitimate and know that good open, honest, straight forward business provides the strongest potential for growth. So I think everyone needs to admit that just as there is not an endless supply of game to be exploited there are not an endless supply of clients and that the disenchanted or severely abused ones are dropping out and taking the next generation with them once again.
     
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I would have to strongly agree with what you are saying. It is turning people away from hunting overseas. I wish I knew a solution to the problem. I don't agree with Lorraine at all on her points of view on taxidermy. I agree there are penny pinchers in the client and taxidermy business end. But the outfitter steering of clients to taxidermy places is the biggest problem. Most of the outfitters have other things to do than deal with a taxidermist if you have a problem with the speed at which the mounts are being done, the quality and other fees that pop up along the way.
     
  13. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    It took less than 90 days to ocean ship my taxidermy from Windhoek, Namibia to my house in Wisconsin, once the taxidermy was ready and crated. Which is pretty fast if you ask me. I ended up using Fauna and Flora to handle the shipping.
     
  14. Larry Mikelsen

    Larry Mikelsen New Member

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    Air vs. Sea

    Hi all, just wanted to pass my experience. I received my trophies from RSA this past May. One crate (342 lbs., 67" x 52" x 43") with nine mounts and one rug in it along with a few other "must haves". First to back up a wee bit.

    Prior to going to RSA I spoke to my taxidermist, and looked into having the work do in RSA. My guy does excellent work, but is two years out (not acceptable). I wanted to make sure that whatever way I went, I got my Impala mounted to look like an Impala, not a Whitetail deer. I spent a lot of time checking out taxidermy organizations in the Eastern Cape area, and checked their references religiously. This is important. It finally came down to one organization that showed the quality, reputation, and interest I was looking for. Once in RSA, I spoke to my hunting concession folks and independently asked who they might recommend. They came up with the same Taxidermy outfit I had been talking to (I am sure I just lucked out there, but it works for me!). Now, one thing I also did was take the time to visit this taxidermist and look over his operation, speak to him eye to eye, and see and "touch" his work. This closed the deal for me. This taxidermy outfit maintains 100% control of ALL their work. They do their own tanning, and even produce their own molds. I realize this was probably something a lot of you cannot or will not do, but unless you go there, how do you know where the smoke is being blown?

    Now back to Shipping. I was planning to ship by air. Then we all know what happened to the price of fuel, and along with that, airline price hikes. I decided to have my (key word here, "MY") freight outfit check into both air and sea shipping. I controlled all shipping decisions, not someone in RSA. Long story short, at the end of the day, shipping from RSA to Seattle by sea (90 days) was $53 USD less than shipping on Delta Airlines (3 days). I shipped by Delta, and the crate with my trophies was in Seattle seven days later. I own a covered trailer and even worked with the my taxidermist, and had them craft a crate that fit into my trailer so I could pick up my trophies from the freight warehouse, saving final trucking charges. This all cost me approx. $2,200 USD ($1711 + $490) including the brokerage fees.

    My experience is that, as we all know these hunts are a wee bit expensive, and If you want to bring your trophies home (and who wouldn't), that is also expensive, and in some cases can cost as much as your hunt. I found that shipping the horns & skins back home, and then having the mounting done here vs. having the mounts done by a reputable taxidermist RSA and shipped home was, for me, really about a wash, cost wise.

    Obviously shipping just the skins & horns home weighs less and costs less, then there are those costly dipping expenses, and misc. etc.! Also, looking into the "deer in the headlights" eyes of human nature, the taxidermist is more into the business of mounting trophies, not building boxes, dippin' hides, and shipping out (his) work to other people. I believe he could possibly loose a little interest in "your" project... and work on mine! I am not talking what is necessarily right or wrong here, I am just talking about the realities of human nature. We are talking business here. Now... having the work done over there puts you at the front of his list, and you are looked at as more of a client. Human nature generally puts your work in a better position to be done in a timely manner. But... that also means you will be paying to ship a larger and heavier crate. Like I said earlier, for me, it seemed like the two ways of going was pretty much a wash as to final (on your trophy room wall) cost.

    All of the above is for nought if you don't do your homework, and go with a reputable taxidermist (here or there). The major problem I see with having the work done over there is what are you going to do if "your" trophies arrive, and the workmanship is less than you had hoped for?? You are sort of out of luck. But then again, if you picked a lousy taxidermist here at home, and he butchers your trophies, what are you going to do??? Once the glass is broke, it's broke.

    This taxidermy work is a road that most of us are not that familiar with, and have to walk with only others experiences and recommendations. We all need to do our homework and decide what we are comfortable with. I believe if you do your homework, use your head, don't look for that "unbelievable deal" (which isn't), you can get nice mounts at a fair price.

    Those are my thoughts. Am I wrong? Thanks for the chance to weigh in here. That's what is so good about these forums!
     
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Larry, I think you thought of everything I was trying to say. There are so many variables out there, especially when you are dealing with a taxidermist or shipping companys for the the first time. I look at the quality of the work and professionalism of the people running the place. It they are concerned about your concerns and organized...that is the most you can hope for most of the time. And you are definitely right...when someone is very cheap you need to kick the tires a lot to see if rats coming running out.
     
  16. Larry Mikelsen

    Larry Mikelsen New Member

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    One more item

    Enysee,

    One thing I forgot to pass on is that I got a written quote for my anticipated taxidermy work prior to even going to RSA. I took that with me and did not allow my PH to steer me to "his" taxidermist. As it was, we did both like the same taxidermist (but that was just luck). We all know what happens whenever you add a middleman into the mix ($$$). Not to drop names here, but I worked with John Peacock who owns Taxidermy Africa. His site is all set up for getting a prior written quotes for mounts (notice I said "quote" not estimate). While a few of his prices did go up, John stuck to his written quote. Of course, should you blow an ear off, things change (looking at your great pictures and experience, I am sure that will not be a problem you will need to worry about). LOL! Once you have your written quote, you probably have 99% of your taxidermy costs locked in. Guess I am sort of an anal guy, but I agree with your perspective, I want to spend my money on hunting, not making payments on taxidermy work.

    Have a great time on your next hunt!

    Larry
     
  17. Intercon

    Intercon New Member

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    hi enysee,

    just posting a quick note on two levels, i am an avid amateur hunter personally as well as being with a freight company based in zimbabwe and johannesburg.

    i am posting this reply under my professional login as it is pertinent to your subject. as of the 1st of nov 2009 InterCon provide an end to end solution for any outfitter or hunter wanting trophies or mounts out of africa. all your points above are correct and the vast array of quoted costs often end in disatisfaction due to the in ability of freight companies to quote (air) freight rates in advance due to so many daily variable factors influencing airline costs.

    this means that your at the mercy of most freight companies once committing product to your destiantion (as once dipped and packed or mounted and all relevent export permits are attained that could take several weeks and the diff between quoted costs and actual billed could be vast...)

    as a progressive freight co, intercon provide dipp and pack at cost to you (should you freight with them) and they will quote proforma rates to you "before" you go on your hunt on door to door transport.

    drop me an email and i will go into more detail on all the options and influencing factors for you that wil i am sure help with your choice of freight company.

    all the best,
    Ang.
     
  18. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    Enysee,
    Thanks for starting this thread. I am starting to plan my SA plains game hunt for 2011 and am investigating the "dip, crate, ship" as well as mounting options. This is a "bucket list" trip that started to form when I first started reading about Africa in 1959 at age 11. The comments offered have been very helpful and, being new to this forum, further input will reduce the chance of major problems with my hunt.

    I live in Seattle and Mr. Mikelson's comments were very helpful. I'm hoping he'll send me a PM and we can chat further in detail.

    Karl.
     
  19. ahionis

    ahionis New Member

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    shipping from africa

    Ship by sea will be your cheapest route but still very expensive. Expect to pay $5000 to $8000. Get insurance to cover all costs. My last shipment I insured the value of hunt, shipping and taxidermy. Us fish and game have new guidelines and are very confused as to what is legalle to be imported and what is not. Not to mention they are very anti-hunting. Make sure your taxidermist fills out the papperwork CORRECTLY! Also call one of these two customs brokers: Fauna and Flora OR Coopersmith inc, They will do all the work to get your shipment delivered to your door.
    Good Luck and Good Hunting
     
  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    If my next shipment from Africa...by ship is more than $5000, I think I'll have a heart attack :). I shipped a kudu, 2 gemsbok, 2 blesbok, 2 springbok, 2 red hartebeest, a blue wildebeest, a black wildebeest and a zebra rug in two boxes for $2350....and that was from Windhoek to my house in Wisconsin. To be honest the ocean freight was cheap. It was Flora and Fauna charges that really stung....they must work for a $100 a minute. I would complain more...but it would do no good...at my age I know it's hard to get honest days work out of too many people...cup half empty at the moment.

    If you ever want to go to Africa go...Please...but realize the hunting will be not to expensive compared to the plane rides, taxidermist and shipping. Unless you take something nice....take a good picture...it's easier on the checkbook and the memories of the hunt.

    I should quantify my comments, all of my hunting was plains game hunting...no "Big 5", so that kept the daily and trophy fees low. Potential if you go on a "Big 5" hunt and don't shoot much....the hunting costs will be the real costs and the other stuff will be minor. If you want a collection of plains game, taxidermy and shipping are a huge part of the hunt. For the planning stage of the hunt...take this into consideration....don't under estimate the true cost of the hunt.
     

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