Transporting met home by plane

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by dmen, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. dmen

    dmen Die Hard Bowhunter

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    For the first time I am going to fly my meat home as checked in luggage. Anyone have any good pointers? I am going to have to buy a cooler. United does not allow wet ice, and only dry ice if the container is ventilated according to their website. Total time from Checking in to landing is about 9 hours. The meat will be frozen solid for the trip.
     
  2. Holt

    Holt Grizzled Veteran

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    Just buy the cheap Styrofoam coolers and tape it up good after they check it. If you have it froze solid in cooler, you shouldn't need any dry ice on it. Make sure to label it well. I personally haven't done this have seen many others. They used small coolers, not just one big one. And try to keep each one around 50lbs.

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  3. Westfinger

    Westfinger Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I would buy a decent cooler. I would also double check the dry ice. The airlines I have flown with explicitly say no dry ice. I have used bags of frozen veggies etc and ice packs etc instead of ice at times.
    It’s no big deal other than paying for the extra weight etc
     

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  4. roadrunner

    roadrunner Weekend Warrior

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    If your meat is colder than the froze packs (gel packs, veggies, etc) the meat will actually absorb the "heat" from the less cold things. Better to freeze the meat solid and wrap in an interior insulation such as a towel prior to placing in a cooler.
     
  5. wl704

    wl704 Grizzled Veteran

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    From where to where, meat to be transported, approx weight?

    Lighter weights <debone deer (~50#), freeze solid and carry on.

    Big animals from AK, there is a transporter that runs to upper 48 states.

    Fish (e.g. AK or Canada) fillet, freeze, checked baggage in wax box.

    Rest may be a checked cooler, but you may be able to put a good freeze (in advance) with dry ice (separate with some paper or piece of cardboard) on top of cooler.
     
  6. gran

    gran Newb

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    Freeze the meat in small packages. It will fit better in a container. You don’t need a cooler if the weather is cold, like now. I flew from Wyoming in sept with frozen antelope meat and head, bought a cheap plastic tote and put 5 lbs of dry ice in it, punched a couple jokes in the top, taped it all tight...got home 9 hrs. Later and it was fine.
     
  7. John T.

    John T. Weekend Warrior

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    Question here- will the meat be deboned if coming from a CWD area? I would ask the airline about their policy and run some of the scenarios by them for approval. Get the name of the person who gives the answers for shipping, JIC.
     
  8. cantexian

    cantexian Grizzled Veteran

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    The best option is to freeze the meat completely solid. If that is not possible, fill empty plastic gallon milk jugs about 3/4 full and freeze overnight. Makes the best non-drip ice blocks without buying dry freeze ice. As long as it doesn't leak out the cooler, they will never know. Make sure both the ice jugs and meat are frozen solid.

    Or better yet, just make the sure the meat is completely frozen solid before flying. Last year, I flew back on United from my elk hunt in Alberta with 50 lbs of meat in a $20 Walmart cooler. Meat was still frozen. It was in the 40s when I took off from Calgary, 105 at the plane change in Houston, and 98 when I got back to Little Rock. 9 hours of travel time and the meat was still frozen solid.
     
  9. wl704

    wl704 Grizzled Veteran

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    Meat from CWD areas is a state wildlife issue more than the airlines. Airlines do have policies more for African game.
     
  10. dmen

    dmen Die Hard Bowhunter

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    The meat will be froze solid, it will be butchered and wrapped to serving portions. Sounds like I should be all set with a cheap cooler. Going from Kansas to Maine. Thanks for all the advice.
     
  11. opossumhunterNC

    opossumhunterNC Weekend Warrior

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    10 hours at this time of the year flying from Kansas to Maine honestly you could get by with just wrapping it in a sweatshirt or two and sticking it in a regular suitcase. Cargo hold in a commercial airliner is usually 40-50 degrees max while in flight and the outdoor temp in those areas is pretty cool also. For piece of mind, try freezing a 16 oz water bottle and sticking it in your checked luggage before your flight out there. When you arrive pull it out and see how much it melted - (a frozen water bottle will thaw a whole lot faster than bulk meat) if its still frozen when you arrive then your meat would be more than fine for the trip back. If its partially melted then the amount of melting will at least give you a decent idea of how much insulation you need to add for the trip back.
     
  12. wl704

    wl704 Grizzled Veteran

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    So funny story, I'll let you imagine the exchange with TSA this year when I carried on a moose heart on my flight home...
     
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  13. opossumhunterNC

    opossumhunterNC Weekend Warrior

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    At least a moose heart is big enough that nobody would confuse it with a human heart - imagine if you had a whitetail heart.
     
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  14. wl704

    wl704 Grizzled Veteran

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. Scott/IL

    Scott/IL Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I’ve done it a few times before with no issues. I got the meat a good freeze the night before and just put it in cheap coolers from wal mart and then have it as checked baggage. I just pay the overage charges generally and pack them full.

    I’ll get the meat butchered into muscle groups and into ziploc bags if I don’t have time to fully process it. For my moose hunt next year, I am looking into other options than flying the meat home though as that’ll be a whole lots of coolers


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  16. Whitetail

    Whitetail Die Hard Bowhunter

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    We check coolers as luggage many times. My buddy was just here from AK (I been there 5 times). He brought me Caribou, Salmon & Halibut and I sent him home with Walleyes and Whitetail.

    Don't use a cheap Styrofoam cooler. If you saw how they handle luggage you know it won't make it on the plane. Get a hard side ($20) cooler. Pack it tight, even if you use clothes, so stuff does not bounce around. Put a flat newspaper over the top before you close it. Tape it closed. The hardest part is keeping it under the #50 weight limit.

    TSA may cut it open and look but they will tape it back up. Never had in issue. I usually ship my gear home UPS and check only coolers (and Caribou antlers a time or 3).
     
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  17. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    I have a little bit of experience with this, maybe two dozen flights.
    The absolute best most efficient way is soft cooler like Icemule and Calcutta. Load 45 pounds of meat that is in 1 gallon zip lock bags, hopefully frozen but it not a good chill will work for all but the longest travel days. Then check them as luggage. Generally speaking as long as they aren't over weight the cost for extra bags is still cheaper then shipping frozen meat via a third party.
    Most times I place the soft coolers in my duffel with my gear for the flight out.

    You can also buy cheap coolers at your destination and tape them up and check them. Do not use styrofoam as your asking for trouble. Buy the lightest, smallest cooler that you can get close to 50 pounds in.
    Coming from Alaska and other destinations that transportation of meat and fish is common you will be able to find " fish boxes " they are waxed cardboard with foam liners ...they work excellent checked as well.
    Lastly another option that works fantastic is actual fish bags. These are insulated bags designed to hold tuna and other large fish. I have boned out quarters and flown with them in fish bags without issue.
    Unsplit racks get hose peices or pool noodles over the points, then they get padded and wraped with bubble wrap and tight plastic wrap. I then check them.
    Be prepared depending on the game size to be shelling out a significant amount in luggage fees, howver in most cases it's still cheaper and logistically simpler then most shipping options..
     
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