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Thread: Shipping Antlers on Alaskan Airlines

  1. #1

    Default Shipping Antlers on Alaskan Airlines

    Have a Caribou hunt this fall out of Kotzebue Alaska. Looking for info on shipping split Caribou antlers back home on the flight I'm taking myself. I'm flying back home all the way on Alaskan Airlines bcak to Chicago.

    1. Can the antlers be shipped as extra baggage?
    2. Will they force me to use their "Antler Express"
    3. Must I check it in as baggage in a box?
    4. From what I have read I can ship them as baggade as long as the tips are protected and the horns are placed in a tagged, sealed plastic bag?

    Anyone with some experience?

    Thanks

    Steveo

  2. #2
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Split your skulls and tape pieces of an old water hose over all of the points--and place them in a pedal bike box. Alaska Airlines will take the box as excess baggage. They may charge you an oversize fee also.

    I would seal up the skulls with some wrapping also. We usead a blow torch and cooked the skulls so all of the grease and blood came out of the skulls before shipment.

    We were able to get two record book bou in one pedal bike box last year.

    If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Good luck.

  3. #3

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    I'm no expert here, but My understanding is that antlers must be shipped by antler express. And to do this you must be a registered shipper. Am I off base here? Ken

  4. #4

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    I do this every year. As of last September, Alaska Air will not let you ship antlers as a piece of baggage. They will direct you to antler express. Don't do it. And I wouldn't split your antlers. They never look right in my opinion.

    Find a Fed Ex shipper - I have found them in a few small cities around AK, but I haven't hunted out of Kotzebue, so I'd call ahead. If you can find one, you can put the whole thing in a big box (they have them) and ship to a business or your home for an extra fee. To ship home, it could cost you $400, so be prepared. If it's a mounter, it's worth the extra cost, in my opinion.

    If you route through Anchorage, go to a expeditor. I used NACLink a couple times (I think they changed names, but they are still by the airport and still ship antlers, capes, etc... The last # I had for them was 800-727-4121.

    Good luck this fall

    Don Mulligan

  5. #5

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    I took the red eye from Anchorage to Chicago a few years ago. A couple of hunters shipped their antlers. During the long time from check in and the flight the antlers had bug eggs hatch and filled the baggage compartment with flies or whatever. They told us this as we waited for more than two and a half hours for our luggage. They had to have the baggage compartment fumigated, before they could get the baggage out. The two guys waiting in their camo for the baggage shrunk inot the background while we waited. Please do clean it up if you ship it.

  6. #6
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    Antler Express is Fedex.

    The way it works is Alaska Air has a contract with Fedex for shipping antlers. Alaska will ship the Antlers via Air Cargo till they get to Anchorage or Seattle, then they are transfered to Fedex and shipped on a Fedex aircraft.

    Damaged antlers, rotten brains, maggots, the TSA and soiled and damaged luggage are the reasons Antler Express was created.

    I used to work Cargo for Alaska Air in Anchorage for 12 years and have seen many a rotten skull and antler come in from the bush. Say nothing of all the rotten meat.

    Always found it interesting how some guys would spend 10 grand on the hunt of a lifetime and would then balk at spending a few hundred more to get the antlers shipped home.

    You could always have the taxidermy work done in Anchorage and have them take care of the shipping as well. The usually do a better packing job anyway.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  7. #7

    Default AK AIr Web Site info

    THis was taken right off the Alaska Airlines website in the Antler Express AREA! Right at the bottom of the page.

    "Note: Antlers may be accepted as baggage if they meet the requirements for checked baggage. Please check the Know Before You Go resource center."

    Antler Express is not a Must!

    Steveo

  8. #8

    Default More info off the web

    Antlers and horns are only accepted as checked baggage if they are properly packaged in an enclosed container and meet normal size and weight restrictions. Items that are oversized, overweight, or improperly packaged must be shipped via Air Cargo. Please keep in mind this will require additional time as the Air Cargo offices may not be near the departure terminal in some cities.

  9. #9
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    Default Taxidermist

    Check with your taxidermist, I had had several racks split and you would not ever know the difference. Matter of fact my bro paid and extra $150 dollars and they made his rack removable(nicest thing I've ever seen, especially since my bro still in the military). Oh, I split and wrapped them seperately and for 4 racks it cost under 250$ from anchorage with US postal service.

    Terry

  10. #10

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    I didn't know Antlers Express was a Fed Ex contract. It was definitely more expensive to ship through AE than to take to a Fed Ex hub. Cutting out the middle man, I suppose.

    I had the taxidermy done one time in Fairbanks. It was so expensive, compared to home, I decided it wasn't worth it. The work was first class, however, so maybe it is not a bad idea anyway.

    I have split caribou antlers that have worked out OK, but would never split big moose antlers if I intended to mount them.

    I can totally understand airlines not wanting rotting meat on their plane. I went to great pains one year cleaning a moose skull plate before wrapping it several times. I even sprayed it with bug spray. When I got it, it was still green and full of maggots. It cleaned up fine, but was smelly and gross. I was actually more nervous about introducing whitesocks to Indiana. We have enough trouble with the deer flies as it is.

    Don Mulligan

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    Default don't know the cost

    but you could also check the packaging store: http://www.gopackagingstore.com/

    they claim to pack and ship anything and everything.

  12. #12
    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    Default Last Year

    After shooting a PnY Caribou, I wrapped the tips with pipe foam and duck tape. The skull was very clean and wrapped thoroughly with plastic. Next I put it in one of their huge bags. Then I made a large cardboard box out of many small cardboard boxes, and used alot of duck tape and rope. When I went to the Air Cargo section, they told me it would be 350.00 to get it back home, but they just said why not take it thru as regular baggage. So I asked the nice lady at the counter and she said yes, it can be shipped as an extra baggage, but because it was oversize they would charge me more. Total was 50.00. Their fees this year have gone up abit so this year it might be 75.00 to get it back..............

  13. #13
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    If you plan on getting removable antlers it does not matter if the skull is split. The antlers are cut off at the bases.

    If you are concerned about getting a mount back that looks exactly before the splitting of the skull: I have a couple tips.

    1. Do not split the skull in a straight line. I cut in a zig-zag pattern.
    2. Take measurements with a tape before the first hide cut is made--and of course write them down. If you do not want to write them down or forget a pen, you can always take photos of the measurements also. Then hand them to your taxi with your antlers.


    Every taxi I dropped my stuff off at thanked me for the pics/measurements and my end product was an exact match.

    The best advice would be to ask your taxidermist before you ever step foot in the field. You both will end up happy!

    BTW, we shipped our bou last year out of Fairbanks airport on Alaska airlines with zero problems.

  14. #14
    Member caribouman's Avatar
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    Default known Shipper

    It has been about four or five years but Alaska Airlines once allowed me to ship unsplit caribou racks from Anchorage to Sacramento without a box, just double bagged in the large clear plastic bags they provided AT AIR CARGO. Yes, I had to be on the known shipper list and you can't do this at the baggage counter. Air cargo is usually at a seperate facility. It was much cheaper than antler express.

    Gone are the good old days 1999? and prior when you could ship any antlers home (even Moose unsplit) on Alaska Air for $50 on the flight you were taking home as excess baggage.

    I usually buy a plastic tote in Kodiak and put deer antlers inside, label it on the outside "Wildlife Parts -- deer cape and antlers" to comply with the Lacey Act, and ship it home as excess baggage. Don't forget many states require you to declare your wildlife parts when you arrive and prohibit brain or spinal column due to Chronic Wasting Disease. This makes it hard if you want a european type mount.

    Brian

  15. #15

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    I am sure the post office in Kotz is familiar with shipping antlers. Hopefully

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    I shipped three sets of unsplit caribou antlers from Fairbanks to Portland last year with no problem. I nested them together, wrapped them with a ton of bubble wrap, put them in an Alaska Air heavy plastic bag, then dropped them with the cargo office. Those and two full boxes of meat were kept in the cooler/freezer and arrived the same day as I did. The total cost was about $200.

  17. #17

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    Andrew, Were you a known shipper last year? Did you send the antlers on antler express or plain air cargo? How about the meat? Thanks, Ken...

  18. #18
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    I have my known shipper designation. I shipped everything through the cargo service. I have done it many times and have had ZERO problems. With AK Air charging so dang much for extra bags, shipping for about $1/pound is a cheaper option in my opinion.

  19. #19
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    Take a garden hose and cut in pices to place over the tines, then throw a couple of laps of duck tape around it, the airlines seem to like that better.

  20. #20

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    Just got back from a great DIY caribou hunt out of Kotzebue with Steveo. We sent our antlers back 2 different ways. Steve (the smart one), packed a box in his duffle bag and was able to mail his antlers home for around $107 including insurance. Me (the rookie) had to buy an antler box from Alaska Airlines for $36 and then got denied at the post office for the box being 3" oversized. I was able to pay on oversized luggage fee and take it on as a second piece of luggage. Costs another $70.

    Garden hose on the antler tips was mandatory.

    So, both ways came out to be pretty close in price. I was just relieved when I saw my box come through the gate when I arrived in Laguardia. I thought for sure my luggage would get lost with all the airports we went through

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