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Advise on getting meat home
When traveling on a northern hunt you can never have too much information and my recent experience shows that I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. Bringing meat, cape and antlers back from Canada is not really a big deal as long as you are prepared. I hadn't researched all of the particulars, I just trusted that it would work out. One in our party had to fly out early so his meat wasn't ready to go. I offered to bring his meat home and that is where the problem became apparent. You can take 2 checked bags at a reasonable rate, everything after that is very expensive. Anything between 50-70# adds another $100. Below is what I had to pay to get 3 meat boxes, my regular duffel and the rack home. 1st checked bag $37 under 50# 2nd Checked bag $67 under 50# Every bag after that is $198.75 if it’s under 50# Any bag over 50# you have to add $100. Antlers are $150 flat fee. I had 2 boxes that were over 50# so that added $200
My regular duffel was $37 I had one meat box that was 50# so that was $67 Then I had 2 meat boxes that were just under 70# so they were $298 each. The total cost to ship one duffel, 3 meat boxes and the rack was $851.50
Additional information. We flew from St. John's NL to Toronto. I had a 1:30 lay over and that was really tight.
When you get to Toronto you have to walk quite a ways to get to the international gates. You will go through customs in the airport before you get on a plane to the US. They actually pull all your meat boxes and rack and deliver them for inspection by USDA. When you get to the customs booth, you will declare that you have meat and the customs guy will walk you to the place where they inspect the boxes. You should have an import permit with import number from the outfitter as well as a hunting license number. You need those 2 numbers to fill out the USDA import paper. MAKE SURE YOU GET THOSE NUMBERS FROM YOUR OUTFITTER! Other than that, it's just name, address, etc. They were very helpful and thankfully there was not a line. I landed at 7:51 and got to my departure gate at 8:05 for an 8:20 flight. They generally close the doors about 10 minutes before the flight. They were a little late so I probably had 10 minutes to spare but the anxiety level was high. Other than the tight layover and the high cost of the 3rd and 4th boxes, it was all quite smooth.
Unfortunately that's pretty much at par for the cost. I havent found independent shipping to be any cheaper especially considering the inconvenience.
I just did that same process going thru Toronto last month and my experience with customs was pretty straight forward. I had much more time on my layover, so no rush for me. My flight back next week has an hour and 45 minutes and sounds like it will be tight, but a little but more time than you had.
I did have an issue this last trip where customs cleared my meat, but kept both of my bow bags in holding for no apparent reason. So my meat made it on time, but the bows were shipped out a couple hours late. In the end they all made it to my house by the end of the day, but glad my meat wasn't the one delayed.
Thanks for the update,
Fly 1st class. On all my trips to Quebec a first class ticket cost about 300 more. Gave me 2 65 or 80# bags. ( forget at this point) extra bags were then 65+ pounds as well. In the end the price was almost a wash. Plus I had my own roomy seat. Seated 1st on the plane, special check line... drinks... it worked out a lot better for me.
I just flew today from St Johns through Toronto and on to KC. I donated the meat to the locals and am using a local taxidermist to mount by caribou. I made it through customs under an hour from the time I landed.
I really didn’t want to deal with all that extra headache on the way home so I went the route above.
I paid a hefty price to get my two Caribou home from Quebec. Left the antlers and cape with a recommended taxidermist and paid to have those shipped at a later date. Half the meat was left in Atlanta at our layover. When it came into Albuquerque a couple of days later someone drove it 3 hours to us but by then most of it was pretty funky.