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  1. #1

    Default Alaska meat transportation

    Been looking at doing various DIY hunts in Alaska, Those who have and have been successful, how do you get your big game meat home, and is there an average price per pound to budget for? Coming from the Midwest, driving isn't feasible. Seems when i do some research on this topic, prices are all over the place.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada


    We stressed about this probably more than anything else when we went. We didnít have to deal with a really big animal but we brought back a whole deer in a Rubbermaid tote and some ducks for the taxidermist in an insulated seafood box. Flew Alaskan and just checked them as baggage. Even with one whole day of flying (something like 22 hours) they were still frozen solid when we got back to Montana. This was late November.

    There wasnít room for a bunch of totes on the float plane, so to get back to town we stuffed frozen deer quarters in our dry bags with our gear. Originally we were prepared to ship gear home and just leave the meat in the dry bags, but with just one deer decided to pick up a tote and check one extra bag to get it all home with us.

    It should have cost us about $225 more in baggage fees (deer was overweight on top of three checked bags apiece and we arenít Alaskan Airlines members) but it turns out if you are nice to the airline people when itís a bad travel day, they can do you some favors

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Philipsburg, MT or NC


    Alaska Airlines charges $75 for each extra bag (cooler) and the weight can also be over the 50 pounds but under their max. This is one option , there are others.
    It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    The Driftless Area


    I am fortunate because I have a brother who lives in Alaska. When we are successful we go to Cosco and buy however many coolers we want to bring home full of meat, usually about 200lbs between two of us flying back to Iowa. We freeze it and pack it to the weight limit. My brother takes the rest. If he already has a full freezer he gives it to friends who may not.

    We looked into the Alaska Meat Express and would go this way if we were ever bringing home an entire animal or animals. But after looking at the website, I am not sure if he is still in operation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Chugiak, AK


    Really hard to give you a solid answer as the logistics of getting it from the field to a major city in Alaska are just about as daunting as getting it home from there.

    As mentioned checked baggage is the way to go, IMO. It won't be cheap, but its a hell of a lot cheaper per pound than any other method, sans air cargo with can be a PITA.

    Check to see if Alaska Air Cargo ships to an airport near you. Get all paperwork lined up before you go if you plan to ship cargo, you can drop it off before you fly home, and have someone pick it up on the other end for you. Air Cargo usually runs $1-1.5/lb similar to taking it as baggage.

    I think shipping is the easy part. The hard part is prepping and getting it frozen or in a state that it can make the trip. Alaska Air has a freezer, I would inquire about use. You may be able to use them, or not. Some of the larger hotels also have big freezers you can rent/use.

    Shipping by USPS, UPS or the like will run you a minimum of $2 a pound for 2-3 day shipping, and $4-5 for overnight. I ship fish down south every year in insulated fish boxes, send it priority 2 day or what ever it is from the PO. It gets there in 2-3 days, still frozen... in the summer. In the fall I would think this could be an option as well, easily. If you were to have a butcher cut/wrap it for you. The butcher will charge you a premium to put it in a box though, for what ever reason, I imagine it would cost you about $3/pound plus cut/wrap fees at about $1/lb.

    Getting antlers home isn't any cheaper... Air Cargo is again the way to go. I'm not sure if AK Airlines still flies antlers or not with baggage. Also be aware that most airlines charge you to fly antlers, and will fine you if you don't declare them. So stuffing the odd moose shed or small caribou antler in your bag could end up costing you.
    "No Kuiu here"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Bitterroot Valley


    I had bad luck with AK air cargo. The cargo gets bumped in favor or checked luggage, and who knows where your meat sits while it waits.

    They guarantee that they'll get it delivered within 48 hours. Ours took like 55, and they didn't charge it for us. Our frozen meat showed up back in Montana thawed out though. When I dropped it off they said it'd likely get to MT within 6-8 hours, so I didn't insulate it as good as I probably should've, that was my fault.

    It was also kind of a pain in the ass getting signed up for air cargo in the first place. I had to take a day off work to have a guy drive out to my house and sign me up.

    Checked baggage seems like a lot more of a sure thing to me, and worth the extra price for piece of mind.

    Edit to add: if you fly within Alaska on Alaska airlines they give you a stupid amount of free checked baggage. We flew from Kotzebue to Anchorage with two boned out caribou, all our hunting and camping gear, and it was like 50 bucks.
    Last edited by Randy11; 02-09-2018 at 10:41 AM.

  7. #7


    Thanks everyone

  8. #8


    We've taken the best cuts as checked baggage and donated the rest to the local food bank.

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