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Back from africa
Ok so too all of those that have been and have come back. Now what?? We got back a couple weeks ago. Hard to believe, it took literally years of planning and now we are home. It was beyond anything we could have imagined and the planning for a return trip is already being talked about. So some questions for the veterans of africa. We picked and toured the place we are getting our critters dipped and packed and we are very happy with our choice. My plan is to rug my zebra. Looking at prices here to get a rug made with felt backing was more than twice what I can get it done for there. I know the big debate about taxidermy there or here and not lookin to go down that road. I'm planning on doing most of my own animals with a couple of the bigger animals done by a local taxidermist. So has anyone had any rugs made over there and what did you think of the end product?? Also those who have recently received there crates from South Africa what has the shipping been costing? We hunted in Polokwane and we will be having our crates sent to NY. I plan on picking our crates from NY since we live close. Just trying to get an idea of shipping costs. And lastly. How does one head back in to the whitetail woods when you were last hunting you had kudu, herds of wildebeest, zebra, blesbok and gemsbok just to name a few animals coming in daily. I'm normally excited and this year the drive isn't as strong as years past. Can't wait to board that airline for the 15+ hour flight back to greatest hunting adventure I've ever experienced.
Here's what you do next. Start saving. The next three steps are more expensive than the trip you just completed. First step - Your dipping, packing and shipping fee will be due in 2 to 6 months. Second step - Hire a customs broker to clear your trophies. Third step - Taxidermy can be as expensive and painful as you want to make it. My advice (for what it's worth) is to ship all your capes off for dry tanning at one time. Then take your time mounting them so that you can save up to make another trip. Maybe mount one or two of your favorite animals right when you get you capes back from the tannery. Start saving every penny you can and whatever you do....Don't tell the wife how much that trip really costs.
You likely saw more game in one afternoon sitting on a waterhole than you'll see in a few seasons in the whitetail woods. When I first came back from Africa, I was so pumped that every deer hunt was more exciting than usual. Really enjoyed that deer season.
My shipping, dipping and packing cost was around $2,200. I had primates and a warthog, so those has to be shipped separately from the other game animals and then re-dipped here in the states at $100 each.
Glad you had a good trip. Post up a report with plenty of pics.
It's been a long time....2003 and 2005. I had two Zebra skins made into rugs. Both are still in great shape, my two daughters each have one, I still don't have one. Other plains game taxidermy done in SA and still very happy with all. Like you after the first trip nothing would do but another. After the second it dawned on me that hunting SA was sort of like hunting at the zoo, very interesting, lots of animals, but not all that challenging. Between a loss of interest and the assorted political issues in various Southern Africa countries I have had no particular desire to return.
I have had every bit of my taxi work done in Africa which has consisted of Euro mounts and rugs. I have dealt with 3 different taxidermy operations in Africa- two were excellent and one was sorry and I have had to have work redone, in time, in the US.
Taxi and export crate cost is about $2,000. I hire an import agent in New Orleans, LA. He handles my "import red tape" with the various government agencies. That cost a couple hundred bucks and worth every penny as I don't have to spend my time or test my patience with government bureaurarcy. Once crate clears, I receive a call and go to New Orleans airport and take delivery on crate. I live approx. 200 mi. from New Orleans.
After Africa, whitetail hunt is boring when it comes to comparing daily sightings of game. Still the I find whitetail hunting challenging and realize its not an African animal. The closest hunts I have found in North America that come close to comparing it to Africa are exotic/pig hunts in Texas and pronghorn antelope in Wyoming.
Had all mine done by Highveld over there. Not one issue, great work. Took a tour of their shop before I left, they answered all of my questions and it was a good decision.
I assume you are leaving head and mane on for your zebra rug. From what I have seen of rugs done in RSA you might be ok, but the likelihood of not having an even hide thickness throughout is increased. You get that from using professional shavers found in most reputable US tanneries. IMO the tendency for mane hairs to lift up plus the overall workmanship levels can vary making it more risky to do over there. I also personally prefer the black leather edging over felt. It just looks so much nicer and finished off. Northern Pines Taxidermy in MI does an excellent job on zebra rugs but they will not be the cheapest for sure. Its where I go for my clients and my own Zebra rugs.
My future rug.
My future rug.
Thanks for all the info. Still not sure what to do about my rug?? When we visited the facility in Polokwane they had a few zebra rugs in the main office and they looked good. But I wasn't looking at them very close. The things you think about after the trip.........next time I will be better prepared and know a little more what to expect.
That zebra is a real beauty. Love the mtn species.