REPORT: My recent experience with Karoo Taxidermy

Bill Thompson

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A friend and I hunted South Africa in August 2014. Our trip started in Zululand for Nyala & Hyena and then traveled to the Eastern Cape for Caracal, Kudu, Zebra, White & Black Springbuck, steenbuck & warthog. Between a buddy and I we shot 17 great animals and had a great safari. Due to our proximately of hunting location we were referred to Karoo Taxidermy. They were going to handle dip & pack for us as we have our trophies mounted in the US. We heard mixed things on Karoo and were skeptical so we toured the facility and decided to give them a try.

Our US taxidermist created laminated tags for us and we delivered to Karoo. Our instructions were for them to use the laminated tags for our trophies, combine our crates (as much as possible) and can ship together as this would save on some shipping & entry costs. Before leaving their facility we reminded them as to the handling procedures.

Around the holidays my friend was contacted by an African Shipping Service stating that his trophies were to be shipped and demanded payment. He contacted the service and the trophies were on the way. Once stateside and cleared customs he was contacted by our Import Service. He contacted and found out that Karoo Taxidermy did not follow our instructions and shipped our trophies in 4 separate cardboard containers in 2 separate shipments. My trophies did not arrive until a few weeks later.

We hunted South Africa in 2011 and shot 16 animals. We shot 2 eland, 2 Kudu, 2 gemsbok, 2 zebra, 2 wildebeest (mostly large animals). Our Dip & Pack agent instructed us if we ever use a service other than to combine trophies and ship together. Our shipping bill was approx. $3,000. Our 2014 bill was $5,500 with mostly small animals.

Our taxidermist has us present when he opens the containers so that if there are issues we see first hand. I opened mine to find my caracal skull crushed (and could not have scored to trophy entry).

We communicated with Karoo's marketing manager our experience and he had little to say and will no longer answer emails. I ask to speak to his boss and I then sent a few emails to the owner CFO of Karoo. He has stopped responding to my emails.

After attending some sport shows this spring and running into other Americans that have used Karoo we have found the exact same story. Karoo does not follow client requests, takes your money and doesn't care. I will never use Karoo Taxidermy for any service. They have grown to large and customer service is terrible.
 

BRICKBURN

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All I can say is that just plain sucks.

Thanks for letting is know what happened with your trophies.

Do you have some pictures of the Caracal bones?
 

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Bill,
First of all, welcome to the forum!
Sorry to hear about your troubles. Maybe we can get Karoo to join in on this thread, and give us their side of the story.

All the best with your situation and please let us know if we can help in any way.

Take Care,
Marius Goosen
KMG Hunting Safaris
 

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Sad news indeed. We hear this from time to time on this forum. I really think it's important to check with others before using any service. You do a great service today by alerting everyone to this group.
 

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ekaroo is doing our taxidermy from last year
l havnt encounted any problem with their communication this far .
the air freight quote they gave me was real high ,but other than that the girl ive been emailing has been nothing short of excellent.
once completed l will be looking at sea freight , to try and lessen the expence.
we toured their facility and was most impressed with the service they provide .about half way through the tour my wife and l decided to get them to mount and tan everything .

its a damn shame your experience with them was a bummer ...........
sorry to hear that

welcome to AH bill
 

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Welcome to AH Bill, sorry to hear about your experience !
 

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Welcome to AH Bill. Sorry to hear of your problem with Karoo. Like Marius said I would also like Karoo to join in this discussion, I have been using them for 8 years without issue.
 

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Welcome to AH.

Sorry for your problems. There is no excuse for them to disregard your instructions. There is also no excuse to over boil small skulls. This is one of my pet peeves with too many African taxidermists.

Hopefully Karoo will join in on this thread to explain themselves. If they don't, one more name to add to the list.
 

Tim van Heerden

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Dear All
I am Tim van Heerden and I am the Marketing Manager of Karoo Taxidermy.
Please allow me to respond on Bill Thompson's recent experience with Karoo Taxidermy.
I can only look at the facts in front of me:

  • Bill bought a donated hunt at a Chapter show which included a $1000 taxidermy credit - T's & C's: not applicable on any Dip & Pack order, Part Dip & Pack/Taxidermy order, etc.
  • I can not find any request on email from either client that their trophies should be packed together in a single crate.
  • I do have the Client Information Sheet that Bill's hunting buddy completed and emailed to my client liaison - the Trophy Consolidation part (which is very clearly and in layman's terms described) on this document was left blank.
  • The Client Information Sheet does refer to the tags left at Karoo Taxidermy, with shipping information on it - being the clearing agent details and the US Taxidermy's details. (I do have a couple of tags left for Bill in his client file)
  • If the tags were omitted to be placed on Bill's trophies, for this I do apologise. Laminated trophy tags are put on the trophies just before shipping as they do no last during our trophy cleaning and preparation process.
  • All trophies (skins, skulls and horns) are marked with a livestock tag with a client's order number on - the only fail-safe method to ensure a client gets his own trophies back. These tags withstands our entire cleaning and preparation process.
  • The consignment was tagged with Karoo Taxidermy's shipping labels that indicated the Owner of the trophies, the Clearing Agent's details, the Taxidermist's details as well as Bill's Order number.
  • The trophies was send to the correct clearing agent in New York, a clearing agent that Bill or his taxidermist appointed, and at the end of the day, the trophies arrived at the correct taxidermist.
  • Karoo Taxidermy uses a sturdy, standardised cardboard box to export Dip & Pack trophies in. This is the industry standard for Dip & Pack and by far the majority of Taxidermists uses these boxes to ship raw plains game in. Pachyderms and giraffe do require wooden crates.
  • When a client's trophies are to many for one of these Dip & Pack boxes, a second, third or fourth box will be used.
  • Boxes are made smaller if a client have few trophies
  • Both clients had too many trophies to fit in a single box, hence the use of a second box for each client.
  • Bills' hunting buddy's export permits were received about a month before Bill's export permits were received from the government. Hence his trophies was shipped in November 2014 and Bill's only in December 2014.
  • Bill mentions above that the total shipping bill came to $5,500. The International Shipping Costs BOTH client's were billed for was $2,336 INCLUDING INSURANCE (insurance to the value of ZAR 160,000).
  • This gives me $3,164 for the clearance and delivery from Clearing Agent (whom Bill pointed) in New York to the taxidermist in Clarkston, MI. This invoice/check I have not seen.
  • When I queried Bill's initial email with this clearing agent (querying if packed together there would have been a significant cost saving), I am still awaiting a reply from them.
  • I am contesting Bills claim above that I had little to say about the matter. Please find below my response to his first email regarding the issue (3rd party names have been blanked out for obvious reasons):
        • Dear Messrs Thompson and XXXX
          Your recent emails to info@karootaxidermy.com refers:
          Firstly, XXXXX, please find below the reply dated November 10, 2014 Nikita sent you on your attached mail.
          Then there is a common misconception that packing raw (dip & pack) trophies together save you on shipping
          fees. That might well be the case in terms of mounted trophies. When we pack and crate our taxidermy mounted
          trophies, the smaller trophies fit into the void spaces around the bigger trophies. Your smaller trophies therefore
          ship for free so to speak.

          We use sturdy one size cardboard boxes to ship our dip & Pack trophies. Their size is
          approximately H: 19” X L:43” X W:27”. The height is adjustable to a maximum of approximately 30”.
          Cardboard boxed are much lighter than wooden crates and herein lies already a considerable saving shipping wise.
          Horns, skulls and hides are packed in such a manner to effectively use space with very little, if any void space in
          the boxes. In order to optimize space in your box, most of the trophies’ hornpipes are detached from the skulls.

          This optimisation of space also secure your trophies inside the box and prevents the contents from damaging each other.
          The only instance where you would have had a slight advantage in packing your trophies together, is if you both only had
          a few small trophies shipped.

          The reason why your trophies was shipped in more than one box is simply that it could not all fit into one box. The reason
          why your trophies was not packed together is that it does not make sense to mix the trophies if multiple boxes are required
          in any case. Dip & Pack trophies is charged by either the actual weight or the volumetric weight, which ever is the greatest.

          And I want to guarantee you if we put all your trophies mixed into one box we would have come to virtually the same actual
          and volumetric weights. And if we packed it in a single wooden crate, it would have weighed much more – with an obvious
          increase in cost.

          With regards to the cost involved of your shipment, I had a look a the volume of trophies shipped versus the invoice amounts
          from xxxxx Freight and I must say that it is not out of line. If I compare it to my shipping estimates I normally give clients,
          yours is about $200 less.

          Over the clearance fees and delivery charges of XXXXXXXXX I have no control unfortunately. You appointed them at the
          start of the process and we assume you have a working relationship with them. I do suggest in future that you ship your trophies
          to your closest port of entry, in your case Chicago, in order to avoid exorbitant transportation costs from the port of
          entry to your taxidermist.


          I trust you find my explanation satisfactory.

          Sincerely yours,
          Tim

  • (I have now highlighted in RED a very important fact applicable to all international hunters should know)
  • After Bill's emotional reply on this email of mine and the reply of his hunting buddy threatening me to go viral about this, I decided not to go into further deliberation about this.
  • Once Bill informed me about the Caracal Skull I did request him to forward me photographs in order for me to resolve that issue. I have yet to receive these photos.
Karoo Taxidermy strives to deliver a quality product at a competitive price topped with great service, and to keep total costs in our control to a minimum to all clients. This is what makes clients return year after year to Africa, to South Africa and to Karoo Taxidermy. Fortunately we satisfy most of our clients - our ultimate constituency.

I thank you AfricaHunting.com for allowing us to state our point of view.

Sincerely yours,
Tim van Heerden
 

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Hi Bill, welcome to the forum. Could you PM me and tell me who your clearing agent was?. I am making my first trip to Africa in September and have hired an agent. I want to make sure it's not the same people other wise I will need to contact them.
 

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I have used Karoo several times and have had no issues whatsoever with my trophies. Actually I refuse to use anyone else nowadays as they are the only ones that have delivered exceptional trophies every time for me. On the other hand I always splurge and tell them to ship in a wooden crate to minimise the risk of manhandling by the airport workers.

This does not mean something can't go wrong for other people but I have never had any issues with them (3 consignments of trophies so far).

Just my 2 cents...
 

Brandon Ryan

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Hello all,
I am the hunting buddy, (Brandon ) and true I did after multiple attempts to resolve these issues with Karoo taxidermy inform them that I will definitely share our experience with other hunters so they do not experience the same issues and horrible customer service that we did. What Tim calls threatening I call an opportunity to resolve a serious issue with a client. After speaking with out taxidermist, customs clearing company and using previous information from the first dip and pack company we had the pleasure of using in Africa (2011), unfortunately no longer in business, know that combining your shipment does save you money! We requested this be done and also provided laminated shipping tags that our taxidermist provided us before we left, these were not used either. We experienced a significant increase in shipping costs because they failed to follow our instructions. Once Karoo receives their money they are done with you. Furthermore, last weekend at the SCI fundraiser Novi chapter, I spoke with two other hunters that had purchased the donation at a previous fundraiser and found that they also had requested that Karoo ship their trophies together, spoiler alert! they didn't. I will ask them to log in and comment. Tim commented that the reason our trophies were sent in multiple boxes is that it would not fit into one, that my friends is hilarious, maybe if you used wooden crates like most instead of cheap cardboard you could ship as requested. Tim also mentions above for some odd reason that the Donated hunt that we purchased included a $1,000.00 taxidermy voucher that didn't include Dip and Pack, we were all well aware of that and knew that from the get go, and has nothing to do with this, but now that you mentioned it, I am so glad that we chose to let that voucher expire because I would hate to try and resolve a damaged mount or more serious issue that could arise with continuing any type of business relationship with Karoo. I love hunting Africa and hope to continue for the rest of my life, if anyone has any recommendations for a good dip and pack company in the Eastern Cape, I would love to hear it.
 

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Hello all,
I am the hunting buddy, (Brandon ) and true I did after multiple attempts to resolve these issues with Karoo taxidermy inform them that I will definitely share our experience with other hunters so they do not experience the same issues and horrible customer service that we did. What Tim calls threatening I call an opportunity to resolve a serious issue with a client. After speaking with out taxidermist, customs clearing company and using previous information from the first dip and pack company we had the pleasure of using in Africa (2011), unfortunately no longer in business, know that combining your shipment does save you money! We requested this be done and also provided laminated shipping tags that our taxidermist provided us before we left, these were not used either. We experienced a significant increase in shipping costs because they failed to follow our instructions. Once Karoo receives their money they are done with you. Furthermore, last weekend at the SCI fundraiser Novi chapter, I spoke with two other hunters that had purchased the donation at a previous fundraiser and found that they also had requested that Karoo ship their trophies together, spoiler alert! they didn't. I will ask them to log in and comment. Tim commented that the reason our trophies were sent in multiple boxes is that it would not fit into one, that my friends is hilarious, maybe if you used wooden crates like most instead of cheap cardboard you could ship as requested. Tim also mentions above for some odd reason that the Donated hunt that we purchased included a $1,000.00 taxidermy voucher that didn't include Dip and Pack, we were all well aware of that and knew that from the get go, and has nothing to do with this, but now that you mentioned it, I am so glad that we chose to let that voucher expire because I would hate to try and resolve a damaged mount or more serious issue that could arise with continuing any type of business relationship with Karoo. I love hunting Africa and hope to continue for the rest of my life, if anyone has any recommendations for a good dip and pack company in the Eastern Cape, I would love to hear it.
Who was the importer in NY?
 

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And you were dissatisfied? I m not using them on my trip in September but have used them in the past. They handled my NZ trophies.. Did cost me quite a bit
 

Brandon Ryan

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I have used Karoo several times and have had no issues whatsoever with my trophies. Actually I refuse to use anyone else nowadays as they are the only ones that have delivered exceptional trophies every time for me. On the other hand I always splurge and tell them to ship in a wooden crate to minimise the risk of manhandling by the airport workers.

This does not mean something can't go wrong for other people but I have never had any issues with them (3 consignments of trophies so far).

Just my 2 cents...
Hi Tim,
We didn't have to splurge before that's just how our trophies were shipped in wooden crates. And you say you tell them to ship in a wooden crate, we told them to ship ours together and use our tags, they didn't. But I am glad that you have had no problems yet.
 

Brandon Ryan

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And you were dissatisfied? I m not using them on my trip in September but have used them in the past. They handled my NZ trophies.. Did cost me quite a bit
Hi Johnny,

Our problem wasn't with Flora and Fauna it was with Karoo Taxidermy in the eastern cape of South Africa. I have used Flora and Fauna before no complaints.
 

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Thanks.
 

Brandon Ryan

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ekaroo is doing our taxidermy from last year
l havnt encounted any problem with their communication this far .
the air freight quote they gave me was real high ,but other than that the girl ive been emailing has been nothing short of excellent.
once completed l will be looking at sea freight , to try and lessen the expence.
we toured their facility and was most impressed with the service they provide .about half way through the tour my wife and l decided to get them to mount and tan everything .

its a damn shame your experience with them was a bummer ...........
sorry to hear that

welcome to AH bill
Bluey,
Ask how many of their cardboard boxes they are using? The freight is where we incurred the increase because they shipped our trophies in four small cardboard boxes separately. I also toured their warehouse and was far from impressed, so much in that we left a $1,000.00 taxidermy voucher there unused. I can tell from your post that you haven't received your trophies home yet, once you do, let us all know how that turned out, please. Good Luck Hunting!
 

rodney russell

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we used karoo for a hunt in 2013 and couldn't be more pleased with the service and quality. the people we delt with were of great help through out the whole process and with all the screws we pulled out of our wooden crate we could have built a small deck. we plan on using them again.
 

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