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Transporting your trophies back home – tips from Agility Logistics

The hunting trip is over, you have endured the hardships and bagged your trophy. It is time to leave the destination and entrust the fate of the trophy to a local shipping agent, outfitter or taxidermist who is then in charge of shipping it by boat, aircraft or road.

For the trophy hunter it is very important that the trophy is sent correctly, as cheaply as possible without any problems arising on its way to your home address.

We spoke to Bob Karlsen, Trophy Transport Manager at Agility Logistics. For more than 20 years, he has transported trophies back home for European hunters. We asked him what you should do before departure, during the trip and after you return to ensure safe export, transport and import of your precious trophies.

Agility Logistics’ tips for hunters for transporting hunting trophies back home

“Before travelling it is a good idea to contact a professional shipping agent so that they can guide you in advance about the conditions at the destination you are heading to,” Karlsen explains.

He also explains that trophy hunters, who contact either his colleague Henrik Prebensen or himself before their trip, will get information about Agility Logistics’ local partners at their destination. If you then choose to use Karlsen you will receive a so-called routing order (a transport document) prior to your trip, which you need to take with you and have it signed by the local outfitter.

“We also like to know in advance if you are planning on shipping the hide or if your trophy will be mounted locally before it is sent. Before departure, the trophy hunter also needs to register as an importer of animal by-products with the local food region. But all this is included in a cover letter with instructions, which we send along with the routing order. As long as you follow the steps outlined in the letter, you cannot go wrong,” Karlsen continues.

According to Bob Karlsen, it is also a good idea to check the Washington Convention’s CITES list before departure. .

During the trip you do not have to worry about anything besides getting the outfitter’s signature on the routing order.

When you return home, you send the signed routing order to the shipping agent, and they take over from there. Karlsen answers the question of whether you can take care of your trophy transport yourself. “Inside EU borders it can easily be done and it is quite common. However you still have to remember to register with the local food region as an importer of animal by-products. Then you can take home the trophy yourself. However, the hunt has to take place in areas where, within the last few years, there have not been any outbreaks of diseases such as foot and mouth disease.”.

So within EU borders there is money to be saved by dealing with your own trophy transport. However, if you hunt outside EU borders it is strongly advisable to use a professional shipping agent with a vast network of partners throughout the world. With some luck you may be able to handle transport from non-EU countries yourself, but the man on the street runs the risk of losing his trophy in all the bureaucratic machinery.

If you want to try yourself, be aware that the EU requires taxidermists or shipping agents who export trophies to be registered in TRACES. If not, the trophy cannot be imported into EU countries.

The link below shows you exporters who are registered in TRACES in the country where you are going to hunt. Go to the tab: Game trophies

If you are stopped by customs, your trophy will be confiscated and destroyed

But, as mentioned before, so much can go wrong with personally organised trophy transport from a non-EU country. Pleas note that it is illegal to carry a trophy home in a rucksack or suitcase. If you are stopped by customs, your trophy will be confiscated and destroyed

When it comes to the cost of transport, according to Karlsen, it is difficult to calculate in advance. The price at Agility Logistics is calculated by weight and volume, so this varies according to how the trophy is prepared at the destination.

As far as transport fees are concerned, Karlsen says: “One thing is certain… You can send your trophies together with those of other trophy hunters at the same time, and this saves you money on basic expenses such as shipping documents etc.”  Karlsen also stresses that the trophies are transported in separate boxes but still in the same shipment.

At Agility Logistics the price is, as mentioned above, based on weight and volume, while other transport companies have different ways of calculating this. It is therefore a good idea to explore the market in advance so that you find deals and models to suit your needs.

Insurance for shipping hunting trophies back home is often included in the price

In terms of transport, it is also a good idea to make sure that the trophies are insured. Insurance is obligatory in Karl’s company and costs 1% of the combined trophy fee, taxidermy work at the destination and freight charges. If you use another company it is a good idea to ask if it is possible to take out a transport insurance policy, if it is not already obligatory.

”As an example of insurance value, I will tell you about a kudu trophy that was sent from Africa in a box with a soft bottom. When the box reached its destination in Jutland, the trophy’s hide was damaged. The insurance company organised for the nearest taxidermist to pick up the trophy, and it was returned to the customer 14 days later in good condition.”

Finally, Karlsen stresses that the insurance is only transport insurance and only covers whatever happens during the transport. In other words, it does not cover damages caused before or during packaging.