Trophy hunters who travel to their hunting destinations by airplane are always faced with the task of how to get their prized trophies back home safe and sound. The trophies at most Rovos Rail Hunting Safari Cost risk of being damaged are antlered and horned game.
With a little pre-prep work before you leave hunting camp, you can make your trophy deer or elk rack strong enough to compete with all of the other Samsonite luggage and airline baggage handlers. While this article is mostly for hunters who travel internationally, this will also work for domestic airline travel too.
As in international trophy hunter, I have personally hunted and fished in 5 Continents. Airline travel is a necessary means of transportation to the majority of the destinations I have traveled to hunt. The ability to bring your trophy back as luggage can save you up to 6 months of time and up to $750 or more in Rovos Rail Hunting Safari Cost import related expenses and shipping. Not all countries will allow this, but some do. The saving can almost pay for the taxidermy. I have brought back trophies as luggage from Canada, Mexico and Iceland. As of January 2010, some airlines have increase restrictions on antlers packaged as luggage. I highly recommend that you check with your preferred airline before you buy your tickets.
The Cape or Rug must be frozen solid.
One big factor you must consider is the ability to keep the cape or rug frozen from the time you leave your hunting destination till the time you get home. In a lot of cases this requires a good 24 hours for a hard freeze. The cape or rug should be folded several times to save space and frozen solid. Hunters taking Rovos Rail Hunting Safari Cost their trophies on the last day without time to freeze in camp may want to consider staying an extra day, especially if you are traveling from a foreign country back to the United States or have many layovers. There is a new law in Mexico that states your cape must be frozen solid before you hit the border.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at Customs will check to make sure your cape or rug is frozen as they don’t want any blood to pass through the luggage and the freezing also helps kill any unwanted bugs from coming into the United States. Place your wet cape or rug in a black trash bag twice and then freeze. Make sure you put a name tag on your cape. The tag should have your complete contact information on one side and your taxidermists contact information on the other. This way if your cape or rug gets separated from your luggage, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife will know how to contact you. Then put the frozen and bagged cape into a collapsible insulated cooler. In my last trip to Mexico, I brought back the cape of a Sonora Desert Mule Deer in a 10″x10″x9″ collapsible insulated cooler with room to spare. Then I put the cooler in my Cabela’s Luggage. If you are bringing back an elk sized animal, you’ll need a bigger cooler.
When you get home, take your frozen cape right to your taxidermist. Leave it frozen as he or she may not have time to process it the moment you arrive. Remember, if you are coming in Rovos Rail Hunting Safari Cost from Canada, Mexico or any other foreign country, you will need to designate a USDA Certified Taxidermist on your Form 3-177-1 and that is where you will need to take your frozen cape. This does not apply for domestic travel.
Protecting your Horn, Antlers and skullcap from breakage.
Your trophy animal’s horns or antlers are the most susceptible to breakage when traveling back with you on the airline. There are 3 steps to protect them when packaged as luggage. You will not need a box with this method.
First, you will need to protect each tine or point. You can do this with pieces of a discarded garden hose cut into a variety of 3″ to 6″ lengths. You can use either a 5/8 or ¾ inch hose. Place the cut piece of hose over the point till it comes to a rest when the diameter of the horn is larger than the diameter of the hose. Make sure at least 1″ to 1½” of hose extends beyond the tip and then duct tape the hose to the individual tine. Repeat this process until all tines of the antlers are protected.
Second, thoroughly wrap the skull cap with duct tape. Make sure your outfitter has boiled the skull cap and removed any fleshly and brain matter. This is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Regulation.
Third, you will want to brace the inside span of the main beams. In the case of a mule deer or whitetail deer, one brace should be sufficient. In the case of a larger animal like an elk, you may want to use two braces. A good brace is a wooden dowel or a good straight stick. You will need to cut this brace to measure and place between the one or two of the thickest areas of the main beam, usually between C-2 & C-3 (see photo). Once you cut your brace to measure, duct tape it in place and then duct tape the brace as well. You don’t want the brace to be able to move. Don’t worry about the tape; your taxidermist will easily be able to remove any tape adhesive residue from the antlers.