My Experience w/ Shipping Trophies...

EGS-HQ

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Last July I went to RSA for my first plains game safari. While I would make a different choice in Outfitter/PH, I plan on returning in 2017. What I have learned through my experience and what I have read here from other's experiences, I will be better informed and therefore, prepared.

I just received my trophies yesterday so I am submitting this to report on my experience. Disclaimer: Having worked in Sales/Marketing for over 20 years, I base my opinion on my career experiences...

Since I prefer Euro mounts, I had the taxidermy work completed there and had the finished product shipped to me. No problems with the quality of the work performed or the price. I had four Euro mounts and two hides processed for $680.00.

Not knowing better options, I went with the recommended shipping company and broker. The shipping company was Safari Cargo Systems and the recommended broker was Coppersmith. Later, having gotten good instruction from a fellow Dallas Safari Club Life Member, I decided to waive hiring a broker and to handle it myself. Upon informing SCS of this resulted in the longest and frequent exchange of emails in the entire process. They insisted I use, not only a broker, but Coppersmith only. I felt I was being manipulated by not being given any choice other than their's.

Coppersmith seems to be only interested in explaining how important it is to use them for managing the shipment as this process is too difficult for the mortal man to accomplish. They seem to prefer talking to listening. I see this all too often in customer service but found this company particularly annoying.

They quoted me a price between $450.00 and $600.00 to process my shipment. To the point, I did it myself and it took me just under two hours. Had I called ahead, as was explained to me later, and knew the locations of US Fish and Wildlife and Customs, I could have had the entire process completed in an hour and a half or less.

The people at SCS have to be some of the most inept I have ever dealt with in not only logistics, but customer service. To have them answer a question after the hunt was nearly impossible. As one of the numerous examples I could use, I sent them an email asking a few questions and two weeks later, I get a reply stating they got my message and would answer my questions in due time. They had the time to reply with that statement, but could not take the time to answer even one questions. Since I was paying for insurance on my shipment, I asked for a copy of the policy/documentation. Mostly to have in case I needed it... which I do, and partly to make certain I actually am getting one. I have never received even an explanation about this request and its been two months.

I mentioned that I needed the insurance... yes, my kudu's skull was fractured and separated from the mounting plaque. We'll see how this process goes as I just informed them yesterday of the problem.

I have completed a pdf file of the process I followed in order to handle receiving my trophies without a broker for shipments to DFW Airport if anyone is interested. It gives contact information and a map for the contact agencies; US Fish and Wildlife and US Customs, as well as Delta Airlines Cargo.

To finish on a more positive note, I have read a great deal on this forum that will most certainly make my next experience far better. In spite of all the "complications" of this trip, I did thoroughly enjoy my first safari. Now, I have my experiences to compare to what is being offered by outfitters, shippers, etc. and will continue to read other's experiences in order to make better informed choices for 2017...
 
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BRICKBURN

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I'd be interested to know whom you were dealing with at Safari Cargo.

Insisting use of Coppersmith. Hmmm.
Someone needs to have a chat with Gideon about this staff members actions.
gideon AT safaricargo.co.za

It does not shock me that an insurance certificate was never provided. After me first shipment from Africa I don't get insurance and avoid the need of the probable non-existent insurance anyway.
I can glue it back together faster myself with less effort than trying to go through that nightmare.

Let us know how your claim process goes. I think I already know. :rolleyes:

It's too bad SCS did not work well for you.


Look forward to seeing pictures of your trophies in a report thread!!
 

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Thanks for the information and heads up.

Glad you got your trophies, even if it takes a little bit of work to put humpty back together.
 

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Through our experiences, we gain knowledge. Partly I was venting some frustration, but also I want to share my experience to better learn the process and inform others of the potential issue.

I did receive an email today from the underwriters for the insurance policy. They requested a quote to repair the skull. I, in return, asked them to send me a check for the insured amount since I am the one that will be responsible for doing the leg work in getting my trophy fixed... we'll see how that goes!

Now to find a competent taxidermist in the DFW area that is willing to do the repair...
 

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A bit surprised at this, though that's not to question your report. I used SCS for the animals from my 2010 hunt and I also used a broker who was not Coppersmith with no issues. And I also dealt with Gideon who was prompt with email responses and very helpful.

I'd second Brickburn's suggestion to contact Gideon if that is not who you were working with.
 

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Thanks for the report! I think you did a good job of explaining your issues without coming across as simply complaining. This type of honest info is very valuable to the rest of us.

And good luck in your future adventures. Hope you find an outfitter who works out better as well.

What are hunting next trip?
 

EGS-HQ

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ActionBob... Thanks for the input. As I prefaced my message, I work in Marketing/Customer Support and therefore, my standards may be higher than others. Nevertheless, one can gauge the message and decide for themselves as you did.

My next trip to Africa, I plan on another plains game hunt. The best day I had on my last trip was stalking a Waterbuck almost an entire day up and down slopes. I'm sure anyone reading this can appreciate the imagery; rocky hills, thorns on everything, thoughts of how we thought we worked out hard to prepare for this situation... I followed him, got close once, but never had an ethical shot. I would like to pick up where I left off in a similar situation. I also have Black Wildebeest, Bontebok, Bushbuck, Eland, Gemsbok, Lechwe, Nyala, Red Hartebeest, Reedbuck, Springbok and Tsessebe on my list. Hummmm, starting to sound like two trips...


As for outfitters/PH's, after meeting a few at the Dallas Safari Club Convention, I believe I have found a few to consider. There are also some here with whom I have conversed and would like to meet them in person.

All the best...
 

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Good to know EGS. I hope things work out for you. Thanks for outing these idiots at SCS.
 

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Through our experiences, we gain knowledge. Partly I was venting some frustration, but also I want to share my experience to better learn the process and inform others of the potential issue.

I did receive an email today from the underwriters for the insurance policy. They requested a quote to repair the skull. I, in return, asked them to send me a check for the insured amount since I am the one that will be responsible for doing the leg work in getting my trophy fixed... we'll see how that goes!

Now to find a competent taxidermist in the DFW area that is willing to do the repair...



Wow, insurance underwriter sent you an email.
Better than I thought would happen.

Good luck
 

ActionBob

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EGS I know exactly what you mean how sometimes the better days hunting do not always end getting an animal. I have had several similar experiences... Had a great day getting nothing, then the next day my wife accused me (and the PH) of being "bloodthirsty" when we loaded 4 critters onto the bakki in the last couple hours of the next day! As we were heading back to camp, we just kept spotting good old trophy animals on the way! That is hunting though...

Very nice wish list you have there! I still need the Nyala and Tsessebe myself.
 

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Would be interested in hearing more about your trip? Where did you go in SA? How did you get there? What outfitter did you use? What animals?? What was good and what would you change next time?
 

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EGS, I share your pain. After a life-changing safari (I think that the experience was a close to perfect as any travel OR hunting experience I have ever had), I had all four of my animals mounted by Relive Taxidermy in Port Elizabeth, SA (Almost perfect … some issues with black horns, but WOW they look GREAT on the wall). Relive chose to use Rex Freight Forwarders who chose an American Trucking company called Forward Air… and this is where it all broke down.

I had significant problems with Forward Air in Houston, TX that were initiated when Forward Air INCORRECTLY assumed that someone other than myself was going to clear my trophies, despite a waybill, and US Customs paperwork that stated I was clearing the trophies myself, three calls for me to notify them and identity their procedures, and notification from USFWS that I was clearing the trophies myself. As a result they sent the paperwork to Well Worldwide Energy Logistics, a clearing agent in Houston, TX holding up the clearing process by almost a week. I have tried to write up a detailed account to help others, but I get so angry that I had to stop and write this condensed version :)!

The main issues were 1) Although I identified myself by first and last name, included my waybill number, and explained that I was clearing my trophies myself to every person that I spoke with NONE of the Air Forward employees ever returned the courtesy and in two instances told me that their first name was all that I needed. 2) They couldn’t find my paperwork and kept (I think intentionally) using their jargon (a “78”, CA, WELL) to keep me confused, 3) When we finally figured out that they had send my customs paperwork to Well Worldwide Energy Logistics (WELL) a clearing agent (CA) and for me to leave, they never acknowledged that it was their mistake (and probably a US Customs violations). 4) I was required to look up Well Worldwide Energy Logistics contact information and call them to get my paperwork (Well Worldwide Energy Logistics was initially dismissive as well because they had spoken to Forward Air about 10 minutes prior, but immediately was responsive when I told them that I was NOT their customer and that I had NOT given Forward Air permission to forward paperwork to them) 5) Once I got the paperwork and cleared Customs all of the employees in the office were dismissive and rude to me as I did my final clearance (IN all honesty, I gave some rude back as well) 6) They charged me extra storage days because I did not clear the day that it was received when the delay was because they screwed up the paperwork, 7) In almost 2 hours of discussing/arguing I was NEVER invited in to an office, I was kept at a loading dock or receiving window.

In summary, I will leave my taxidermy in Africa before I do business with Forward Air. I will not do business with Rex Freight Forwarding in any capacity. I appreciate Well Worldwide Energy Logistics … I do not believe that they should have accepted or kept my paperwork without my consent, but they acknowledged that fact as soon as they found out that Forward Air had made the mistake and I am pretty certain made sure that Forward Air knew that they had made a mistake and greased the gears a little so I was able to clear my trophies in one day – delays and headaches not withstanding!!!

Finally, my animals look AWESOME on my wall - http://www.africahunting.com/threads/not-quite-a-trophy-room-but-a-damn-fine-wall.22118/ and my wife says I relax a little more every time I sit in my easy chair and stare!!!
 

EGS-HQ

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Would be interested in hearing more about your trip? Where did you go in SA? How did you get there? What outfitter did you use? What animals?? What was good and what would you change next time?

Mekaniks, I'd be happy to answer your questions...

Where did you go in SA? I was in the Limpopo Province.

How did you get there? I flew by British Airways. I travel for business and get airline miles from American Airlines. BA is a partner of AA. I would recommend another airline that does not go through the UK as they can be quite difficult, if not impossible, to deal with in regards to firearms.

What outfitter did you use? I don't want to post the name of the outfitter because I would not recommend them, nor do I want to cause them any problems. The reasons for not using them again are that they are not as experienced as one would expect and are more interested in making money than providing a memorable safari experience.

What animals?? I took a Blue Wildebeest, a Blesbok, an Impala and a nice Kudu (56.6"). As mentioned before, I saw an amazing Waterbuck, and also a Gemsbok and a Red Hartebeest, but did not have good shots on those.

What was good and what would you change next time?
Well, as mentioned, the PH/Outfitter. Getting to know them or having a recommendation from someone you truly trust is imperative. In doing so, it is easier to manage one's expectations and deal with the unavoidable complications we all see on hunting trips. Many of my issues could have been avoided had my PH been more experienced; as a hunter and a businessman, but nice people nonetheless.

I was pleased with the lodging and meals though we had to stand or sit on the ground in the field to have lunch. The activities of the staff in the field and logistics occupied a good deal of our day so by the time we got back to the lodge, it was late and we had little or no time to relax, let alone bathe and put on clean clothes before supper. When we said we were done for the day, we got unnecessary push-back. And lastly, texting and talking on the mobile phone when we are in the field is unacceptable... get a secretary!
 

EGS-HQ

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EGS, I share your pain. After a life-changing safari (I think that the experience was a close to perfect as any travel OR hunting experience I have ever had), I had all four of my animals mounted by Relive Taxidermy in Port Elizabeth, SA (Almost perfect … some issues with black horns, but WOW they look GREAT on the wall). Relive chose to use Rex Freight Forwarders who chose an American Trucking company called Forward Air… and this is where it all broke down.

I had significant problems with Forward Air in Houston, TX that were initiated when Forward Air INCORRECTLY assumed that someone other than myself was going to clear my trophies, despite a waybill, and US Customs paperwork that stated I was clearing the trophies myself, three calls for me to notify them and identity their procedures, and notification from USFWS that I was clearing the trophies myself. As a result they sent the paperwork to Well Worldwide Energy Logistics, a clearing agent in Houston, TX holding up the clearing process by almost a week. I have tried to write up a detailed account to help others, but I get so angry that I had to stop and write this condensed version :)!

The main issues were 1) Although I identified myself by first and last name, included my waybill number, and explained that I was clearing my trophies myself to every person that I spoke with NONE of the Air Forward employees ever returned the courtesy and in two instances told me that their first name was all that I needed. 2) They couldn’t find my paperwork and kept (I think intentionally) using their jargon (a “78”, CA, WELL) to keep me confused, 3) When we finally figured out that they had send my customs paperwork to Well Worldwide Energy Logistics (WELL) a clearing agent (CA) and for me to leave, they never acknowledged that it was their mistake (and probably a US Customs violations). 4) I was required to look up Well Worldwide Energy Logistics contact information and call them to get my paperwork (Well Worldwide Energy Logistics was initially dismissive as well because they had spoken to Forward Air about 10 minutes prior, but immediately was responsive when I told them that I was NOT their customer and that I had NOT given Forward Air permission to forward paperwork to them) 5) Once I got the paperwork and cleared Customs all of the employees in the office were dismissive and rude to me as I did my final clearance (IN all honesty, I gave some rude back as well) 6) They charged me extra storage days because I did not clear the day that it was received when the delay was because they screwed up the paperwork, 7) In almost 2 hours of discussing/arguing I was NEVER invited in to an office, I was kept at a loading dock or receiving window.

In summary, I will leave my taxidermy in Africa before I do business with Forward Air. I will not do business with Rex Freight Forwarding in any capacity. I appreciate Well Worldwide Energy Logistics … I do not believe that they should have accepted or kept my paperwork without my consent, but they acknowledged that fact as soon as they found out that Forward Air had made the mistake and I am pretty certain made sure that Forward Air knew that they had made a mistake and greased the gears a little so I was able to clear my trophies in one day – delays and headaches not withstanding!!!

Finally, my animals look AWESOME on my wall - http://www.africahunting.com/threads/not-quite-a-trophy-room-but-a-damn-fine-wall.22118/ and my wife says I relax a little more every time I sit in my easy chair and stare!!!

NICE wall, Dude! Sorry to hear of your misfortune. It makes my issues seem trivial. I'm sure when I say this, all will agree... thanks for sharing as there are good lessons to be learned here...
 

Mekaniks

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Mekaniks, I'd be happy to answer your questions...

Where did you go in SA? I was in the Limpopo Province.

How did you get there? I flew by British Airways. I travel for business and get airline miles from American Airlines. BA is a partner of AA. I would recommend another airline that does not go through the UK as they can be quite difficult, if not impossible, to deal with in regards to firearms.

What outfitter did you use? I don't want to post the name of the outfitter because I would not recommend them, nor do I want to cause them any problems. The reasons for not using them again are that they are not as experienced as one would expect and are more interested in making money than providing a memorable safari experience.

What animals?? I took a Blue Wildebeest, a Blesbok, an Impala and a nice Kudu (56.6"). As mentioned before, I saw an amazing Waterbuck, and also a Gemsbok and a Red Hartebeest, but did not have good shots on those.

What was good and what would you change next time?
Well, as mentioned, the PH/Outfitter. Getting to know them or having a recommendation from someone you truly trust is imperative. In doing so, it is easier to manage one's expectations and deal with the unavoidable complications we all see on hunting trips. Many of my issues could have been avoided had my PH been more experienced; as a hunter and a businessman, but nice people nonetheless.

I was pleased with the lodging and meals though we had to stand or sit on the ground in the field to have lunch. The activities of the staff in the field and logistics occupied a good deal of our day so by the time we got back to the lodge, it was late and we had little or no time to relax, let alone bathe and put on clean clothes before supper. When we said we were done for the day, we got unnecessary push-back. And lastly, texting and talking on the mobile phone when we are in the field is unacceptable... get a secretary!

Thanks EGS. Sounds like your Kudu is a real stud. Congratulations!
 

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Just used Zingela thru bullseye taxi, and Coppersmith in Chicago.. Good communication with no problems.
 

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In June I'll be in South Africa for my first safari, I'm hunting in the Eastern Cape province.
I read tons of pages regarding the trophies shipment but I have a lot of doubts, I hope some of you can help me...
I'll use Karoo Taxidermist for my trophies but, after that?
Which shipping company and broker do you suggest me? I live in Italy and I don't know no one that made a safari hunting in South Africa.
Thanks in advance.
 

RichardC

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Last July I went to RSA for my first plains game safari. While I would make a different choice in Outfitter/PH, I plan on returning in 2017. What I have learned through my experience and what I have read here from other's experiences, I will be better informed and therefore, prepared.

I just received my trophies yesterday so I am submitting this to report on my experience. Disclaimer: Having worked in Sales/Marketing for over 20 years, I base my opinion on my career experiences...

Since I prefer Euro mounts, I had the taxidermy work completed there and had the finished product shipped to me. No problems with the quality of the work performed or the price. I had four Euro mounts and two hides processed for $680.00.

Not knowing better options, I went with the recommended shipping company and broker. The shipping company was Safari Cargo Systems and the recommended broker was Coppersmith. Later, having gotten good instruction from a fellow Dallas Safari Club Life Member, I decided to waive hiring a broker and to handle it myself. Upon informing SCS of this resulted in the longest and frequent exchange of emails in the entire process. They insisted I use, not only a broker, but Coppersmith only. I felt I was being manipulated by not being given any choice other than their's.

Coppersmith seems to be only interested in explaining how important it is to use them for managing the shipment as this process is too difficult for the mortal man to accomplish. They seem to prefer talking to listening. I see this all too often in customer service but found this company particularly annoying.

They quoted me a price between $450.00 and $600.00 to process my shipment. To the point, I did it myself and it took me just under two hours. Had I called ahead, as was explained to me later, and knew the locations of US Fish and Wildlife and Customs, I could have had the entire process completed in an hour and a half or less.

The people at SCS have to be some of the most inept I have ever dealt with in not only logistics, but customer service. To have them answer a question after the hunt was nearly impossible. As one of the numerous examples I could use, I sent them an email asking a few questions and two weeks later, I get a reply stating they got my message and would answer my questions in due time. They had the time to reply with that statement, but could not take the time to answer even one questions. Since I was paying for insurance on my shipment, I asked for a copy of the policy/documentation. Mostly to have in case I needed it... which I do, and partly to make certain I actually am getting one. I have never received even an explanation about this request and its been two months.

I mentioned that I needed the insurance... yes, my kudu's skull was fractured and separated from the mounting plaque. We'll see how this process goes as I just informed them yesterday of the problem.

I have completed a pdf file of the process I followed in order to handle receiving my trophies without a broker for shipments to DFW Airport if anyone is interested. It gives contact information and a map for the contact agencies; US Fish and Wildlife and US Customs, as well as Delta Airlines Cargo.

To finish on a more positive note, I have read a great deal on this forum that will most certainly make my next experience far better. In spite of all the "complications" of this trip, I did thoroughly enjoy my first safari. Now, I have my experiences to compare to what is being offered by outfitters, shippers, etc. and will continue to read other's experiences in order to make better informed choices for 2017...


I would like to get a copy of your shipping PDF if it’s available. Leave Tuesday for my first plains game hunt in northwest. Still have a lot of questions on how to get my trophies home.
Thanks for your time
 

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In my opinion if you are just now considering how you are going to get the trophies home you are a couple of months behind.

You can read all kinds of stories on here about those that tried to do it themselves and had it turn into their worst nightmare. Then there are the ones that had no problems, but even some of those members say that it would be better to of use a importer that knows what they are doing just in case there is a problem. And it only takes a small problem for your whole world to be turned upside down trying to get your trophies home or to your taxidermist.

Even if you are leaving Tuesday I would suggest that you contact a importer such as Safari Specialty Importers. They might cost some money but they will handle everything after you pull the trigger until the trophies are at their destination here in the States.

I am not a rich man but I used them on my safari and if I go back I will use them again.
 
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Rolf_T

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Which shipping company and broker do you suggest me? I live in Italy and I don't know no one that made a safari hunting in South Africa.
Thanks in advance.

I live in Scandinavia and use this company for all trophy shipments: http://labradorcargo.com
They have never failed, and deliver super service before, under and after a delivery.
If you want more info I’ll gladly share.
 

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