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Bring Moose back to the States
I have a Moose Hunt in Alberta this September. Only option I have is to fly. How do you bring back the cape, horns, and meat. Most airlines have a 70 lbs. limit. I believe most capes will exceed that. If I leave it and have it shipped, do I need an export tag for hide and horns? Any recommendations on shipping companies? I will be hunting northern Alberta.
When I killed a moose in Alberta (2016) I flew everything back. My guide and I built a plywood crate to hold the antlers. I can’t remember if we put the hide in the crate or if I put it in a suitcase. I put frozen meat in Rubbermaid tubs and also a suitcase. I had no issues with being overweight. I had no charter flights though, all commercial from Edmonton through Toronto to Baltimore.
Most airlines I see have 100# limit. Keep in mind they never weigh carry on bags. Most times that is my cape. That said 1 guy here said he had it weighed but I have never hear of it before and I travel a lot. If it is to big for carry on (unlikely) well trimmed I do not think it will exceed 70#.
Yeah, I would definitely put a moose cape in your carry on... smh @ Don.
If you fly it’s best to split the skull, lay the antlers together, tape your clothes around the antlers and put them in a large hockey bag or break down a large cardboard box and tape it around the antlers, so the antlers are completely hidden and not poking other bags. It would then go home as an extra checked bag.
For the cape if it is skinned to minimum size and no meat or fat left on it, it should fit in a 48 quart cooler. Freeze it in the cooler, make sure you can close the lid before it is completely frozen. It should weigh under 50 lbs. That is another checked bag. If it’s a big bull you’ll need a 60 quart cooler but keep the weight under 70 lbs. If you flesh it, turn the lips, ears, nose and eyes and salt it and dry it then it would weigh less and be less risky if it gets lost, it will last a long time. Frozen you’ve only got 2-3 days.
For meat it is best to get it professionally cut, wrapped and frozen and put it in another 48 quart cooler, almost full it will weigh under 50 lbs. That’s your 3rd extra checked bag. If you fill it, it will weigh about 55 lbs. You could cut and wrap it yourself but a picky Fish and Wildlife officer in Edmonton or Calgary can cause you major grief.
Usually the airline charges $100 for each checked bag under 50 lbs. If it’s 51 to 70 lbs it’s another $100 so not worth it on the meat for an extra 5 lbs. They won’t accept a 71 lb bag.
Good exceptions to this are Alaska Airlines out of Edmonton who will allow 70+ lb bags or first class flyers on some airlines will allow an unlimited number bags up to 100 lbs, just pay the fees.
Bad exceptions are smaller Westjet planes flying out of say Grande Prairie who will only allow 3 total bags per person, no extra bags allowed. Period. No matter how much you are willing to pay. There is no shipping option out of GP.
There is no reliable way to ship the meat. Any shipping of antlers, cape or possibly meat needs to be done carefully by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. It’s tough to find someone who doesn’t screw it up half the time, take forever to do it, months and months and cost a fortune.
Least headache, most likely for success, drive up.
No outfitter on this hunt I assume or he should know?
Nick, three of us put a boned out whitetail (minus sausage meat we left there) in carry-on backpacks, and went through O'Hare. The TSA people freaked out when our packs went through the x-ray. Didn't help when they asked what it was and I said, "My ex wife". Excitement ensued but we got back to DIA with the meat.
What’s wrong with putting a cape in your carryon? I’ve done it with mule deer, elk, caribou, and even a smaller bear. Just freeze it solid before your flight, and then you don’t have to worry about it getting lost.
Hold overs would definitely not be your friend.
I’ve flown with deer sized capes in my carry on several times. Never a moose though :)
Years ago I flew home with my fully intacted Dall Sheep Skull and horns in my carry-on, was not going to let it out of my sight. When it went thru the x-ray machine in Canada the operator asked me what I had in that bag. So I told him, he said "Oh nice one A" and let me go on my way.
bchunter, attached is a thread that I wrote up last year regarding my moose hunt preparations including what I was doing to bring home my moose.
I did get a moose but because it needed to be inspected I didn't have time to do that and get the antlers shipped home. Reach out to bowjangles as he has an awesome system for preparing the antlers and successfully flew home with his moose antlers from Alberta.
The large soft sided fish cooler worked like a charm along with the smaller Yeti for the meat (and would have handled the cape no problem). I didn't bring back every bit of meat for myself, but you can fit a lot between those two coolers.
Regarding the overweight fees, they are FAR less than what it would cost to ship the items home so if you have can plan for it I recommend trying to fly home with as much as you can.
This is what you look like when bringing an Alaskan/Yukon bull moose back thru the airport. Meat, full rack and all.
Like mentioned above, pay the extra baggage fees.
Upgrading to first class can often off-set extra baggage fees. That’s worth a look, too.
I’m sure Canada is a different beast but Alaska Air in Alaska has been too good. I didn’t want to split my rack as I might get it measured and was gonna do air cargo. When I checked 2 meat boxes on airlines, the lady asked where the rack was(she was from a hunter family). I explained my situation and she said go grab it. I ended up checking a 67.5” rack that weight 64# for 25$! All the way to Kauai. I’m sure baggage handlers weren’t happy. I do carry a yeti carryon with 40# of meat