Shipping deer meat

Thread starter #1

rawolfee

Senior Member
Have always driven to Wyoming in Oct for mule deer hunt. This year seriously thinking about flying. My only concern is how to get the meat home. Just wanted to see what others have done and how much it cost. The only two options I can think of are UPS/FedEx overnight or take on plane. If I get a first class ticket, I can get two checked bags free. Still would need to get my gear home somehow. Looking for ideas. Thanks in advance.
 

Milkman

Retired Moderator
Southwest Airlines gives two free bags on all flights. I will let others advise on best methods to ship meats.
 

model88_308

Senior Member
I had the head and meat from a mule deer shipped back here to Tn from Idaho several years ago. Lets just say, I ain't doing that again!!

I'd make arrangements with the outfitter and do this, if I went again. I'd have the deer butchered and frozen there at my expense, and if possible, take two 45 pound coolers full back on the plane. I'd have my "stuff" shipped back via UPS ground or similar. It is 100% legal to ship a firearm to yourself, so you know.

Any more meat than what I wanted to bring with me on the plane, donated at the hunt location. If taxidermy needed, I'd look to have it done there, or have the head skinned, hide frozen and skullplate shipped back.
 
Do it almost every year.... southwest you pay an additional $50 or $75 for 50lb box of meat, can’t remember.... I bone mine out, and then you’ll need to purchase one of their wax boxes with a plastic bag liner ( about $10). I usually try to get all my clothes in my carry on and in my weapon case that way I can bring meat back free. You can also just ship your clothes suitcase ahead of time, then have it shipped back separately.
 
If there are not places to buy a cooler where you will be going to hunt, then use your coolers as your suitcases on the way out, and bring an empty large duffel bag (or two) with you to put your clothes and gear in on the way back. I'm guessing you are giving yourself back at least 2 days of your time (what's that worth?) by flying instead of driving, so check it all, pay the fees, and have yourself a cold beer at 30,000 ft.
 

godogs57

Senior Member
FedEx overnight, dry ice in the cooler and you’ll be fine, except for that empty feeling in your wallet.
Quoting myself (how strange is that?) The cost is why we now drive out for our elk hunts rather than fly. Less hassle with airport lines, checking in guns, etc. Less $ for flying and renting a car...way less!
And: You take home all your meat. My last elk gave me about 350# of meat to process when I got home. When flying I was limited to what I could stuff in a 48 qt cooler for about $175-$200. I would have to take out another mortgage on my house to fly back 350# of meat plus antlers.

Its just simpler to drive. It takes us two days to drive...a hard two days. Takes us one day to fly, plus checking in a motel, renting a car and driving half a day to the ranch next day. Same difference....two days either way. Plus, I'm out about $500 gas plus motel for one night. No brainer.
 

paulito

Senior Member
I can't stomach leaving meat behind. I'd leave horns before meat. It's just so precious and good. Why I drove everywhere.
 

godogs57

Senior Member
I can't stomach leaving meat behind. I'd leave horns before meat. It's just so precious and good. Why I drove everywhere.
I can’t either. That’s why I had it shipped overnight when flying. Plus your antlers ride better in the back of your truck.

Worst flying story I EVER heard was from a friend of mine who killed a 60” moose inCanada. Flew back to Atlanta, then boarded a smaller commuter jet to get him home. At Atlanta, he was sitting at the gate ready to board when he looked out the window and hopelessly watched two luggage guys repeatedly picking up and dropping his prized antlers onto the concrete! They dropped them several times until the skull plate snapped in two. Then they “folded” the antlers together so they’d store better in the luggage compartment. He couldn’t find an open door to run down onto the pavement to stop them. Justifiable homicide if I’ve ever heard of it!
 

Mark K

Senior Member
I can’t either. That’s why I had it shipped overnight when flying. Plus your antlers ride better in the back of your truck.

Worst flying story I EVER heard was from a friend of mine who killed a 60” moose inCanada. Flew back to Atlanta, then boarded a smaller commuter jet to get him home. At Atlanta, he was sitting at the gate ready to board when he looked out the window and hopelessly watched two luggage guys repeatedly picking up and dropping his prized antlers onto the concrete! They dropped them several times until the skull plate snapped in two. Then they “folded” the antlers together so they’d store better in the luggage compartment. He couldn’t find an open door to run down onto the pavement to stop them. Justifiable homicide if I’ve ever heard of it!
No offense meant...but who in the world would put 60” moose antlers on a plane?? I mean did he really expect them to come home in one piece?
 
Every outfitter I have experienced has a plan to return your game/ trophy. As mentioned above it ain’t cheep.

If I have success I have the locals handle the meat and mount and ship it back. Did I mention it ain’t cheep.

I enjoy the hunt and different scenery. Sometimes it’s more fun to let them walk.
 

godogs57

Senior Member
No offense meant...but who in the world would put 60” moose antlers on a plane?? I mean did he really expect them to come home in one piece?
Understand. I honestly don’t know how I’d get em home either. The elk in my avatar, likely the biggest I’ll ever get, I had shipped via 18 wheeler because I was flying. Scared the whole time it would be lost or damaged. I was lucky.
 
A processed deer will fit as a carry on. Freeze it and put it in a soft packable cooler. I have done it many times. Also, you can put it in a box. Only put 50lbss or less in it. Have it froze before you leave. It will stay frozen until you get home. I justy moved back to GA from Wyoming and this is how I brought meat back several times a year. It was always still frozen even in the dead of summer.
 
You can’t use coolers on southwest anymore. Not sure about other airlines though.
I flew home from Texas this morning with a cooler full of meat on Southwest.
 
Freeze it beforehand and pack in coolers if you can. If not, you can freeze it with dry ice. Southwest allows 5.5 lbs of dry ice in checked baggage as long as the cooler can vent it and is labeled as containing dry ice. Either Fedex gear home, or pay $75 for extra bags. One trick to make it stay cold better is to put the meat inside the cheap soft coolers and put the soft coolers inside a Coleman cooler. Don't use a Yeti, they weigh too much and you can't pack as much meat and be inside the weight limit.
 

catch22

Senior Member
donate the meat to a needy family in the area or the outfitter. save the money you would have spent and buy lobster and filet mignon when you get home ;)
 

antharper

Senior Member
donate the meat to a needy family in the area or the outfitter. save the money you would have spent and buy lobster and filet mignon when you get home ;)
I went to Canada several years ago and this is the route we took , I did make sure it wasn’t wasted , which we were there 7 days and ate a lot of deer meat while we were there !
 
That’s news to me, unless your baggage handler just didn’t pursue it. Or hopefully they changed their policy.👍
Nope, checked their policy in advance. You can use wet ice as long as it's contained in ziploc bags or dry ice as long as it doesn't exceed 5.5 lbs and is labeled properly. Know the rules and be prepared to show them their own rules.

https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/special-luggage-pol.html

Seafood and Other Perishable Items

Packing Rules
Seafood (including fresh seafood, shrimp, fish of all kinds, live lobsters, live crabs, and live crawfish), meat, fowl, game, and other perishable foods must be suitably packed in leak-proof containers. Styrofoam® or other plastic foam containers are not acceptable for frozen food or other items that may leak during transit.
  • Items must be wrapped in heavy plastic, and bags must be securely sealed to prevent leakage (except when used for live seafood shipments where air flow is required).
  • Styrofoam® (or other plastic foam) inserts should be used between the plastic bag and the inner wall of the carton.
  • If the items require refrigeration, they should be packed with a self-contained refrigerant.
  • These items are subject to inspection by a Southwest Airlines Employee and will be subject to limited release. (Southwest assumes no liability for damage sustained during transport.)
Refrigerants: Shipments packed in wet ice will not be accepted unless the ice is contained in sealed polyethylene bags (Ziploc® bags). Frozen gels or dry ice/carbon dioxide are the preferred refrigerants. Dry ice/carbon dioxide may be used as a refrigerant for perishables under the following limitations:
  • Dry ice/carbon dioxide may not weigh more than 5.5 pounds in checked or carryon baggage.
  • The package must be designed to permit the release of carbon dioxide gas to prevent buildup of pressure.
  • The outside of the container must be marked "dry ice" or "carbon dioxide solid." The net weight of the dry ice and the contents of the package must also be shown. A Southwest Airlines Dry Ice Label (WN-659) may be used to meet these marking requirements.
 
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