Shipping Trophies has Gotten Outlandish

Gerry Addison

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I made a great hunt last May to SA and was able to harvest a great Buffalo, Sable, Springbok and warthog (see my hunt report with Blackthorn Safari). Had the trophies picked up by Splitting Image on our last day there. They were to do all the dip and pack of my animals but no taxidermy which they did after just about exactly one year and $1100. They then passed them off to the shipping company who sent me an invoice for $2815 to get the animals to Baltimore where they could go through customs. I wired the money the day after receiving the invoice. After not hearing anything I inquired about the shipping and they said because Delta won't fly any of the big 5 and I have a buffalo they have to ship it on Turkish Airways which doesn't fly into Baltimore so it would have to be trucked from IAD to Baltimore and it would cost an additional $1018. This has gotten to the point where I probably will not go back to Africa or if I do I won't bring any animals back to the states. When you total all the costs up it will end up costing more to get the animals here and mounted than it did to do the hunt! Am I crazy or is $4000 too high for a relatively small crate with skins and horns?
 
I'm not sure but the air cargo sounds cheap and it's been five years of so but trucking a crate from Atlanta to Baltimore was around $800. Call it Bidenomics and another reason to tell Delta to pound sand.
 
If it’s just dip & pack the crate will be relatively small, how close is the airport that they will be landing at? Just go pick them up if feasible.
 
Agree, that shipping charge from Dulles to Baltimore seems outlandish, that’s close enough I would drive down and pick up the crate myself, guessing it will weigh around 200 lbs
 
I'm not sure but the air cargo sounds cheap and it's been five years of so but trucking a crate from Atlanta to Baltimore was around $800. Call it Bidenomics and another reason to tell Delta to pound sand.
I made a great hunt last May to SA and was able to harvest a great Buffalo, Sable, Springbok and warthog (see my hunt report with Blackthorn Safari). Had the trophies picked up by Splitting Image on our last day there. They were to do all the dip and pack of my animals but no taxidermy which they did after just about exactly one year and $1100. They then passed them off to the shipping company who sent me an invoice for $2815 to get the animals to Baltimore where they could go through customs. I wired the money the day after receiving the invoice. After not hearing anything I inquired about the shipping and they said because Delta won't fly any of the big 5 and I have a buffalo they have to ship it on Turkish Airways which doesn't fly into Baltimore so it would have to be trucked from IAD to Baltimore and it would cost an additional $1018. This has gotten to the point where I probably will not go back to Africa or if I do I won't bring any animals back to the states. When you total all the costs up it will end up costing more to get the animals here and mounted than it did to do the hunt! Am I crazy or is $4000 too high for a relatively small crate with skins and horns?
I had shoulder mounts done in Zimbabwe on an nyala, a waterbuck, and a bushbuck, Plus a euro mount on a buffalo. Everything fit into one crate. The taxidermy bill was over $4000. Then I got the bill for shipping. It's t was also over $4000. When it arrived at SeaTac, I got another bill for $1558. So mounting and shipping 3 mounts plus a buffalo skull came out close to $10,000 and it then ok close to two years. If I make it back to Africa, I won't be bringing anything back except pictures.
 
If it’s just dip & pack the crate will be relatively small, how close is the airport that they will be landing at? Just go pick them up if feasible.
Dulles to Baltimore is about 60 miles, but they want $1018 to go that 60 miles. I would drive myself but it is 8 hours one way from my in Cincinnati.
 
I'd check with USF&W. Did the shipment clear in Atlanta or is it clearing in Baltimore. There are only so many ports of entry that you can clear with F&W.
 
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I'd check with USF&W. Did the shipment clear in Atlanta or is it clearing in Baltimore. There are only so man ports of entry that you can clear with F&W.
It will be clearing in Baltimore. Not going through Atlanta.
 
It will be clearing in Baltimore. Not going through Atlanta.
I cleared two shipments in Baltimore. Compared to Atlanta, it was a walk in the park.
 
June 27th I'm wheels up for my first Africa hunt in Zimbabwe and I won't be shipping anything back after reading countless horror stories on shipping and taxidermy.

All I'm bringing back is the experience, memories, HD pics and local souvenirs!
It’s a shame so many feel this way but it is totally understandable. When I get to this point I’ll quit going overseas to hunt. To me the displaying the trophies is the culmination of the hunt.
 
Am I missing something here? I always thought trophies had to clear customs, USDA if applicable and USF&W at the airport the first landed at or is this just customs?
 
The big problem is that everything has gone up in price so why shouldn't shipping?

This is where you need to stay in contact with your importer if you are using one. Talk to them before the hunt to see what you want to do. They do enough work bringing trophies into the US they can pretty much tell you a ball park figure on what it is going to cost.

My shipment 2 years ago was not very far off on cost on what I figured that it would be after talking to my importer months before I went on my hunt.
 
Turkish Airlines are also a bunch of pirates.
I'd check with USF&W. Did the shipment clear in Atlanta or is it clearing in Baltimore. There are only so many ports of entry that you can clear with F&W.
It has to clear wherever it lands from overseas.
 
I too am over shipping trophies home. My last two North America trophies are still in North America. The cost of freight, shipping agents fees, inspection fees, tax and other fees is a huge issue.

I’m not ever bringing anything back again unless I win the lottery.
 
Shop around for exporters on the Africa end. Taxidermist may want to recommend or even insist on dealing with a specific exporter/freight handler. Forget that. Money is going under the table. You can find lots of companies over there handling exporting. Once the taxidermist has the crate built, they can send you the weight AND dimensions. Then go shopping for quotes from freight outfits. TELL THEM THAT THE SHIPMENT MUST LEAVE AFRICA SATURDAY TO TUESDAY TO AVOID LANDING ON THIS SIDE THURSDAY OR FRIDAY. Then it will be held by Turkish Airlines in storage for at least four days over the weekend = $$$ ... unless you use a customs broker that has its own bonded warehouse. Customs brokers also are known to carry on business with an eyepatch and cutlass so shop around for them too if you can.

This trophy shipping ripoff has been a lively topic on here the last couple of years. Everyone planning a safari should use the search engine and do some homework. Do NOT rely on your outfitter or his taxidermist.
 
It has gotten considerably more expensive since Covid. What’s the significance of clearing the trophies in Baltimore? Seems like shipping and clearing at JFK then shipping to final destination would have made a lot more sense than flying to Dulles and trucking to Baltimore for clearing? Then trucking to final destination?
 
I don't give a second thought to driving 24-30 hrs to Montana every fall to hunt. Eight hours behind the wheel is a drive around the block for anyone raised in the West. And the flights to South Africa are almost as long as driving back to Montana (but I find those trips much more tiresome). I drove to Toronto last year to pick up my trophies ... about eighteen hours one way as I recall. Meah.
 

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