Using a broker vs. self help for african safari???


January 2, 2012, 03:28 PM
My friend and i have booked an African safari for this summer and the only thing up in the air for us is whether or not to use a broker to get our trophies back into the states vs doing the paperwork and pick up ourselves. We live in PA so getting to the port (Baltimore or NYC) isn't the issue. Looking for folks who have actually done it one way or the other to chime in. thanks

If you enjoyed reading about "Using a broker vs. self help for african safari???" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 2, 2012, 04:06 PM
Hardly anyone clears their own trophies but there was a thread on this subject at several months ago. It can be done and if I lived at a convenient distance to a port of entry, I would probably do it. You might do a search or ask on for further information.

January 2, 2012, 05:45 PM
PM H&Hhunter. He has been there and done that more than just about anyone else on here. Heck there may be a sticky on the main page with some info in it from him. But shoot him a PM and see what he thinks.

January 2, 2012, 07:23 PM
I've done it both ways. Do it yourself can be a major PITA especially if you have species that require a vet inspection before USFW can clear them. Warthog and cape buffalo being one of the major ones.

It costs more money but especially for a first timer using a shipping agent is far easier though obviously more expensive.

So if in fact you are going to do a DIY import you need to contact the USFW and get a declaration for importation you can do this after you get home. You'll then need to have your trophies shipped to a clearing facility and meet a USFW agent who will clear or reject your shipment. If you have species that require a vet inspection you'll need to have your trophies shipped to an inspection approved facility, I use Jonas bros here in Denver, where a vet health inspection can take place. If you are going to do that you might as well just pay them to have your shipment cleared as well.

In inspection fee's run between $100 -$200 per animal and processing/clearing fee's generally run between $300-$400 per shipment.


Finished pieces do not require a health inspection. I.E> if you have the taxidermy done over there you can ship directly to a clearing facility and simply have your trophies cleared by the USFW and take them home. Of course it is far more expensive to ship finished pieces due to the bulk of the shipment.

So I guess the question you have to ask yourself is what species are you planning on hunting and are they in need of a health inspection? If so you'll need to find out where they need to be inspected and have them shipped there. Are you planning on having the taxidermy done locally or wait until you get home?

January 2, 2012, 08:30 PM
On my last trip, I had my taxidermy done in South Africa by Life Form Taxidermy. From the time my trophies arrived at the taxidermist until they were at my home was about a year and they did a fine job. The end result was somewhat lower cost including the shipping, better work and about 2 years less time than when I had the local award winning taxidermist mount fewer animals.

One caution; not all South African taxidermists are created equal. Some of the work done there isn't good and you may be pressured to use a taxidermist the outfitter gets a kickback from. Before you go, if you intend to have trophies mounted in Africa, you should insist on information about whatever taxidermist you are considering using.

January 3, 2012, 02:48 PM
thanks for the heads up. Has anyone ever used Kabusi Safaris thats were we are hunting at. They do their own Taxidermy so I guess i dont have to worry about kickbacks. im looking at a package consisting kudu, blesbuck, springbuck, warthog, and blesbuck. I was thinking euro skull mts for all but the Kudu cuz i think they look sweet. but we will see.

January 3, 2012, 04:35 PM
You will be light years ahead of the game by using the services of a licensed Customs Broker. They will handle USFW, Customs entry, delivery order, bill of lading, inspection, cartage, etc. - Get the picture?

January 3, 2012, 04:42 PM
They do their own Taxidermy

Is this in South Africa? CAREFUL the majority of taxidermy done in South Africa is CRAP! There are some good taxidermist but the average is pretty poor.

January 4, 2012, 03:49 AM
So true!

January 4, 2012, 03:23 PM
not sure it would be "light yrs" I have read form a couple threads here and other places where guys have gone the DITY route didn't seem too bad few minor mishaps but things that a little preplanning would have prevented. trying to figure out the cost difference between paying for the customs fees and paperwork fees and such ourselves vs a broker who is all inclusive. we found one broker who is also a taxidermist supposedly does really good work but we are looking at 6-700 dollars broker fees. thoughts?

January 4, 2012, 09:52 PM
$6 to $700. can't be the broker's fees. You have to realize that there are "hidden costs" such as customs single entry bond, USFW fees, duty? (paid on price of taxidermy fees packed), customs examination, local cartage to and from place of examination, inland freight, messenger fees, postage, petties, forms, long distance phone calls, special attendance.

Trust me, I was in the business for 30 years and there have been a lot of changes since 9/11.
Ask the broker for a breakdown of all charges. His fee should be close to $200/250 tops with the rest being out of pocket expenses.

If you live or are close to a USFW inspection facility you're costs and aggrivation go down quite a bit, but there are no guarantees. That's what you pay a broker for. You can't beat experience. Some forwarder's will try and sell you a door to door shipment all inclusive duty paid, delivered. In my experience most are total rip off's.

If you use a broker be sure you get a detailed invoice with all backup invoices as some brokers will mark up other fees to pad their wallet.

Customs or DHS as they are now won't even give you the time of day without a written release from fish and wildlife and usda and you must get a signed carrier's release from the airline or steamship company evidencing right to make entry, then you have to get an inspector to write an informal entry and collect any duties. If all goes well the inspector gives you a release and you go to the pier to get your trophy, but you are denied access to the port because you haven't had a background check so you call a local trucker after you faxed the release from customs and the steamship company along with an inland b/l. Depending on the port, you may have a smooth ride or a bumpy one. Just try to get a real federal govt. employee on the phone unless you have their private number will most likely be a nightmare.
Good luck.

If you enjoyed reading about "Using a broker vs. self help for african safari???" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!