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Thread: Who flew home with meat/horns in 2011?

  1. #1

    Default Who flew home with meat/horns in 2011?

    Who flew home from Alaska with meat and horns as checked bagage in 2011? Who did you fly with and did it go smoothly? Every year the airlines get more and more uptight about horns and meat. Back home here in Cleveland Ohio you can forget taking either on a flight out (techniqually you can but it is very likely whoever is checking you in is going to say "no" for some bs reason).

    I see AK airlines says you can take a set of horns home, they must be reasonably cleaned cut in 1/2 (I think) points wrapped, etc and it costs $150 each. Did anyone run into problems? What did you do to prepare them. Do you think you coul have taken 2 sets of horns for the $150 or would they want $300?

    What about meat, I would get a cooler/fish box and take 40#'s of meat.

    Did anyone use a taxidermist (or someone else) to prep horns and ship them? I am not to keen on having to get a taxi, go to store, buy materials, find somewhere to prep horns/meat etc to fly it myself if it does not save quite a bit. I can easily see this taking 1/2 a day and being a pain. What did it cost to have the person prep/ship horns from a carbiou and moose (each)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011


    Glad you're thinking about such things.

    For shipping meat home ... you will likely need to get the meat packaged and frozen before shipping. The airlines frown on the use of dry ice (have limitations on the amount that can be used or disallow it out right).

    Do you plan to take all the meat home? ... if not, I would think some would chime in to help you with getting it cut up and frozen for your trip; especially if you also need help finding homes for the overage. Other alternatives include dropping the meat off with at processors. Check out the subforum regarding meat care as there is lots of information posted on the subject.

    On a side note, your posts/threads have been refreshing. I've gone through my equipment checklists, downsized some equipment, and organized them a bit.

  3. #3
    Member CtP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    I checked ram horns and a nice bull caribou back via AA and delta. I fabbed a box to fit the 'bou and put the sheep in the middle. Wrapped the points, stuffed it with filler and taped it up.
    - I cut the sheep horns per taxi request, midway through eye socket, cleaned the cranial cavity out and salted. didn't smell bad at all.
    - cut the bou the same way. did not cut in half. did a DIY Euro when I got back.
    - we took care of our own meat for sheep, took 'bou to processor and had it shipped back to me via FedEx personal account.
    - labled the outside of the box so as not to arouse suspicion
    - taped it up, but TSA cut through to inspect in twice, the box held with their weak tape job.
    - I'm active duty military so I didn't have to pay extra.

    My advice is if you're going to have taxi work in Alaska, leave the horns, save yourself some trouble.
    take meat you don't prep yourself to processor and set up an account and get a shipping discounted rate.

    I checked the meat in fish boxes 02, ( styrofoam and cardboard ) and left it as is. Declared it as fish, no questions asked. They weren't tampered with and the meat was still frozen after a 24 hour travel period ( Ak to Ga ).

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    There is a forum member here - 379 Peterbilt - who has for the past year or two offered a pretty cool service for people in your position. He has picked up frozen meat and antlers/horns here in Alaska and delivered them via truck across a good portion of the lower 48. His route has depended on where people need him to go, but I'm pretty sure the midwest region was covered. From what I've read, his prices are very reasonable and people have been very happy with his service. I'd check into that if I were in your shoes.

  5. #5


    I don't have experience with antlers, but I have flown meat in and out of Cleveland several times in the last few years. I vacuum seal and freeze it and then just stick it in a cooler. Caribou, salmon, and halibut to Cleveland; Whitetail, yellow perch, and walleye back to Anchorage.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    My brother comes up here every other year or so to hunt, usually caribou. We take it to my home, bone the meat and stick it in my chest freezer. The day he leaves we pack it in the 50 pound fish boxes, the ones that are cardboard with a styrofoam box inside, throw a couple ice packs in it and he takes them back to Cleveland as checked bags. Have not had a problem since he's been doing it. In fact, I do the same thing OHAK does, he comes up with the box he took back last time with whitetail, etc in it.
    The problem with getting it processed here and then having it shipped is cost. I know for an absolute fact its cheaper in Cleveland to process it and the cost of sending it FedEx or UPS is very high.

  7. #7
    Member 10PTBUCK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    Hey Don,

    I shipped a set of 57" moose antlers split in 2 Tips protected & In game bags from fairbanks to wi via US mail priority mail. 4 days & 128.00 dollars
    Quality Taxidermy is not expensive it is PRICELESS

  8. #8


    Good info keep it coming.

    I will not take all the meat home (as of now), likely 100 pounds. I have seen the guy with the semi and I am seriously considering it. However if I can get it as checked bags I can get it home for $200 ish (1 met box and 1 set of horns). I can pay truck guy $700 ($500 more) to get home more meat then I will ever need (always get a few deer at home).

    I figured AK airlines was easier to deal with, here in Cleveland I barely got some frozen meals I cooked to take with me once on the plane. Keep in mind (I say this a lot) you may be right with what you are checking in BUT if the person checking you does now know the rules (most here in Cleveland do NOT) you are subject to what they think. And, depending on what type of person they are pointing out there error by producing a copy of their reg's may make things a LOT harder (people do not like being told they are wrong) trust me it happened to me.

    To clarify some guys only paid $150 for horns on AK airlines and took more then 1 set of horns right?

    As for taxidermy I would only use them to prep and ship horns to save me some time, if reasonable. When I figure all the costs for this trip (around $5,000) it is well worth it for me to pay another $300 or so to save me a day dealing with the meat and horns (when I do not have a car). I can spend that day hunting instead. Small price to pay.

  9. #9
    Member Salmon-Thirty-Salmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Here are a few links to information specifically pertaining to Alaska Airlines. It may or may not be viable info if you are connecting to another carrier such as American or Delta. As far as meat...frozen and properly packed in 50# fish boxes is industry standard.

    Shipping antlers via Air Cargo (not baggage):

    Guidelines for hunters:
    (note: cardboard fishboxes with internal styrofoam is OK)

    Shipping antlers over the last several years has started to become an issue for carriers. Liability, difficulty to pack well, and size (they have to fit through aircraft cargo doors) -- and lots of RJ's have pretty small doors--, have made some carriers simply deny the shipments all together in order to avoid the 1 or 2 issues that result from said problems.

  10. #10
    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Maryland...not by choice


    I am not sure about antlers, but I sent my little brother home with a bunch of Caribou and fish just by vacuum sealing it, and putting it in a cooler. Alaska Airlines asked me to tape it shut, and I had to pay 90 bucks for an oversized bag. I think the cooler weighed about 70 pounds. Not much of a hassle at all, you just got to do a little processing first.

    I would probably ship the antlers. I like to have my taxidermists do the removable horns anyway so for me, splitting the skull plate probably wouldn't be a problem.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

  11. #11
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    DONV, bring a lenght of rubber hose and duct tape. cut as needed to cover each point of antler and you'll be good to go after cutting those huge Moose/caribou down the the center. Keep each box/cooler weight under 50 lbs and first will be $25. next 435. and then maybe $50. Enjoy best wild meat on the planet.

  12. #12


    Do you have to tell them they are antlers? Fyi continentalbjust went to 40# per bag. You never know who else might follow suite.

  13. #13
    Member Milo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I flew meat to Alaska last week. Not a big deal.
    Alaska Air charged me $20 for an extra bag (club 49 gets first 2 free).
    2 overweight coolers with dry ice were $30 each up to 100lbs.
    Since meat was not frozen, I packed each with 5 lbs dry ice - 2 sources of ventilation required per cooler.
    Horns shipped usps.

    My recommendation for flying meat FROM Alaska if possible:
    -- Pack and freeze meat in 50# wax fish boxes lined with a plastic bag. If meat is packed before freezing this box will hold up to 100lbs. I would load the box to 98lbs for 3 reasons:
    1) You can ship a few 100lb boxes cheaper than you can ship twice as many 50lb boxes.
    2) Once frozen, 100lbs will keep for a very long time
    3) 100lb boxes arrive in better condition that 50lb boxes everytime - they're too heavy for ramp rats to throw.

    -- If 50lbs meat is froze, it will make any flight to L48 without a cooler.
    -- Conventional coolers add about 12lbs, thus increasing your shipping cost and reducing how much you send.
    -- If you can't freeze - Use 70qt coolers with dry ice, open the drain, punch a hole in the lid IF tsa makes you. Load them up to 100lbs for the aformentioned reasons.

    -- Split and mail antlers by USPS - bubble wrap, cardboard and a 100 feet of string tape will do it.

    Alternatively, work with 379Peterbuilt.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Alcan Highway


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    There is a forum member here - 379 Peterbilt - who has for the past year or two offered a pretty cool service for people in your position. He has picked up frozen meat and antlers/horns here in Alaska and delivered them via truck across a good portion of the lower 48. His route has depended on where people need him to go, but I'm pretty sure the midwest region was covered. From what I've read, his prices are very reasonable and people have been very happy with his service. I'd check into that if I were in your shoes.
    Thanks Brian

    For those who wish to ship only a 50 pound box or two of meat home, the airlines is probably the most cost effective way to go. My service has catered to the guys who want to ship every ounce of their trophy home, without dealing with the TSA, taping points, splitting antlers, boxing them up into precise dimensions,, etc. These guys have spent thousands of dollars to go on a once in a lifetime Ak hunt, have busted their backs hauling meat from the field, and are willing to go one step further than the nearest village, to get 600+ pounds of delicious meat home. Many of these guys prefer to process their own meat once back at home in the states, or use their trusted butcher who has done their whitetails.

    Here's a picture of a typical shipment of meat/antlers getting unwrapped after the 4,000 mile journey.

  15. #15


    379 it is likely I might use your service. I know 2 other guys also moose hunting in Fairbanks that live near me in Ohio. We had planned to donate most of the meat but if we all pitch in we can ship one moose home, split the cost and the meat and get horns home too.

    You might want to add a post to Monster Mulies and Bowsite but they might pull you for advertisng, I could stick a post up since I realize what a good deal it can be for the right person (let me know if that is ok with you).

    I am guessing you estimate how many guys are successfull and take out the unsuccessfull guys (since not everyone who says they will use you will get a moose) to determine if it is cost effective? Just curious

  16. #16


    What I do:

    Meet with my processor before flying into camp. Leave a detailed work order with him.
    Meat gets flown out of camp and goes directly to processor.
    Processor cuts, wraps, labels, freezes and boxes meat to weigh 50# each.
    I get 3 boxes, my pard gets 3 300# of best meat goes home.
    Pick up the meat on our way to the airport and check it in as baggage.
    24 hours later it's in my freezer.
    I checked in 2 large duffels and 3 boxes of meat with AK Air in Fbnks...5 total baggage items weighing almost 250 pounds.
    I was charged a grand total of $40 for my excess bag fees. It's true. I don't ask questions when good deals happen.
    I left my skull in Fbnks for a euro, to be shipped home later.

    Couple options:
    Could take meat to processor in larger chunks and have them box it up uncut, 50# and frozen. Whole backstraps, t-loins, etc.
    Fly that meat home and cut it when you get there.
    Cut skull in half and nest the antlers. Find or build a good cardboard box to hold them.
    Mail the antlers home via Priority mail. Be wary of 'parcel post'. If antlers get stinky, you may never see them. 4-6 week transit.

  17. #17


    In 2010 My buddy and I both shot two moose a 58" and a 59". We had both racks and both capes sent from Dillingham to Alpha Fur dressers in Fairbanks. Alpha fur dressers salted and dried both capes for us. Then shipped one big crate to our taxidermist in Connecticut for shoulder mounts a few months later. The bill was $1600.

  18. #18


    aaaahhhhhh ouch! $1,600 ouch

    My plan is to take all I can for flight home, checked bags.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Eagle River


    I fly back to IN once or twice a year. I take salmon, halibut, shrimp, moose, etc. Everything is frozen and vacum sealed. I stuff it all in a dry bag and weigh it to make sure it is under 50lbs. I check it in at the airport as checked luggage and never have a problem. When i get there everthing is still frozen. On the return trip I bring blugill, whitetail, pork or whatever. Same thing no issues. Every once in awhile, TSA will check a bag and leave one of their little white papers. I've been doing this for the last few years. I've flown with Alaska, Delta, and Continental. This year at x-mas, stuffed my sheep horns in another dry bag with my clothes. Everything had been scraped off the skull cap and air dryed. They didn't smell hardly at all. As far as caribou or moose splitting the antlers will save you a bunch of coin. As mentioned before garden hose or some foam from home depot around the tips work great. I wounldn't pay someone to package them. It doesn't take long and not hard at all. It will save you $$$$

  20. #20


    The dry bag is an EXCELLENT idea. I did not think of that, have they beat it senseless (or put any holes in it yet)? I might just get a couple dry bags and use them soley for flying with meat from now on. I REALLY like that idea, thanks Cooler end up weighing 5# or more, drybags a fraction of that.

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