Taxidermy South Africa

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by TomC, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. TomC

    TomC New Member

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    Hello to all,

    I am going to South Africa and hunting with Koos De Meyer and Kuche Safaris in July 2015.
    The taxidermy end is a little confusing.
    Do I have it done there, or do I have it shipped back here and done?
    I am looking for thoughts, comments, suggestions, names, numbers etc.
    Any names on good taxidermists and tanneries?
    Thank you, TomC

    “Out here a man settles his own problems”
  2. wswat

    wswat AH Member

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    You can do either or. I feel the best thing to do is have your hides tanned in South Africa and the ship them to the USA to be mounted. It will cut down on the weight of the hides and save a step from Dipping and shipping home then having tanned.
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  3. ETS

    ETS AH Member

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    A good place to start would be to get some comparative quotes on shipping your trophies back home. There are good Taxidermist in both our Countries and in my opinion a cost comparison should be the deciding factor. If you get a good price on Taxidermy and shipping from South Africa then this could be the way to go. On the other hand, shipping your trophies back semi processed (Dip & Ship) will be faster and you will certainly save a buck or two on shipping costs. Then you just have to find a reputable Taxidermy close to home that will give you a good price. In a nut shell, my opinion is get quotes on both options so you can make an informed decision.
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  4. Warbird782

    Warbird782 AH Senior Member

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    Check with your PH or outfitter on who they recommend. I used the taxidermist that my outfitter and PH both use with great results. Shipping was a little more but the taxidermy cost was much less than the US taxidermists that I had bid out my mounts.
  5. houston49

    houston49 AH Member

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    I think you have find a US taxidermist licensed to receive imported capes.
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I just looked up the outfitter and it appears they are in Limpopo and you have to go through Vaalwater to get there.

    So, my suggestion of someone close by that does GREAT taxidermy. Contact Craig. Go to the shop and look around.

    http://www.bullseyetaxidermy.co.za

    A little content from Craig:

    The biggest question on everyones mind is who is going to do the taxidermy work once the trophies are in the salt and the safari is over. There are many pros and cons as to getting them done in Africa:



    Cons:



    1) The workmanship is shoddy- if one took the trouble to have checked out the taxidermist first and seen the work, there shouldn't have been a problem. As in the States or anywhere else in the world, there are many fly-by- nights and many lacking the artistic ability to perform good workmanship. On visiting the taxidermist, check to see if he is using the correct colour, quality eyes, that his forms are anatomically correct, that the facial expressions portray a kind of “soft look”, and that he is using the highest quality tanning chemicals to preserve the life of the trophy. A crucial thing is to always check the way the finishing touches have been put into the mount, if there was any repair work it should be neatly stitched and covered up so that it isn't noticeable and there should be white edges on the eyes.



    2) It takes forever to get them back-the most amount of time one should expect to wait for a consignment of trophies is a year, not including the shipping time. After a year, the dry salted skins begin to show signs of aging, they would have been at more risk to insect damage, humidity and bacteria, and would not tan better than if they had been processed sooner. Bullseye has an average turnaround time of six months



    3) The freighting charges are higher as they are more bulky- True. You will pay more for the extra volumetric weight than if they were being dipped and packed. But remember, if they are sent dipped and packed to you, the regulations declare they must be flown in by aircraft, which is very costly. When you have them mounted or processed first, the consignment is permitted to travel by sea, which takes a bit longer but works out about half the price of airfreight.



    Pros:



    1) Good quality pieces- when the trophies are in the hands of experts, they will probably look better than what someone on a different continent can make them. This is simply because we do a lot more of our species, we see them when they come in unskinned from the bush, study them, photograph them in their natural state, take death masks of their faces using plaster and we are able to take actual measurement of them regularly when we are in the bush. Also, should a cape have hairslip, we have a vast selection available to replace it.



    2) You save a fortune- With the favorable exchange rate, we can and do offer lower prices than what you’d get locally. Think of it this way: you shoot a kudu on your safari and want it shipped to your taxidermist in the states raw so that he can do it. You are going to pay a taxidermist here to dip and pack it, crate it and organise the documentation, which should come to about $200 depending where you go. He then gives it to the freight agent, who will charge you airfare rates to get it across which should come to about $450. Then you’ve got to pay the taxidermist there, probably about $1500 to have him do it, till the animal is finally sitting on your wall. Total bill, about $2150, and it would probably have taken at least 9 months. Get it done here, cost for mounting it, packing it in a box and organising paperwork $750, and about $420 to go by sea in a bulkier crate to be delivered to your front door, total cost $1180. It just makes sense.



    3) Peace of mind-you can enjoy the feeling that your trophies will be collected free of charge from your last Safari camp in SA, tagged, stored, and mounted according to your preference by professionals, soon to be exhibited in your trophy room while you relive the memories. Conclusion: In the hands of capable professionals such as ourselves, getting your prized mounts done with our trained team of experts makes alot more sense. Hunting is a huge investment, make sure your decision hits the bulls-eye!
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  7. SCJagter

    SCJagter AH Member

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    I am a huge supporter of keeping it local.. I say why send it to someone who does 80-90% north american animals? When you have true artists right there who work with these species and the anatomy everyday? Crunching the numbers it always comes out cheaper to have my trophies done in South Africa.

    But as said above by others you need ask questions do research and get references you have plenty of time before 2015 to make your decision you should never be pressured to use someone that your ph or outfitter uses you should use who you think is going to give you the best work and service for the price. Sometimes your taxidermy bill can be the biggest cost and it is the investment that will preserve those memories for all to see! The last thing you want to do is sacrifice a few dollars because someone gave you a better price but the workmanship reflects it... You get what you pay for.

    There are three Taxidermists in South Africa that I have used over the years and they have done exceptional work and the turn around is about 6-8 months.
    I hope this helps but do your research and ask as many questions as you can think of. These guys will be happy to answer you questions and have no hidden agendas.

    Big Buck Taxidermy in Pretoria SA - http://www.taxidermybigbuck.co.za/ - John and Pieter Kemp (I worked with Pieter) **Used them in 2007 on a zim hunt with some friends and he did several plains animals and two buffalo's that came out out beautiful.** They also did my kudu mounts in 2010 again excellent work.** Because of your hunt location it would not be a problem for them to collect your trophies. Give Pieter a call.

    New Creation Taxidermy in Rustenburg SA - http://www.taxidermycreation.com
    Henry Kemp is one of the brothers who started big buck but went off on his own because he moved he did 2 mounts of mine and a couple skins from Botswana in 2006 and I had a friend in SA who did a leopard with him and it was superb.

    Joe Regal Taxidermy in Welkom SA- http://www.joeregal.co.za/ **Just did a hunt in May 2013 and had my last 7 mounts done with them and one was a full body bush buck** Excellent work! Am going again in may 2015 and will most probably use him again because of location to my hunt but again superb quality.
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  8. TomC

    TomC New Member

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    Thank you for the great response, I will use the web links you provided, this look likes it will help a lot. Tom
  9. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I think I may have looked at well over 50 places in SA on line not in person.The best I have seen by pictures that is would be relive taxi. in the east cape.He has a facebook page showing alot of his work.I will be stopping in to see the stuff in person this trip.He puts alot of detail in the mounts and seems to get the small things right that must in SA dont.

    My rule is I get some done there and bring the animals I may only take one of or just that once in a lifetime trophy and get them done here in the states.I am lucky to have a great taxi. studio only 45min. from my house.Wildlife studios wes good does the stuff I bring back to have done.If I had him do all the mounts though it would take me 4 or 5 years and one less trip planned to afford getting them all done here.

    Everyone has a price limit on what they think is good quality for the dollar spent.I think you can get good work done in SA for the dollar with good planning.As long as your mounting more then 2 or 3 you will save money even with the extra shipping of finished mounts.I had 12 animals mounted and two just tanned to be mounted back here in the states.The saving was well over 3000.00 even with the extra shipping.
  10. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hallo TomC,

    Straight off, I totally endorse what wswat said.

    Bearing that in mind, the following has been good luck for me personally.
    I do not have anything shoulder mounted.
    (Anything that I have shot anyway).
    I do have some shoulder mounts in my house, belonging to one friend who's wife does not allow him to put them in their house (HER house if you ask me).
    But that's not the point.

    My thing is to just have my skulls bleached, then I set them on book shelves or fireplace mantle, etc., with a photo of the critter and a cartridge of whatever rifle I took it with.
    A few I have had put on plaques, ("European Style).
    Saves a pile of $ on taxidermy bills.

    I do have two zebra skins, one is a rug, the other is just tanned nothing further but, those are something my wife wanted done, not so much myself.
    We always have the above things done at Life Form Taxidermy in South Africa.
    And, we've had excellent results.
    Their web site says Mpumalanga but it seems to me they might be in Hoedsprit or Nelsprit (spelling?).
    However, I have never been to their studio so, I might be off on my rotten memory.
    Your PH will be familiar with them.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
  11. KuduKiller

    KuduKiller AH Member

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    I had 9 mounted from my Taxidermist last trip, wonderful work but it cost me about $6,000 for the mounting. I am having Koos mount my 6 this time. I toured his facility and I have to admit his stuff looks good PLUS it is ALOT cheaper. Koos doesn't pressure you into mounting your stuff there but he does offer it to you. As a matter of fact I got back June 6th and Koos sent me a photo of my Eland and Black Wildebeest on the stands pinned up to dry.
  12. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Like others have said you can do this either way. I have used Capricorn Taxidermy out of Polokwane South Africa both times. They did the work over there and then we shipped it home. Best wishes on your hunt.
  13. ETS

    ETS AH Member

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    Dear TomC,
    I believe Kuche also does Taxidermy work themselves and a Taxidermy price list is available on their site. I am in no position to comment on the quality of theirs or any other Taxidermists services and quality, but I can provide you with estimated shipping costs on both options (Dip & pack vs Mounted). Then if you get a price on Taxidermy closer to home, you can do a total cost comparison. You might just find that Taxidermy in South Africa is a feasible option, but if nothing else, at least you would be able to make a more informed decision. Please keep in mind that you would not be obligated to use our services for the export, but could simply use it as a tool to compare the available option. What I would need from you is the list of animals you hope to harvest, how you would have them Taxidermied if done here and your home address. Please do not put it on here, but rather send a message to my inbox and I will send you an email address. Please note that I am not affiliated or associated with any companies, outfitters or Taxidermists in South Africa and that I am only trying to help you make the right choice so that your African Safari, from start to finish (trophies on your wall), are everything you dreamed it would be. Regards ETS.
  14. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    A few things that aren't mentioned that have value when thinking about taxidermy... Everyone has Option and the choice to make the decisions what is best for them and the type of quality they are looking to accept and pay for. Just like hunting and ammo some buy the cheapest and go with the cheapest they can find. If it's all about price and not quality or value then don't waste time reading this post. Thanks !

    First misrepresentation is that U S taxidermists don't know african animals. Wrong. The good ones can and do know them all , hundreds of species and they have hundreds and thousands of reference photo's and records to mount any of them Life Like. The good ones STUDY Anatomy, details of facial structures the skeletal structures of the game we are mounting. Their movement traits and more.

    North American Taxidermists mount 80-90% North American Game only 10% 20% African game. African people know more about African animals? Wrong here anyway, we are quite in the 80% to 90% range of Mounting African Game at this studio. We handle African skins daily and mount more African game that most North American Taxidermists mount North American game animals.

    Who is really mounting your trophy? An apprentice that is being taught? A minimum wage employee that see your piece as a daily quota he has to get mounted today no matter what to meet his boss's requirements for the shops monthly or weekly $$ quota?
    Is the Owner of the company or an employee/ apprentice of the company mounting your trophy?
    I do in my studio, I the owner mount every piece . I have mounted thousands of African trophies.

    Have your skins tanned in Africa and have them mounted here in the States? We have done that for clients and no longer do it. We cannot control the shelf life of these skins, the stabilty of the tan, the overall procedure of the tanning process in Africa and other variables. Unless the quality controls we have in use in our procedures no guarantee of the skins or the mounts can be assured from any African tanned skin so we and many other studios will not put there reputations on the line for this type of arrangement.

    In North America and our industry offers more options on poses and custom design pieces over what most any other taxidermist in the world can offer. Our industry sculptors create more outstanding poses and options than any other taxidermist anywhere.

    Yes there are a handful of Good/ Really good African taxidermist, but not nearly as many as in the U S .
    When you find them their prices will be comparable to the higher quality studios of the U S because their quality will demand that kind of price.

    I can get your trophies out of S A in 99 days with our dip and pack company , Picked up at your P H home base and transferred to our Dip Pack company , then get your trophies to the US and out of my studio in 6 months.

    ALL taxidermy IS NOT Created equal, Just like buying a truck you can buy a s-10 mini Chevy work truck with a straight gas 6 for 10K-12k new or a 3/4 ton 4wd GMC 6.2 Allison diesel , and both pull out your registrations to show your friends yep I got a truck. You truly do... They are both registered as trucks... but FAR from being identical in every respect. And each has their free will do decide what they can live with and what fits their wants and needs.

    If finished trophies are shipped back to the states for 3 or 4K and you saved 3-4K on your taxidermy getting it dome locally what have you saved? If there is an issue with a mount, wrong turn, bad workmanship, split of cracked and damage or overall dissatisfaction where will you turn to Legally for any recourse? A legal suit in Africa, that could get real expensive. Your going to live with what you get when you open that crate.

    One of the last things to remember is a U S taxidermist like myself can offer you something that is not likey to work with any African Taxidermist and shipping from Africa. You can get truly the finest work and quality and do it within ANY HUNTERS BUDGET ! You heard me right. A U S taxidermist like myself can make it possible for anyone to be able to Afford the Highest Quality work a piece at a time !!

    Ship your skins back dip/pack, we tan them and keep them frozen and mount them when you want them and how your want them over a period of time you choose.One every 4 months, 2 every 6 months, 3 per year, any number of choices are possible, Even 1 or 2 per years . Your tanned skins can remain frozen for countless months and even years be and mounted at anytime and shipped or delivered to you upon your timeline.

    I fly my red white and blue pretty proudly ...By supporting U S taxidermy you support U S business and the economy as whole, fellow hunters and their families. ( I don't know a taxidermist that is not a hunter) You support your country and your economy in helping it grow for all , yourself included. As this economy grows we all benefit and you and others make more money to enjoy even more trips and safari's. Your taxidermy dollars are much more important than you think they are.
    U S spent taxidermy dollars pay wages to employees and owners of studios that in turn hunt themselves, Buy Hunting products that make the hunting industry stronger. They buy hunting licenses that fund conservation and buy ammo that are taxed for more conservation efforts federal and local. That taxidermy dollar you spend in the U S is spent with PH's in africa again , Ph's and outfitters locally in the US. That Taxidermy dollar IS spent over and over and over again in the hunting community.
  15. SCJagter

    SCJagter AH Member

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    All I will say is I have lived in Africa for many years and am a Proud American and while living in Africa I was always happy to say so because we do truly live in the land of opportunity. I have been afforded the ability to be able to hunt on a regular basis in Africa while I live there and since I have moved back to the states and I fully understand supporting our local businesses but to take the argument that having your trophies done in America just because they are better and more skilled taxidermists and local businesses need the support and it in turn supports hunting in Africa and it can be somewhat equal in the bottom dollar costs... I don't know if I would stand on that hill...? That is a tough pill to swallow knowing what I know and what really relates to whats on the ground.

    I know you have a business and you need to promote yourself and your work which, by the way from your website your work looks amazing and you have many accolades to prove it.

    But I know for a fact and have spent the money (so my money is where my mouth is) that I can get just as good mounts from very reputable outfits for a fraction of the cost, But that isn't the real argument because at the end of the day it is up to the individual spending the money and what they want to do I personally make an informed decision which most first time hunters are not able to do.

    Now this is where the rubber meets the road and if as hunters we loose sight of this it can be a slippery slope, "We are hunting in AFRICA where the money spent in AFRICA builds the hunting industry as a whole in AFRICA!"

    I don't want to speak on behalf of the taxidermists in Africa that I call friends but I think they would be able to make just as good an argument to defend their work and industry. I would always spend the money in Africa because at the end of the day I have seen what my hunters dollars are doing for conservation and the industry as a whole in AFRICA, and America has plenty of Taxidermy work because we are a hunting culture and our population supports that culture and the economic development of the industry whereas in AFRICA it is not always the case and outfitters have to fight for every dollar that comes in because the majority of hunting dollars spent in AFRICA is from foreigners like me and you and anyone from overseas who is afforded the opportunity to hunt in AFRICA.

    If you do your research and know who you are working with the scenarios of bad workmanship and quotas etc. is very avoidable and those outfits which are few and far between do not represent the industry as a whole.

    The majority of outfits that take pride in what they do and supporting the community by training locals in a skill where jobs are hard to come by, we don't even want to go into the other problems people face in Africa that makes the US poverty and unemployment laughable...

    The walls of my house and office are graced with the artwork from Africa and the US and Taxidermists worldwide will continue to love me because I have a trophy/mount addiction and love capturing the memories in time which is better than a picture. The animals I have taken in the US I had the work done here because you need to support the local business and by the way your wait time on mounts can be even longer here because of all the great trophies and the population that supports the hunting culture & industry. Legal Recourse(can we say scare tactic and bad form all around) is a problem anywhere you go because unfortunately that is the world we live in and it is even worse here in America.

    With that said, you have a business I wish you all the best in it, but We are hunting in AFRICA so at the end of the day in my opinion it is all about AFRICA.



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  16. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    I respectfully disagree with some of your points . I respectfully do agree that each has the free right to choose his or her standards of low quality cheap mounts or high quality mounts that do reflect slightly higher prices and look realistic. Each has he right to spend their hard earned money with anyone to support the employees and the business they choose. Your "rubber that meets the road" slips when it comes to the taxidermy industry tho' . I truly want to be informed by you, more than my 11 safari's in africa and having traveled it extensively many times in my 30 years visiting 8 different countries and visiting many taxidermy studios in Africa, please explain the African taxidermy dollar going back into hunting. Most are owned by white's and the majority of the employees, the vast majority are blacks that aren't paid enough to hunt and influx their money into hunting resources that governments tax and charge fees for to the run the programs. Most locals working in taxidermy studios in Africa , the blacks, aren't making in a month what a taxidermist makes in a week here in the states.

    I do fail, from your post, to see that taxidermy dollars are going to any kind of anti-poaching, game management, wildlife conservancies, nature conservation, ammo taxes and fees for government to continue wildlife programs , license fees that do the same, gun taxes, hunting licenses that fund wildlife programs, and the money the majority of the employees of any taxidermy studio are spending to recycle that money into the hunting industry and government programs paid by tax dollars to support your claim.
    I don't know of any taxidermy employee in the U S that is not spending quite a bit of their wages for these above mentioned fees and taxes and putting it back into hunting and contributing to the industry as a whole. The companies in the US mostly buy their supplies from taxidermy supply companies, Africa companies make a lot of their own forms in house. These suppliers , that are supplying taxidermy studios in the U S have employees that hunt and they spend their wages on the pursuit of hunting and pay more taxes and fees to support hunting. Yes they even support Africa by going to hunt and supporting PH's and Outfitter there. It's the cycle of Hunters supporting Hunters that adds strength to the industry and conservation as a whole.

    I guess my mindset is all wrong, according to some. But I make sure my doctor, dentist, mechanic, plumber, painter, owners of the local hardware and mom and pop stores I shop at, my builder, my heating and cooling guy, Even my VET that sees my dogs, I make sure they HUNT, I ask. If they don't I find ones that do. I spend hunter money ( Mine ) with other hunters.

    YES, I agree with you if you are satisfied with the service of a studio and wish to work with them or anyone to support them and the employees for wages and growth then you can be free to choose that.
    YES, again I agree, when it comes to PH's and Outfitters in Africa I spend every dime I can with them as you state they are the ones that truly help the hunting in Africa!
  17. SCJagter

    SCJagter AH Member

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    Differences of opinion aside, You are a very skilled taxidermist and with that said I have some pics that you as a taxidermist might appreciate the grass roots methods. While living in Botswana I had the opportunity to live in a Bushman settlement for several months and got to know and learn a lot of things about a very unique culture. One of the most interesting things i learned was how they tanned their hides, I snapped the pictures of an elderly bushman brain tanning his hides using a cow horn as a vessel. I just love how everything they did had steps and process that have been passed down for hundreds of years with little to no change. He thought the second picture was hilarious, just pushed the button at the right time!

    Attached Files:

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  18. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Funny pic that second one. You can till see brain tanning done here in the states, In fact you can still get it done commercially by a few guys . If you ever go to a re-creation type trapper or old indian village setting there are people that still do it. The prepping, salting, soaking, oiling with the brain oils and the smoking of to complete the skins.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
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  19. aaronraby1

    aaronraby1 AH Member

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    for both my trips to south Africa, I went with the same taxidermists. African Expressions. on both trips, I got to visit the shop and go in the back and see everything. with that, I was happy to have them mount my animals. that, and I didn't really have a local trustworthy and reliable taxidermist. Karen runs the show over there and she is great to deal with! she communicates and will give you honest answers! when I visit the western cape next year, I let her know I will be dealing with her business again and she then told me not to worry about getting my trophies to her as she will take care of it!

    Karen Barnard
    africanexpresst@gmail.com
    Po Box 3980, Mokopane, Limpopo Province
    South Africa, 0600

    http://aetaxidermy.com/

    here is my kudu.
    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
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    My Photos:
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    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    This just an example, but the numbers actually run quite a bit closer than that unless you do a bulk shipment of animals. The figures above make it sound like you save 50%, I can assure you that is not possible. Certainly some animals are cheaper to mount in Africa versus the USA, but there are expenses related to everything. Some animals take special permits to ship and then you need the right broker to ensure there is no problems with the US Fish and Wildlife Dept. when they come in by airplane or ship.

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