Mathews Inc.
Best way to get meat home from Alaska?
Contributors to this thread:
Hessticles 11-Jul-19
Rickm 11-Jul-19
t-roy 11-Jul-19
LKH 11-Jul-19
'Ike' (Phone) 12-Jul-19
Aubs8 12-Jul-19
Kevin Dill 12-Jul-19
Southern draw 12-Jul-19
South Farm 12-Jul-19
Shiras42 12-Jul-19
Demuth 12-Jul-19
Korey Wolfe 12-Jul-19
HUNT MAN 12-Jul-19
Scott/IL 12-Jul-19
Cazador 12-Jul-19
Southern draw 13-Jul-19
Lost Arra 13-Jul-19
Jims 13-Jul-19
Nick Muche 13-Jul-19
Matt 13-Jul-19
Kevin Dill 13-Jul-19
DonVathome 13-Jul-19
Lost Arra 13-Jul-19
South Farm 15-Jul-19
TrapperKayak 15-Jul-19
Kevin Dill 15-Jul-19
Smtn10PT 20-Sep-19
DonVathome 23-Sep-19
TrapperKayak 23-Sep-19
TrapperKayak 23-Sep-19
DonVathome 25-Sep-19
From: Hessticles
What is the best way you guys have found to get meat to the lower 48? Tips, tricks, cost? Some say check it as luggage, some say alaska air cargo, I have no idea what route to go...

From: Rickm
Alaska air if they are still allowing it as excess baggage. They took the racks as well but it had been a few years.

From: t-roy
I used Alaska Meat Express a few years back, and Charlie was great to work with, but I’ve heard he had retired. He mentioned something about turning things over to another guy, but don’t know if that’s the case.

EDIT:...Just found this, Tanner. New company is Alaska Trophy Express LLC (715) 497-3913. Says they’re based out of Chippewa Falls, Wi.

From: LKH
You should consider luggage for as much as possible and mail what gear you can.

Alaska Air...

From: Aubs8
LKH x 2

From: Kevin Dill

Kevin Dill's Link
I recently spoke to an Alaska Air (not Air Cargo) representative about baggage fees. Here's how it works:

First bag: $30 (up to 50 pounds) Second bag: $40 (up to 50 pounds) Third bag and thereafter: $100 Antlers: They count as oversized baggage and will cost $100 to fly. Read the restrictions.

The benefit here is that the 'third and beyond' bags can weigh up to 100 pounds AND be oversized (115" limit) but won't exceed the $100 fee. It means you are basically flying meat home at about $1.00 per pound. That's extremely close to what I've paid for Alaska Air Cargo meat shipping. And your meat gets flown all the way to your final destination home. If you can get your meat into boxes weighing 100 pounds and get it frozen in time to fly, this is the fastest and cheapest way for most guys to do it.

Beyond that it comes down to (either you or someone in AK) using Alaska Air Cargo to ship it down. Be aware that Air Cargo only flies to certain airports where they have a terminal. If your nearest terminal is 300 miles (like me) you'll be driving a long distance to get the meat.

And there are other options as well, like Alaska Trophy Express which will bring everything down for around $850. You'll have to arrange for pickup and drop-off of meat, antlers, etc. You'll likely have to drive a fair distance to meet the truck.

Be aware that one of the tougher and critical things is how to get your meat and antlers from the field.....then correctly frozen or prepared for flight....and then on to your departure flight home. There are just so many variables. You might kill a moose just before the end of the hunt. The airlines (or any plane) may not be able to accept your full load of meat, cape and antlers at the time you want. Freezers can fill up. Schedules can go haywire. That's why it makes sense to have a couple options and know how to switch gears quickly. You don't want to be dropped at your hotel with 500 pounds of moose and be trying to figure out what to do when things go off plan.

Alaska airlines are still user friendly my son and I brought 100 lbs of Caribou meat home in August and just paid extra bag fee , they are good at shipping fish and wild game and do it all the time. Good luck with your hunt!

From: South Farm

From: Shiras42
See Tanner...I told you, but fine, don't listen to me. LMAO

From: Demuth
Just got back from AK on a family vacation and we brought back 110# pounds of fish, as stated above was $30 for our regular checked luggage and then we each had a cooler box at $40 apiece. Alaska Airlines is one of the better airlines I have ever flown on, really impressed with their service.

From: Korey Wolfe
I hauled mine in 50 pound or (49.5 to be safe) plastic totes. That was the cheapest way for my airline.

Coolers for me. Did it the last 3 hunts and on Alaska airlines after your 3 rd bag there is no weight limit. Hunt

From: Scott/IL
Another vote for coolers/fish boxes. We did this during my first trip to Alaska on a black bear hunt, and I plan on doing it for caribou this year if I’m lucky enough to tag one. And with a moose hunt in the works for 2020, we’ll plan on flying it home as well if needed.

From: Cazador
Buy a first class ticket.

You can change the ticket return date if needed without issue.

Also, first two bags are free. So you’re only paying for bag 3 and so on. Half the time a FC ticket runs about the same cost as normal ticket plus two bags and you get to travel in relative comfort, plus a meal, plus drinks.

Hello I can help you out with everything you need to know about getting your moose back home. I own Ak Trophy Expediters LLC in Anchorage, Ak. The best way to ship out of Alaska and the cheapest is Alaska Air Cargo. I am a known shipper with them so if you live near a Cargo destination that's your best option. I can ship full Euro mounts and all your meat home for a pretty good rate. There are also other options to save you money also. If you have any questions feel free to get ahold of me and I can answer all your questions. Nick Ploesser [email protected] 907-223-2666

Good to see you here Nick!

From: Lost Arra
As far as luggage, the Polar Bear 48 soft side cooler when filled is right at 50# of frozen fish, it's infinitely easier to handle than a fish box and it handles an extended layover better without thawing. I've only brought home fish but I would think game meat would be the same once it's packaged and frozen.

Alaskan Air all the way. Avoid Delta if possible.

From: Jims
I haven't read through all the threads but Alaska Air is likely WAY cheaper than an expeditor plus you'll have all your meat, antlers/horns, and capes frozen when you arrive home. If you have the $ it may not be worth the hassle of the airlines...but it's worked flawlessly for me! I've been on multiple Alaska trips. Last year I brought home 5 boxes x 50 lbs (250 lbs total) of halibut, salmon, and mtn goat. I picked up insulated 50 lb salmon boxes at Walmart and Cabela's in Anchorage for relatively cheap.

Alaska Air is super lax with carry-ons. I usually carry on my 60 lb Kifaru pack loaded so it will fit in the overhead bins. I also carry around a very large 20 lb camera bag loaded with spotting scope, camcorder, cameras, binos, etc. It's no fun haulig 80 lbs through the airport but saves a little baggage fees.....I get some funny looks!

Another bit of advice....dump the foam out of a large, guncase and fill it with weapon, clothes, fishing rods, trekking poles, etc until you reach around 50 lbs or the max wt limit. I would be careful to be close to the limit or they may charge extra. My gun case is on rollers so I can put other stuff on top for hauling around the airport.

In Anchorage the security is a little more relax and my relative was able to park his truck and help haul stuff into the airport. I had 5 fish boxes, backpack, camera case, guncase, plus action packer returning home....which is a lot of work even with a cart!

From: Nick Muche
Willy, they only do that to you.

From: Matt
I think with an Alaska Airlines Visa the 1st 2 bags are free.

Thanks I just joined last night. Had a client say peoplenwhere looking for help on this forum with shipping. I know everyone has there way of doing things but if I can help in any way or answer questions I will try.

Below is a Blog we wrote for Fish and Hunt Alaska Magazine. Sorry it's long below it wouldn't let me attach a file.

One of the best parts about hunting or fishing in Alaska is getting your meat and trophy out of the field and back home so you can share stories of the hunt with your friends and family over fresh salmon fillets or a nice moose steak hot off the grill. Unfortunately, that can also be the most time consuming part as well. We’ve gathered some tips from our experiences to hopefully make it easier for you on your next trip.

Getting your Trophy out of the field

~If you are doing a DIY hunt, make sure to label all your meat and bags with noticeable tagging. Your tags should have your name and phone number on them or the contact info and name of the person or company picking them up at the cargo or airport destination. Keep count of how many tags you put on your things so when picking it up you know if anything is missing. (Example 1 of 5 on a tag will let you or the person picking it up know if they should be picking up 5 bags). If you are with an outfitter or guide rest assured that most outfitters will help with trophy prep before leaving the lodge

~Rural destinations and remote hunts operate under different flight guidelines and things like weather and accessibility can mean that sometimes only half of your trophy will make it back on a flight. Sometimes it can take 2 or more trips before everything is back. Make sure you plan on a few extra days in town after your trip to wait on your Trophies to arrive. Most often everything arrives on time and goes smoothly but you want to have a cushion just incase it doesn’t to avoid all the Airline change fees. If you are tight on time and need to fly out before your trophies are in you can contact companies like AK Trophy Expediters who will pick-up all your meat and trophies and get it all ready for shipping.

~Make sure when you are shipping meat quarters and other meat to have clean game bags when dropping them off. Most rural companies or bush pilots won’t let bloody bags in their planes. Also make sure to cover all the tips and sharp edges on your trophy before putting in the bush plane. This will make pilots happy and protect your trophy from damage. If you do use a separate company in town to pick-up your trophy, make sure to notify them on everything that’s coming in and send a picture if possible of the trophy just in case tags come off. This way they can verify which is yours. This can happen due to poor tagging and you don’t want all of your hard work to get mislabeled.

~Also if you use a private bush plane company to haul out your trophy make sure they have the contact info of person picking up trophy so they can give them a heads up of when they will be landing since bush flights have many variables. Most bush pilots do not have the time to wait around with animal next to plane until somebody shows up. So this just ensures everything gets picked up processed as smoothly as possible.

Shipping Hunting Trophies Out of State

~If you are doing a mount, shipping your trophy direct to your taxidermist will save you money and time. Talk with your taxidermist before your hunt to see how they want everything prepared for your mount. Cutting the skull plate will save you lots of money on shipping for big antlered animals, so make sure your ask how your taxidermist prefers the skull plate be cut. Make sure to have taxidermist address and contact info on you so you can easily pass along that info to a shipper.

~If you plan on doing a Euro mount, it is common to find a taxidermist in Alaska do the work. If you are having someone do your Euro mount out of state you will need to have the skull prepped for shipping before sending it. The skull will need to be free of all meat and hide remnants.

~When you ship your hides make sure they are prepped for shipping. When shipping antlers home make sure they are prepped, and all the tips are covered. This will help avoid damage. Ship hides in a Styrofoam fish box or a tote and make sure, if possible, to keep them frozen before shipping.

~When shipping game meat out of state make sure to have all the meat deboned to save on shipping costs. If you plan on doing the processing yourself, you may want to look into having the meat deboned at a local meat processor then put into Styrofoam fish boxes or a cooler for shipping. Depending on how much meat you have you can check your cooler in as checked luggage which is usually much cheaper than having it shipped. If you are not planning to process the meat yourself you can drop your meat off (or have it dropped off) at a local processor and then have the finished product shipped to you at home.

~ There are many different options when shipping out of Alaska depending on where you live. It really comes down to how much money you are willing to spend and how long you can wait for the trophy to arrive. Some options for shipping include: Check luggage on your Airline, Alaska Air Cargo, UPS, FedEX, and smaller trucking companies.

~Regardless of which option you are using to ship it’s a very good idea to call and see what their size restrictions are so that you make sure you box up your trophy accordingly. Also if you plan on using a trucking company call and check that they allow animal trophies as some don’t due to insurance reasons.

Shipping Fish

~Make sure it is packed in a Styrofoam fish box that is the right size. You want it to be able to hold all of your fillets, but not have a lot of extra room. If a box is too big it is not being as efficient as an insulated space to keep the fish cold, and it also costs more money to ship.

~The cheapest way to get fish home is on the airplane with you. A good trick to save money on shipping is to ship home your clothes in a flat rate postal box and take your fish home on the plane.

~If you can’t take your fish with you on the plane due to long connections or such then overnight shipping is always the best option. UPS and FedEx are the most common shipping companies from Alaska for frozen things.

~Since it is so essential to make sure your fillets stay frozen make sure they have plenty of time to get frozen solid before you leave. It’s also a good idea to wait to ship your fish until you know somebody will be home to receive it and get it in the freezer. The best days to ship are Monday thru Wednesday because if it gets delayed for any reason there are generally not freezers in the Lower 48 cargo hubs and you don’t want frozen fish to sit too long.

~If you are planning to ship to Canada, plan on 2 days for UPS delivery due to customs. Customs will call or email you so be sure to give correct contact info so your package is not delayed.

~If you are RVing or camping in Alaska after you fish, make sure to drop off your fish in a cold storage facility to store it while you are traveling in state. Most fish processors will hold fish for a week after processing, and some can ship for you. If you are staying in a hotel for the remainder of your stay make sure to ask if they have a freezer on site to store your fish in for free.

From: Kevin Dill
Having an expeditor (from Alaska) as a Bowsite sponsor can only be a good thing. Sometimes it just makes sense to employ someone and let them run the show. There have been plenty of times when I wished I could fly back to town and just leave all the meat and antler chores to someone responsible.

From: DonVathome
Carry on & personal bags are never weighed. I have carried on over 100 pounds thatway many times. Baggage second best.

From: Lost Arra
If I carry on 100 lbs I'll be in the pre-board area in a wheel chair.

From: South Farm
Just don't be the guy trying to stuff a 70" moose rack in the overhead! They frown on that.

From: TrapperKayak
"The cheapest way to get fish home is on the airplane with you." Tried that once from Kodiak. They left the cooler of frozen silver fillets in their 'office' for 12 hours before putting in 'on the next flight', and it was all thawed out when I got it. Most of it was dog food. Really P'd me off. No compensation either. AK Air. Never again.

From: Kevin Dill
BE AWARE that most Alaska Airlines & Air Cargo terminals offer refrigerated storage but NOT necessarily freezers. Don't be thinking your meat or fish is being kept hard-frozen if it remains with them at a terminal. Exceptions may exist, but there are no guarantees.

From: Smtn10PT
Figured I would post my recent experience with getting meat and antlers home from Alaska. I brought a bunch of smaller game bags with me and placed 45 +- pounds (I had a scale with me) in each game bag. Two game bags were then placed into a 14 G Rubbermaid tote and the top of the tote drilled and zip tied shut in several places. The totes were then placed in a freezer. When I brought them on the place they were all just under 100 pounds and got on for 100$ each. 3 totes of meat, gun case, gear bag containing whatever didn't go in my gun case or carry on (pushing 80 pounds) $340 on Alaska Air.

From: DonVathome
I did pretty much the same as Smtn10PT

Fish boxes, contractor garbage bags and small hand held scale. POC

From: TrapperKayak
In yer belly for starters...then airline baggage frozen to minus 20 first.

From: TrapperKayak
Kevin Dill is right. Freeze it hard and cold first. I had some partially frozen coho (a cooler full) get left in the Alaska Air terminal in Kodiak by them overnight and it arrived late, thawed and mostly inedible. They were supposed to load it onto my flight and failed to do that. Went out next day. PO'd me to no end. Lived and learned. Got no compensation either.

From: DonVathome
My meat was only partially frozen. It was 23 hours from freezer to freezer and the meat was fine. It was only in an insulted Fish Box.

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