SA rules regarding exporting a trophy yourself

Pirkan

AH senior member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
57
Reaction score
124
Location
Sweden
Hunting reports
Africa
1
I will go on my first hunting safari ever in April and will mainly hunt cull animals but I would like to bring home one trophy to remember my trip. I am however on a somewhat tight budget and the cost of preparing and shipping the trophy, most likely a euro mounted Impala, to me here in Sweden is to big for my budget and I would rather spend that money on more animals. When i mentioned this predicament to a more experienced friend of mine he mentioned that I could try bringing it home myself in my luggage. I of course looked into this as best I could and no permits are needed on the Swedish side as long as it´s a mounted trophy. This pretty much means that if i could boil the skull and screw it to a piece of wood in camp and get it to Swedish customs I´d be gtg. The only problem with this plan is that I don´t know what the South African authorities would think of this. Fortunately this forum is full of this kind of knowledge so I was hoping someone here would know or could point me in the right direction
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Most of the time you would want a receipt for customs that it was a finished and treated product that you are bringing back. A curio shop receipt would maybe work. USA is different for sure, but we brought back skins from a shop and the customs guy asked what’s in bag, we said hides from a curio shop and didn’t ask anything more. Maybe their PH knows a curio shop place that could provide you a receipt? Or better yet, maybe his local taxidermist could use some capes or horns for his shop in exchange for doing your mount while there and giving you receipt?
 
The only problem with this plan is that I don´t know what the South African authorities would think of this. Fortunately this forum is full of this kind of knowledge so I was hoping someone here would know or could point me in the right direction

Your problem is not going to be getting the skull out of Africa. It's very unlikely that South African Customs will check your bags leaving the county. Your only issue will be with getting it into your home country. If you are certain that a boiled skull attached to some wood will fly with Swedish Customs, then you should have no issues.

As Fryeguy correctly mentioned, most countries will allow finished taxidermy and souvenirs from animal parts into the country provided they are certified as tanned and treated products. Commercially tanned hides purchased in RSA will have a veterinary's ink stamp on them. Also, a receipt from a curio shop or taxidermist will usually suffice the Customs inspectors of the country you intend to import into. If you could get a receipt of some sort from a dip & pack facility or the taxidermist that boiled your skull, it might be a good insurance policy even if you are confident that Swedish Customs will let you bring in a boiled skull with no paperwork.
 
Not sure about Sweden, but getting trophies from SA to Norway is no where near the cost and paperwork our US friends tell about on this forum.
But-better spend your money on more hunting and take photos then pay for moving a box around..
 
Your problem is not going to be getting the skull out of Africa. It's very unlikely that South African Customs will check your bags leaving the county. Your only issue will be with getting it into your home country. If you are certain that a boiled skull attached to some wood will fly with Swedish Customs, then you should have no issues.

As Fryeguy correctly mentioned, most countries will allow finished taxidermy and souvenirs from animal parts into the country provided they are certified as tanned and treated products. Commercially tanned hides purchased in RSA will have a veterinary's ink stamp on them. Also, a receipt from a curio shop or taxidermist will usually suffice the Customs inspectors of the country you intend to import into. If you could get a receipt of some sort from a dip & pack facility or the taxidermist that boiled your skull, it might be a good insurance policy even if you are confident that Swedish Customs will let you bring in a boiled skull with no paperwork.
I´ve contacted the relevant Swedish authority and gotten this as an answer:
Finished items

For finished items, however, there are no infection protection restrictions in the form of e.g. requirements for a veterinary health certificate. The same applies to certain hunting trophies and other preparations such as stuffed animals and various types of montages. Products that can be counted as finished items are e.g. ready-made montages where the skull or horns are mounted on a plate, have hooks or hooks to be hung on the wall. Leather must be fully treated (eg tanned, simply dried is not enough).



However, in the case of finished items, it must be accompanied by a so-called trade document, which in this case can be a simple piece of paper, where the sender, receiver, quantity, type of product and date of dispatch must be stated.

This means that I should be good to go if I boil the skull and nail it to a piece of wood and throw it in my suitcase together with a note that says something like "1 Impala sent: date of home travel, sender: hunting outfitter, receiver: Pirkan"

As long as I´m not going to end up in an african jail on suspicions of smuggling endangered animals or something its worth a try.

The reply was originally in Swedish and I used Google translate but I think it´s good enough.
 
leaving SA with a skull that hasn’t been dipped & packed may be a issue if they check or find it, sometimes dogs are on to help with Rhino poaching products, or so they say.

I have a few times left with animal bits, mostly taxidermy tanned & skulls I have cleaned up.

On the skulls a lot of skulls the horns come off the cores so it can be 100% clean after boiling & then peroxided, you need a bit of time to get this all done nicely & dried .

On Impala, Wildebeest, Buffalo & some others the horns can not be removed making it very hard to get super clean & sanitised before your trip home !

I cleaned up my Wildebeest & Covid held me up a couple of years so it was fine then.

I believe holes drilled into the boss rear & Formaldehyde/formalin injected or poured into them would do the job but on an Impala I’m not sure, we just dry them but again this takes time .
 
At the Tambo (Joburg) airport there's a big curio shop after customs.
They have zebra skins and some other animals very reasonably priced and they do a great job of packing them.
Buy one to remind you your trip to Africa and take it as carry-on.
Cheaper and easier solution.
 
I don’t know the rules, but think this is good to consider. Technically it’s not a finished product even if it might appear to be. After you boil it, it would be the responsible thing to do to dip in bleach or peroxide to kill any bacteria or bugs that could do unintentional harm in Sweden.
 
I agree with just picking up a hide or two in the airport, or even having your PH stop during your hunt to find something that you would like.

While it won't be your trophy it should be a good representation of what you hunted.

The time to process a euro or just dip and pack a trophy is longer than a lot think. Not to mention that you need to be there in the right time frame to get yours done before you leave.
 
With all the uncertainties it seems that buying a hide at the airport is the safest option. Guess I'll save the trophies for when I return in a couple of years with a proper budget.
 
At the Tambo (Joburg) airport there's a big curio shop after customs.
They have zebra skins and some other animals very reasonably priced and they do a great job of packing them.
Buy one to remind you your trip to Africa and take it as carry-on.
Cheaper and easier solution.
I think a zebra skin was $7_800 a few years ago in Tambo. A blue wildebeest skin is about $120 from a tannery in Namibia.
 
This summer at "Out of Africa" JNB zebra is 16,000 Rand and at Cambanos they are 12,000 Rand for AAA+++ and 10,000 Rand for AAA. Hope that helps.
 
Another possibility - leave a trophy/hide to get worked in-country. Schedule a trip the next year to pick it up. Of course you would need to carry your rifle for personal protection for the 5-7 days you are there "doing paperwork". Get on the airplane with your finished trophy(s).
 
Another possibility - leave a trophy/hide to get worked in-country. Schedule a trip the next year to pick it up. Of course you would need to carry your rifle for personal protection for the 5-7 days you are there "doing paperwork". Get on the airplane with your finished trophy(s).
My plan is to start studying at university in August so I'll probably not be able to afford another safari for the next couple of years. Otherwise I'd definitely do that
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,032
Messages
1,168,800
Members
95,572
Latest member
TahliaOshe
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

NRA Life, ASSRA Life, GGCA Life
Sable @ the lodge this morning

Buffalo encounter this morning!

here with available dates for 2024/25

1-13 September 2024
14-31 October 2024
1-7 November 2024
18-24 November 2024

March 2025 is wide open!
12-17 April 2025
24-28 May 2025
15-21 June 2025
7-12 July 2025
22-28 July 2025
13-31 August 2025
15-30 September 2025

October and November 2025 is wide open!
Bill J H wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Do you still have this rifle? I'm in the KC area on business and I'm very interested.
 
Top