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Moose Cape and Antlers - Size Restricted Travel Logistics

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by northwoods, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Hi everybody. I seem to find more useful advice and help here than anywhere else while planning airline logistics for a northern Alberta moose hunt in about a month. I had a previous post where I got some great advice…

    I know answers to these questions can vary considerably, but I’m trying to be as best prepared as I can for the airline travel if I get a bull since they have strict weight and size limitations on luggage.

    (1) What size cooler should I plan on taking on the airline as checked luggage to pack the cape in? In other words, what size (as far as number of quarts) would a shoulder mount cape from a mature bull fit into? I’ll try to keep it as clean as I can as far as meat and may even get a chance at turning the ears and lips… don’t know for sure. I was told a 54qt cooler for bulls in the 35-45 inch range, but that just seems really small to me. I plan on packing it as tight as I can and then freezing it solid, taping and then checking as luggage. I just don’t know what size I should be safe with?

    (2) I’m planning on splitting the antlers at the skull plate and then cupping them together and wrapping them with bubble wrap and putting foam pipe insulation or small hose pieces on the tines. I’d like to then see if I can then pack them in as big a bag I can find and pad them with clothing. Problem is that I have no idea what size paddles a 45 to 60 inch bull would have so I have no idea on how big of a bag I would need. I have found 50” long by 30” wide giant duffle bags and some really large equipment bags around 45x20x18. I know there’s a chance that finding a bag to fit the antlers of a really big bull is going to be impossible but if I don’t get the biggest bull on the mountain and end up with an average sized animal, I’d like to try to fit them in a bag. I don’t have much experience holding paddles so it’s really hard for me to estimate what I’m going to need.

    Some of you guys on here have A LOT more experience with moose capes and antlers than I do and I’m open to any advice you may have on my ideas and needs above. If I can’t take the cape and/or antlers as checked baggage I’ll have a back-up plan for shipping them but that gets really pricey in a big hurry and I’d like to try and avoid it if possible.

    Thanks for any helpful advice.
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I fleshed and turned a moose cape yesterday, I think you will need bigger than 54 qt. I'd go 125 ish + qt.
     

  3. T is right. A lot of leather there.
     
  4. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Thanks guys. A 120 quart cooler still meets the airlines size limitations for oversized items that they will take as checked baggage but will weigh about 18 pounds. 70 pounds is the max so that means the green cape inside would need to be 52 pounds or less... is that realistic? Size wise, I could go all the way to maybe a 180 quart cooler but then the additional weight would mean more cooler weight and less cap weight to play with.

    Also, as far as the antlers... here's a 50" x 30" huge canvas duffle bag. Is it realistic for me to think that a set of split paddles off a 45 - 55 inch bull would fit inside this bag that I could then pack clothes all around and pad up nicely? It's would meet the max size limitations but would have to be under 70 pounds. Antlers + clothing + bag = would have to be under 70 pounds. Is that realistic?

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Giant-Zipper-Canvas-Duffle/dp/B002TSQDPC

    Please keep the helpful advice coming... this is the hardest trip I've ever had to plan for and am trying to do my homework as best I can. Thank you!
     
  5. Easy ,,, just have the outfitter ship them to you ,, UPS ships world wide, no airline issues to worry about,

    mj
     
  6. JoshK

    JoshK Member

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    I went to Maine last year and shot a 51" bull. I froze the cape in a deep freeze and then put it in a 150 cooler for the 2 day drive home. Worked great. The cape was bagged and I kept some ice on it.....just enough to keep it frozen.
    A 54 QT cool will not be big enough. My 150 was full....and almost did not have enough room for the cape. I could have folded it up a little more compact before freezing, but I would take a 150 qt if I were you.
    Hope this helps.

    Josh
     
  7. Kyle Lakey

    Kyle Lakey Active Member

    Don't split the skull plate. Take a drill with you and drill a hole like you would through one pedicle for doing removable antlers. The cut one side off below the burr and finish the removable peg part when you get home and the splate has dried out. For the life of me I can not understand why outfitters around the world split the skull plates in half. It kills the integredy of a skull plate and what it was designed to do holding together alot of weight from horns exspecially on moose and elk. Its so much easier to attach an antler cut off than it is to put a skull plate back together. I tell every client this that I know of who are going on a trip for big game where splitting racks is a must to get home. Outfitters need to get the word on this everywhere cuz split skull plates are a pain to deal with.
     
  8. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Thanks guys.

    michael j - I've looked into the UPS, FedEx, and Cargo options and they very expensive very fast. And shipping out of another Country adds more logistics and export/import permitting needs that typically require the services of a broker... even more $.

    JoshK - Great advice! Was your cape fleshed at all or completely green? Any idea what the cooler with it inside may have weighed?

    Kyle Lakey - Great advice!! Never thought of that but I'm glad you posted it. Thank you! Should I drill both then cut both off at the pedicle or just drill one and leave the other on the skull plate?

    Thanks guys!
     
  9. JoshK

    JoshK Member

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    It was green. Not sure of weight. Maybe 100lbs???
     
  10. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Thanks JoshK. I'm worried about the 70lb maximum I would have to deal with. A 150qt cooler would be about 20lbs so that means the cape would have to be 50lbs or less... probably really tough to do with a green cape. Thanks for the great information, definitely giving me a better idea of what to expect.
     
  11. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Better expect to pay what ever it takes to get your trophy back home. Shipping it ups comes with a cost too, standing at the airport with to big of a cooler will cost you too. I'd freeze it rock hard in the cooler and send it UPS. Or find a taxidermist there to flesh and salt it dry, then send it to you, or straight to your tannery.
     
  12. Kyle Lakey

    Kyle Lakey Active Member

    I'd just drill and cut one and deal with the rest when you get home that way you can drill and insert square stock and epoxy before cutting the other off. That way you only have one to try and line up. You could probably take square stock and epoxy and do it there too if you wanted then you wouldn't have to try and line up either. Another tip if you don't wanna mess with putting in the square stock on a trip is making a couple notches or key way cuts i the pedicle before cutting off so you have reference to line things up when you put the square stock in at home. Thats probably what I would do so you have least amount of hassel on a trip is just make a key way cut, dill hole, cut off, and leave the rest alone with skull still attached to one side to deal with at home. Good luck. Kyle
     
  13. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Thanks for the information!

    Low T - Yeah, it's not going to be cheap no matter how I get things back home. I'm just going to try to do it as reasonable as I can.

    Kyle - More great suggestions. Thank you again!
     
  14. Bobbym1232

    Bobbym1232 New Member

    I had a friend/customer shoot a giant bull in Alaska last year, and he had everything shippped back to him (frozen cape, antlers (removable antler is best option like mentioned), and some of the meat). I believe he said it only cost him $200-300 for FedEx to package and ship back to south Texas. I just don't see any way you are going to get a green cape and horns to fit the weight and size limits for checked luggage on an airline.
     
  15. JohnB

    JohnB Member

    The outfitter I know in northern Alberta uses Talon Distribution for shipping horns and capes to the US. They are located in Edmonton. Talon takes care of all the paperwork.

    9459 47 Street NW
    Edmonton , AB T6B2R7

    Phone:(780) 461-8750

    Where in northern Alberta are you hunting?

    Here is a moose I cleaned up for a guy that came out of northern Alberta. 47" wide. Something to get you dreaming.

    Good luck.
     

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  16. northwoods

    northwoods New Member

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    Very cool bull JohnB, I can only hope! I'll be hunting up in the extreme NW region of Alberta, a stones throw from BC.