Shipping Your Meat and Trophy Back Home

Shipping Your Meat and Trophy Back Home

When it comes to shipping your meat and/or antlers and cape back home you need to plan ahead. Using an expeditor should be considered.

  • Size, time and expense all play a major role getting big game trophies from Alaska back home. The species harvested will greatly affect factors.
  • If you shoot a moose and want to get the entire animal back home then size, number of boxes and expense will be quite large, but if you take a wolf then you can probably get away with checking it as luggage.
  • The local Hotel in Kotzebue we recommend has a walk-in, -20 degree freezer for hunters to freeze their meat prior to departure back home.
  • Meat boxes can be purchased for $15 each. Boxes can be checked on as luggage. Boxes must not be over 100 pounds. Excess baggage fees will be charged by the airlines for additional pieces of checked baggage on Alaska Airlines.

We suggest using an expeditor.

If you want the best care for your trophies then we recommend using an expeditor who only focuses on shipping big game trophies. Most expediting businesses in Alaska are owned and operated by hunters and they know the care needed for preparation and shipment of big game, and fish too.

Once your trophy is taken care of in the field and you’ve made it back to civilization, the expeditor will do the rest.

They provide a variety of shipping services, securely package it, freeze it and even do the taxidermy work if you decide to have it done in their shop. If you are going to all the work and expense of the hunt, you should spend the money to get it home safely instead of trying to save a few bucks and take a risk in losing both the meat and cape.

We especially recommend using an expeditor if you have any antlers that are in velvet. The moisture inside the package will mold and cause serious problems on the airlines.

Another option is to use a major airline.

Alaska Airlines is still hunter friendly and provides shipping services to hunters. Many hunts to the bush will at first require a ride on an Alaska Airlines flight. This will be your return route as well which includes your trophy and the rest of your gear. There was once a time when you could check about anything on an airline and not run into any problems. You could just duct tape cardboard around your caribou antlers and that was good enough, but not any more.

If you go to Alaska Airline’s website they have a section on the requirements of shipping big game. They classify big game as moose, caribou, goat and sheep, which includes meat, hides and capes.

  • Whichever you take must be wrapped in a leak-proof polyurethane bag regardless of the outer packaging.
  • There must be no blood, dirt or odor.
  • The maximum weight is 100 pounds per package. This can add up quickly if you are hauling back a moose or a couple of caribou.
  • The airline also allows a hunter to use a maximum of five pounds of dry ice for shipping perishable items but no wet ice is allowed.
  • All packages must be labeled with the hunter or hunters’ names and addresses plus hunting license numbers.
  • If the package is crossing state lines then the Lacey Act will come into effect. Hunters will need to provide shipping tags with all their information. These tags can be picked-up at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and can also be found in a copy of the regulations.

Alaska Airlines provides antler boxes to hunters to ship their trophies.

shipping caribou antlers
Antlers must be properly prepared for shipping on airlines.

Cost varies depending on size, but all meet the airline’s requirements. If you’re just shipping antlers the same criteria applies. Shipping several antlers together is pretty common especially if there are more than one hunter.

  • Antler tips must be well padded to prevent damage to other luggage.
  • Antlers must also be shipped separately from meat and capes.
  • 100 pounds is the maximum weight.
  • Antlers may be shipped as regular baggage as long as they are free from blood and flesh and meet regular bag requirements.
  • Alaska Airlines provides an airline to door service for a fee.

*We do have antler boxes available at our hangar and our ramp crew will give you instructions on how to properly box them.