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Getting cape and horns back from AK
If I am lucky enough to get one....do you typically bring back with or have shipped to taxi? Thanks
I've done it both ways. Talk to your outfitter and see what he prefers.
A customer brought his back by using a large plastic tote box lined with 1" rigid foam for insulation. Personally I wouldn't want to risk not bringing it with me. Nothing worse than having a cape or head coming in a week to two weeks after it was shipped. Every taxidermist has horror stories on shipping. I was tracking an animal being shipped and it spent 5 days bumping around in Minnesota before it was shipped to California. Rotten on arrival.
I'm "old school" (and cheap) so everything comes home with me. Have a great hunt. C
I froze the cape and brought it back with me in my carry on. It was August and there was no way in heck that I was going to put it in a position to possibly get lost and ruined. I left my horns because the office wasn't open to get them plugged. My outfitter shipped them a week later after the proper paperwork was completed for him to check-in the horns.
Brought sheep and caribou capes, horns, and meat back from NWT. The caribou was tough, but made it without breaking anything. Had quite an ordeal getting that rack on the plane from Edmonton to Denver. I took a tote up there with me and got a cooler. It was a big load, with a bit of extra baggage, but got it all home.
The outfitter had the capes salted. The caribou was completely dry, but the sheep was still a little wet. Had to re-salt when I got home. The sheep skull plate and horns fit well in the tote with the two capes, and some of the meat. The meat in the tote was still frozen when I got home as well.
Bring it back with me if I can. Not always possible or practical. Like kota-man said talk before hand with your outfitter. It is good to have a plan and to be aware of the additional expenses up front. Seems like a whole cottage industry has sprung up around shipping trophies and it is not inexpensive.
What kind of tote did you use and did you duct tape it closed? Treeline, nice critters.
When I do bring my animals with me, I just use a Cabelas Boundary Waters Duffle Bag.
Dry bag xl if any blood gets out of the bag the airlines will not send .
I used one of those Rubermaid grey ones with the light grey, locking tops. We duct taped it, but had to open all of it when I got to customs.
I took a roll of duct tape with me. Might have been tough to get everything wrapped back up without it.
Harold spend a lot of time with the caribou antlers. Put borax on them and hung them to dry out, then wrapped them with plastic to travel. Cut cardboard and folded it over the points then taped in place. Then folded cardboard and put around the beams and taped in two sticks to support them and keep the skull plate whole for the trip.
It was quite a show going through the airports with a big duffle, tote, cooler, and wide caribou rack! Had an overnight in Edmonton coming back and had to take all that stuff on a cab, to the hotel and get it up and down the elevator. Then repeat coming back to the airport at 4:30 am (just to be way early!).
They told me I would have to ship my antlers separate at the counter so I got a cab and went to another area for an expeditor. They didn't open before my flight out so I went back to the airport. The guys that load up the plane came up and said that they might be able to get the rack in, but it would not fit on that plane. They said that the later flight would be a different kind of plane and we might have more room.
I waited for the later flight and we were able to get all my stuff loaded. They actually took me down when they were loading and we put the rack on top of all the other luggage.
Hard to believe that rack made it to Denver without breaking, though.
Left the velvet on so it couldn't make official score, but I wanted it mounted to look like it did when I shot it.
Looks good up on the wall!
Still need to get my sheep back! Guess I'll call my taxidermist and see if we can work something out. Tough when they are several states away!
BTW, the entire sheep skin was smaller folded up, than the caribou cape.
Brandon is correct, you can't have any blood dripping out or the airlines will freak out. A dry-bag or big ziplock like some use for their Scent-lock will keep the blood from running out from your meat.
I always bring them on the plane with me if at all possible. It is always possible in AK, it's just up to you. The dry bag is the best option. One time we split all the caribou skulls and shipped them air freight instead of excess baggage. That saved several hundred $ for the group. I brought a lifesize brown bear in a garbage can. It weighed 96# and your maximum is 100#. I even brought sheep, ibex and wolf capes and skulls from Kyrgyzstan. You just have to do some research and plan ahead. It is so worth the piece of mind that it gives you. Make sure it fits in your container and freeze it solid if at all possible. Try not to salt any cape until it is fully fleshed. It dries out stuff that needs to come of and your taxidermist will hate you for it. If it's not fleshed, freeze it.
Carry on baggage same for meat. Never gets weighed.
I've hauled a few sheep and goat lifesized capes/horns back from Alaska. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to bring with you on the airlines than having it shipped. I had the capes frozen before heading home. You can buy "action packers", coolers, or fish boxes at the Anchorage Walmart/Cabelas, or elsewhere. Make sure each isn't over the max size and weight for the airlines you are taking. I use my Kafaru pack as a carry-on and load it full of gear...plus a 2nd carry-on "hand bag" with all my optics and camera gear. I usually haul around 60 lbs through the airports..which saves on excess baggage charges. I gut my large rifle case on wheels...take out the foam and load it full of clothes and long gear (trekking poles, flyrods, bow or rifle, etc) My last trip I brought back around 300 lbs of gear, capes, meat, halibut, etc. If you tell the airline attendant that you have frozen capes, meat, etc they will mark it at the airport and put it in their cold storage area before loading it. Good luck and have a great trip!
Treeline, heck off a 'bou and what a project to get him back to CO! Worth it when you get to see him in your house everyday though. Who is mounting your Dall?
My cape was salted and dry. I brought my horns with me into Target and found a plastic container that they would fit in. (I got some funny looks walking around with sheep horns). I also bought some zip ties and put 2 TSA locks on it. Maybe overkill, but it was my first sheep. :) I was a very relieved guy when I saw that box come off of the conveyor in the baggage claim.
Could you put the cape and horns in a large plastic contractor bag and send with checked baggage? Or, a large waterproof travel bag like Sitka's Drifter bags?
If the cape is frozen it would likely freeze longer if you had it inside an insulated fish box or something similar. I'm pretty sure there is cold storage in Anchorage and again in Seattle if you check it in as "meat." The horns probably don't matter as much but may be a bit stinky? I boiled the horns off the skull and cleaned the skull/horns for the trip home. They didn't take up near as much room.
Geoff... I use a Cabelas Boundry Waters duffle bag. It has hauled sheep, elk, deer and even a musk ox. I would say it is even more water proof than the Drifter bags, which I love.p, but I think a plastic bag inside a Drifter and you'd be good to go.
There is a guy who drives his semi truck with a freezer trailer up to Alaska each fall. He will give you a pallet to stack all your meat, cape, antlers on. Then he wraps it up and keeps it in his freezer trailer. After the fall moose season he drives it down to the lower 48 and make scheduled stops in big towns along the way all across the US.
It isnt the fastest way to get an animal back to the lower 48 but it was definitely the cheapest and probably the most secure I have ever heard of. I think it is like $700 for a moose.
AKHUNTER, I've used that service . Alaska Meat Express . It was 700 for a moose . Worked great for me . No complaints
IIRC Alaska airlines will not fly antlers anymore, unless properly crated for cargo 100%sealed Have fun MikeC