Taxidermy sticker shock
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
BowmanMD 17-Jan-23
Bou'bound 17-Jan-23
fuzzy 17-Jan-23
Highlife 17-Jan-23
StickFlicker 17-Jan-23
Matt 17-Jan-23
Beendare 17-Jan-23
bghunter 17-Jan-23
Bake 17-Jan-23
Beendare 17-Jan-23
Dale06 17-Jan-23
Zackman 17-Jan-23
bigeasygator 17-Jan-23
jjs 17-Jan-23
jjs 17-Jan-23
goyt 17-Jan-23
BowmanMD 17-Jan-23
Highlife 17-Jan-23
Ollie 17-Jan-23
WhattheFOC 17-Jan-23
Matt 17-Jan-23
bghunter 17-Jan-23
RonP 17-Jan-23
Snuffer 17-Jan-23
HDE 17-Jan-23
Tracker 17-Jan-23
Ambush 17-Jan-23
Whocares 17-Jan-23
DonVathome 17-Jan-23
Jims 17-Jan-23
Fields 17-Jan-23
BowmanMD 17-Jan-23
Missouribreaks 18-Jan-23
Mad Trapper 18-Jan-23
Franzen 18-Jan-23
Pat Lefemine 18-Jan-23
bghunter 18-Jan-23
M.Pauls 18-Jan-23
ILbowhntr 18-Jan-23
fuzzy 18-Jan-23
BOWNBIRDHNTR 18-Jan-23
bghunter 18-Jan-23
Live2Hunt 18-Jan-23
BowmanMD 18-Jan-23
Chief 419 18-Jan-23
Murph 18-Jan-23
Pat Lefemine 18-Jan-23
From: BowmanMD
17-Jan-23
I don't know why I'm always surprised by the taxidermy bill, but here I am again. Did British Columbia last fall with my 17yo son and I shot a stone sheep and he shot a caribou. The outfitter just sent me the bill for trophy prep, crating, import documentation, taxes, and freight--$1785 EACH. Ouch. And that's before the taxidermist even touches it. I get it, that's a small percentage of the cost of the hunt overall, but it still hurts especially when you're not expecting it. Same thing happened when I did muskox in Greenland a few years ago--getting the cape and horns home was almost as much as the original hunt cost. Now I'm doing my first Africa trip later this year and I've heard that getting trophies home can sometimes be more than the price of the hunt. Definitely first world problems and I'm grateful I can afford to do experiences like this and make the memories with friends and family and then keep those memories alive with the taxidermy on my wall, but it's an expensive hobby for sure. (Golf would have been SOOO much cheaper.) I guess I share this more for those guys who are on a tight budget because those extras can add up real fast. No doubt worth it in the long run, but the day you get the bill can be painful!

From: Bou'bound
17-Jan-23
Digital pictures and a nice 8x10 frame will do wonders for saving money for the next adventure. Easier to get rid of when the time Comes as well.

That Greenland process is amazing and anyone that did it in covid got tripley pounded.

From: fuzzy
17-Jan-23
My NF bear rugs from my son and I 's 2015 stickbow bear hunt (we both killed bears first full hunting day) ran over $2,200 some of the best money I ever spent.

From: Highlife
17-Jan-23
Due to covid. By the time I got my trophies from africa. I could have gone again and had money in my pocket. I was raped over the shipping fees

From: StickFlicker
17-Jan-23

StickFlicker's embedded Photo
StickFlicker's embedded Photo
StickFlicker's embedded Photo
Actual Invoice for Dip & Pack of 8 Animals in 2022
StickFlicker's embedded Photo
Actual Invoice for Dip & Pack of 8 Animals in 2022
I agree, the costs of getting trophies home are completely ridiculous and definitely affect my willingness to bring specific trophies home or even go on a particular hunt. I think you'll find shipping African trophies home a little more reasonable than those you quote from BC, at least on a per-animal basis. The overall cost can get high because of the number of animals you're likely to take in Africa, but when all is said and done the price per animal will be FAR less than your BC hunt. I would not expect them to be anywhere near twice the cost of the hunt as you were told.

I've attached a pic showing the costs our Dip & Pack company is charging us to prepare and crate last year's trophies for shipping. Shipping prices have been all over the place in the last two years due to Covid, and they won't quote that until they know how large the crate will have to be for the trophies taken. You can see that the dip and pack for 7 assorted animals might cost approximately $1,000 before shipping costs are added. I'm expecting shipping to be approximately $1,000 or maybe a little more, but we'll see. Then there are costs for the import agent in the U.S. to get them through airport customs and ship them to you or your taxidermist in the U.S., which might cost another $1,000. So, maybe up to $3,000 on the higher side to get 7 trophies back, which is still well under the per trophy costs you had in B.C. And additional trophies will normally lower your per-trophy costs since you've already paid the fixed fees associated with the shipment (permits, inspections, etc.).

From: Matt
17-Jan-23
Why didn't you throw your cape and horns in a bag and fly them home with you? Extra bag fees are much less than $1,785.

From: Beendare
17-Jan-23
Can you so that?

I know we couldn’t take hide/ horns when we did our Australian buffalo hunt. The US government required those hides to be treated and disinfected before transport.

From: bghunter
17-Jan-23
That is the one thing that has prevented me from looking at trips overseas, Africa, Europe etc.. is I have heard shipping cost are insane.

From: Bake
17-Jan-23
Yep. I got a little sticker shock from getting last round of Africa trophies home. And the company did a crappy job as well. Some trophies were boiled way too much. Skulls were broken. Lower jawbone was broken, etc. Disappointing.

I know guys say to take pictures. . . . but I just can't do it. Possessing the trophy is a part of the process for me personally. If you're happy with pics, good for you. But I like to hold and look at my trophies.

From: Beendare
17-Jan-23
Its inflation pure and simple. Shipping has been hit harder than everything else.

From: Dale06
17-Jan-23
I went to Africa three times. May go once more. I have 15 or so African shoulder mounts. If I had to do it over, I would have euro mounted only, if that. The exception being a zebra skin. I would still have a zebra rug.

From: Zackman
17-Jan-23
I have brought back cape and horns from Canada for sheep, muskox, mountain goat on my flights. Saves a lot each trip. It would be nice if all of your options as a hunter would be presented to you ahead of time by your outfitter.

From: bigeasygator
17-Jan-23
Why didn't you throw your cape and horns in a bag and fly them home with you? Extra bag fees are much less than $1,785.

I tried to do that with my moose this year. I was told by the outfitter that trophies needed to be inspected in BC and we didn’t have time to set that up before I was to fly out, so my antlers would need to be shipped. But other’s miles may very. And yes, shipping trophies wasn’t cheap.

From: jjs
17-Jan-23
An old friend is closing up his taxidermy shop which he has been doing it for close to 40 yrs. He has customers pleading to stay open do to the lack of talented taxidermist, he said he done and is very tired dealing with the supplier's cost and increase of customers not picking up their mounts which he sales to a secondary market just to recover his expense, he started an increase of a down payment to off set.

As far as Africa mounts he stop doing them last year, had one gent that left 7 mounts and wouldn't respond to pic them up.

He tells his customers that a mount is a luxury and have better adjust their budget to it, like he said with some their eyeballs are bigger than their wallet.

From: jjs
17-Jan-23
An old friend is closing up his taxidermy shop which he has been doing it for close to 40 yrs. He has customers pleading to stay open do to the lack of talented taxidermist, he said he done and is very tired dealing with the supplier's cost and increase of customers not picking up their mounts which he sales to a secondary market just to recover his expense, he started an increase of a down payment to off set.

As far as Africa mounts he stop doing them last year, had one gent that left 7 mounts and wouldn't respond to pic them up.

He tells his customers that a mount is a luxury and have better adjust their budget to it, like he said with some their eyeballs are bigger than their wallet.

From: goyt
17-Jan-23
I have been fortunate and have been able to avoid most of those costs. I shot a MTN goat in WY. The outfitter worked with a taxidermist and a meat processor. The taxidermist wanted twice to three times what I would pay locally for a mount plus another couple thousand to pack and ship it. He wanted over $500 to ship the hide and horns. The meat processor would charge a fortune to process and ship meat of questionable quality or if I paid something like $200 they would process the meat and give it away.

I asked the outfitter to take me to Walmart. I bought a cooler and some gallon freezer bags for about $75. I cut up the goat and froze it in the freezer bags. The next morning, I packed the hide and skull in the cooler with the frozen meat and headed to the airport. I saved thousands of dollars. I enjoyed eating the lions and back straps and had the rest of the meat make into a great summer sausage. On Canadian sheep hunts I did the same thing except I travelled with the cooler full of gear on the way out. Full service is easy but not cheap.

From: BowmanMD
17-Jan-23
Honestly, I’m just like most people in that I don’t like surprises. It would have been way better if I had at least known beforehand it would cost that much. A little communication goes a long ways.

From: Highlife
17-Jan-23
My shipping fees almost tripled because of covid.

From: Ollie
17-Jan-23
I think your taxidermy costs are a lot less than what you paid as a non resident to hunt Stone’s sheep and caribou. What do Stone’s sheep hunts go for these days? I’m guessing north of $40K.

From: WhattheFOC
17-Jan-23
Last time I brought critters home from Africa, they found one dead bug in one of the skulls so they quarantined the entire shipment and sent them via dedicated transport to a govt approved taxidermist - by the time they were done with their song and dance over the one dead bug, I had spent more on the quarantine than the freight from RSA. I think I’m done with AfricA.

From: Matt
17-Jan-23
"Can you so that?"

When travelling from Canada to the US, absolutely. I've done it with a mountain goat from BC and a dall sheep from NWT. Sheep need to be plugged before they can be transported. That is an easy enough process (~30 minutes), but you need to account for game department business hours and such to allow time when booking your return travel.

The only time I had to ship a rack was on a NWT caribou, and that was only because the antlers were held back an extra day and flown as "cargo" due to their size. Had I known this was a possibility, I would have just booked my flight home from Calgary a day later. As it worked out, I had an expediter pick them up at the airport and ship them to me.

Ditto on Zack's comment on working with your outfitter to avoid expensive and avoidable pitfalls.

From: bghunter
17-Jan-23
On my lion hunt in Utah. I was lucky I tagged out second day. Guide skinned, quartered etc for me . Froze it all in his freezer. He took me to Wal Mart and I bought a big tote and duck tape. I stayed a couple days in St George, what the heck I was suppose to stay 6 days anyways. When I was ready to leave guide dropped off my froze hide and meat. I paid the extra baggage and flew it home.

It was one of the best ways I traveled getting hide and meat home.

Like others have said it is nice not to be surprised. I understand costs increase, but when shipping of animals costs more then then the hunt itself, which I have heard stories of from both Africa and Argentina hard to justify.

From: RonP
17-Jan-23
"Digital pictures and a nice 8x10 frame will do wonders for saving money for the next adventure. Easier to get rid of when the time Comes as well."

X2!

If you can take the antlers/horns, take a couple measurements and cut them off at the bases. Mount them on a plaque or Mountain Mike's skull replica when you get home.

From: Snuffer
17-Jan-23
You killed a stone sheep. Don't complain about a few bucks for a mount. Good grief move on.

From: HDE
17-Jan-23
If someone is on a tight budget, should they even be concerned with getting shoulder mounts done?

From: Tracker
17-Jan-23
I have all the shoulder mounts I need. I have been doing Euro mounts for that last 10 years except for my Aoudad. Several years ago I did an Ibex hunt in Mongolia while I was stationed in Seoul Korea. On my way back to Seoul thru China I was stopped by China customs who said my visa was not valid. They marched me out on the tarmac and put me back on a plane to Mongolia. My horns went on its way to Korea. They quickly got confiscated. After visits to the American embsasssy and China Embassy in Mongolia I finally got a flight back to Seoul. After lots of bribes I finally got my Ibex back. The cape I had rolled up in my carry-on that never got checked hehe. I eventually got it back to the States and it is on the wall for me to look at every day. Is funny now but was not at the time.

From: Ambush
17-Jan-23
Yikes Bowman!!! Did they have to fly first class?!? For that I would have drove them to Wisconsin for you and did some deer hunting while I was there. I assume you'd already paid the tags and royalty fee?

From: Whocares
17-Jan-23
My daughter was here today and we talked about her lion mount. She paid $4500 about 3 years ago. Beautiful mount. My grandson has one now he's waiting to do and that same TD is up to $7500! Yah, some good 8x10s can be pretty nice!

From: DonVathome
17-Jan-23
I always take the cape as my carry on. I cut horns and box - checked bag. My AK moose hurt. Horns a couple pounds over 50 cape also over 50. Flew home all my gear, cape, horns,and 80# of meat, all with me. Baggage was about $800. All other trophies cost under $100 extra. I travel very light going there. I need under 100#'s for everything going.

Carry on and checked bags,are never weighed. I get 80# of meat in them.

From: Jims
17-Jan-23
It's tough to find a quality taxidermist and you usually get what you pay for! With those 2 thoughts in mind I can't afford modern day taxidermy so started doing it myself. Some of the new videos and taxidermy products are pretty amazing. Just need a good shop to get it done. I've been doing my own replica fish for years. It takes a lot of time and a bit of artistic ability but is pretty cool looking at the critters you've harvested and mounted yourself.

From: Fields
17-Jan-23
Wow... I guess my age is starting to show.. I surely don't shoot many animals, but my taxidermy days are over... Have enough and eventually, what is going to happen to them?... Couldn't imagine paying some of the outrageous prices to mount an animal, on top of the cost of the hunt...

The picture idea - "Digital pictures and a nice 8x10 frame will do wonders for saving money for the next adventure. Easier to get rid of when the time Comes as well." well said.. LOL

From: BowmanMD
17-Jan-23
I didn't ask anybody to cry me a river for my $4k bill and I didn't include a link to my GoFundMe page, especially after paying $40k for a stone sheep hunt. Like I said, I feel fortunate to be able to do hunts like that and I was lucky that I actually bought it 4 years ago when the prices were more "reasonable" (tongue firmly planted in cheek--that same hunt is now going for nearly $70k). My point was simply that it all adds up, especially some of the hidden costs. In hindsight, I would have either driven up to camp (40 hours+ each way) or I would have been more creative with my packing on the plane as some have suggested. Live and learn. It's definitely got me thinking that I might do more euro mounts in the future, especially the Africa stuff.

18-Jan-23

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Timely topic. These are as received dipped and shipped Eland and Gemsbok skulls. I will paint them with Kilz Premium. put the horn sheaths on. And hang them next to the quality photo and frame that I had done using the Keepsake app. Cheap and easy.

And easier to throw away for my daughter :>))))

18-Jan-23
Don't confuse taxidermy fees with transportation costs. In actual taxidermy fees, you will generally get what you pay for.

From: Mad Trapper
18-Jan-23
I just had a Canadian moose shipped unsplit from BC to Pennsylvania. The hide was salted and prepped by the outfitter. They use a Taxidermist that is a US resident who drives up and picks them up. They handled all inspections, etc. then build a crate and ship it. When the dust settled, it cost me a round $1K. I had it shipped directly to my taxidermist. To get it shipped to my residence, it would have cost me an extra $400. I think that Pope & Young and Boone &Crocket need to come up with a procedure that allows a hunter to get the antlers split for shipping. I under stand the concern about guys trying to "pad" their score when splitting the skull. But I think that you could handle it with some rule changes. Maybe making it clear that any set of antlers that were split before scoring would be ineligible for world record status and maybe even in the top 10. I seem to recall seeing some split antlers at the convention that were panel scored? I am not sure, but I did see a set of split antlers displayed with the other panel scored animals. Not sure what that was about. My 2 cents.

18-Jan-23
I think many of us, not all of course. go through the same cycle. We want a trophy room to commemorate our greatness. And Bwana skills. But then eventually wish we spent that money on more adventures

From: Franzen
18-Jan-23
I don't want to knock on you too bad, but this thread is a decent example of why a portion of the general public would be against trophy hunting. No doubt, I get the sentiment, but for pete sake you're hunting stone sheep with your son. What is your thought on much of the CONUS attempting to price out the average hunter in a lot of ways?

From: Pat Lefemine
18-Jan-23
I don’t think there’s any way to say it other than it’s a racket. They have you over a barrel and everyone is taking a cut. Cost me 4K to get my Cape buffalo horns and cape back from Mozambique ten years ago. It’s ridiculous.

From: bghunter
18-Jan-23
Jay,

Just curious what we're your shipping cost from Africa for the two Euro skulls?

From: M.Pauls
18-Jan-23
These are some outrageous prices in shipping animals for sure. But when it comes to the actual taxidermy cost, I’ll be honest, I always think, man I wouldn’t do it for that price. Like a whitetail shoulder mount, $650. By the time supplies are paid for, meeting with the client about what he/she wants etc, all for 3-400 profit. I don’t think anyone’s getting rich. Maybe on some of the lifesize stuff, if you’re really efficient, there’s some money to be made, but on 70% of what a taxidermist has to do, I always think it would be a tough way to make a living.

I come from the trades, and the amount of intellectually hindered people making that kind of money dragging their feet around job sites makes me feel bad for taxidermists. Guess I’m on the other side of this.

From: ILbowhntr
18-Jan-23
Some of the shipping costs make driving a lot more attractive when you can.

From: fuzzy
18-Jan-23
There are two completely different subjects in play here. Shipping cost and taxidermist costs. Taxidermist are artists and skilled technicians (or not) and good work is worth the cost. Shipping is something I have never dealt with aside from deer meat from Kodiak (painful but worth it at dinner time) and the finished bear rugs from NF (very fair IMO but a bit frustrating since I was actually in NF on moose hunt when they arrived at my home in VA, a bit of communication on my part could've saved me a couple hundred bucks).

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
18-Jan-23
I'm with both M. Pauls and Pat...I don't believe most taxidermists are gouging anyone. The people I have used work hard and they are doing everything they can to replicate what you want to see on your wall. Shipping on the other hand can get ridiculous. As Pat said they have you over a barrel. Most don't seem to give a hoot about your trophy other than they know you will pay whatever it takes to get it home.

18-Jan-23

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Bghunter, here is what I had dipped and Packed. And the cost of that. Then to crate and ship on a plane to Chicago was $1625. Then to have the shipment inspected and signed for at customs. Then shipped to my home was another $1373 Luckily we killed most our desired African animals when it was much more reasonable.

18-Jan-23

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
This bull was a decades long dream and there was no doubt on paying for the taxidermy. And they definitely earn their money. Taxidermist costs have gone up like everything else has. Forms have gone up a lot. But the reality is. No one cares about this mount but me. And it will probably end up somewhere wearing a silly hat. a show of disrespect I hate to think about. With all that it does remind me of a great hunt.

18-Jan-23
Bghunter, those costs were from last summer through fall. The hunt was in May22

From: bghunter
18-Jan-23
Jay,

Thank you. Those shipping costs actually don't seem to bad for the most part.

Funny

I think I paid that back in 2010 for a red stag, fallow and goat from New Zealand based on my memory.

From: Live2Hunt
18-Jan-23
Yes, cost of materials has jumped big time. Shipping has jumped. Everything has jumped. That is reality and taxidermists need to follow to stay in business.

From: BowmanMD
18-Jan-23
My bad, thread title should have been "Costs associated with hide/horn prep, crating, shipping, and export documentation sticker shock". We haven't even started with the taxidermy costs yet. And yes, I recognize the cost and value of a good taxidermist. They are truly artists and a good one is worth every penny. On this end though, it cost $1250 for each animal to "Clean & peroxide skull cap and horns; Cape/hide drying, crating, export documentation & import documentation" then another $850 to ship them both. Outfitter has no control over shipping costs, but $1250/animal for the other stuff seems like a pretty good payday. All part of a free market economy, and in this case of supply-and-demand, the outfitter holds all the cards. I'm just always grateful for communication on the front-end to avoid unrealistic expectations and surprises on the back-end. Next time it's on me to ask more questions up-front. Write the check and move on. Live and learn.

From: Chief 419
18-Jan-23
The cost of dipping and packing, shipping, customs broker and taxidermy can be as much as another good hunt. It’s always a struggle for me justifying the after hunt expenses of getting the trophies home. Remember, it will never be cheaper to hunt than it is now. The cost will only go up. The exception being another global economic meltdown. Covid has only increased the costs.

From: Murph
18-Jan-23
Great post, the hidden costs add up regardless of where you travel to hunt, and add a burden especially to guys on a tighter budget, some good points were made as to mitigate some of the exspense as well!!

From: Pat Lefemine
18-Jan-23
I don’t think there’s any way to say it other than it’s a racket. They have you over a barrel and everyone is taking a cut. Cost me 4K to get my Cape buffalo horns and cape back from Mozambique ten years ago. It’s ridiculous.

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