1Why should I use a taxidermist in Africa as apposed to one in the United States?
The typical African trophy animal is short haired and lives in warm to hot climates. The stress of handling, salting, drying, dipping, shipping, rehydrating for dipping and the typical tanning process to ultimately mount the trophy is lengthy and very harsh on the delicate hides. The time alone can result in damage beyond repair due to parasites and bacteria that are unseen by the naked eye. It is far better to have these delicate hides processed as quickly as possible. By the mere nature of the various import/export laws it is practically impossible to process quickly when shipping to countries outside Africa. The other benefit is that in the unfortunate situation where a hide is ruined in the field or during shipment, there are many more options available to an African Taxidermist to rectify the problem.
2I have heard of hunters losing their trophies and never seeing them again once they leave South Africa. How can I avoid this tragedy?
The only way to ensure proper handling and transport of your sport hunted trophies is to book your hunt with a reputable outfitter, professional hunter (PH) or Safari Company. Lost trophies are only one of many pitfalls of inexperience or unscrupulous outfitters, professional hunters and safari companies. What may seem like a bargain hunt may end up costing you everything the hunt was worth and more
3I am not sure of all the choices involved in mounting my sport hunted trophies, Can you help?
Yes, we have been in the taxidermy business for thirty years and we can make suggestions and provide you with photos via email of some of the more popular mounts. It is important for you to consider how you want to arrange your trophy room and let us know. We can work with you to make it a success. We encourage all of our clients to visit our studio in person whenever they are near Johannesburg. We can arrange to pick you up and return you to your hotel on your way to and from your hunting area. A visit will give you an opportunity to discuss the many options available and a first hand look of the variety of mounts that will make your decision easier.
4I will not be able to visit your studio, how will I be able to communicate my final decisions to you?
The ideal situation is to have your PH or Safari company plan a visit to our studios after your hunt. In this way we can sit and discuss your order in detail. However, in a case where this is not possible we have knowledgeable and cheerful staff standing by to discuss your choices by email. We have found this a simple and effective form of correspondence. We can also communicate by phone or fax in order to help you make the important decisions with regards to preserving your most precious hunting memories from South Africa.
5If I'm hunting in an African country other than SA and I want to use Highveld as my taxidermist?
Simply inform your outfitter, PH or Safari Company of your wish to send the trophies to Highveld for mounting. Arrangements can be made to ship your trophies to us in South Africa. The PH or Safari Company will organise the necessary shipping arrangements and export permits from the country that you visited. They will contact us to arrange the import permits here in South Africa. Once all the permits are issued by the Governments of each country, the shipment will be made. If you contact Highveld well in advance of your hunt we can provide you with shipping tags for each and every piece of your trophy shipment.
6I am a taxidermist and I want to skin my trophies, is that allowed?
Yes of course, most Safari Companies and PH's allow this. Be sure to discuss this with your PH before your hunt.
7How do I ensure that the trophies are skinned and treated properly in the field?
As is the case with lost trophies, only experienced and reputable PH's and Safari Companies employ the most skilled skinners and maintain consistently high standards. Highveld is capable of correcting some serious errors such as wounds and skinning mistakes, but as with any taxidermist, we are limited to the raw materials provided. Proper field treatment is the best foundation for the beautiful finished product you will want to treasure for years to come.
8I took a beautiful Impala trophy but shot the cape to pieces, is there anything Highveld can do to fix that?
Highveld maintains a warehouse of high quality capes consisting of many of the more common and popular species. In many cases we replace a damaged skin. Although this is done on a case by case basis, it may save an otherwise totally lost trophy.
9I have heard that African taxidermists use inferior chemicals and processes, is that true?
While we cannot speak for other African taxidermists, we can proudly say that we use only BASF tanning chemicals in our processes. BASF in Germany is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to chemicals and their tanning technologists have developed all of our tanning and pickle recipes.
10How do trophies get from the field to your studio?
We have two vehicles that are permanently on the road to collect trophies from hunting farms, so all you need to tell your outfitter is that the trophies are to come to us. They will contact us and we will then arrange for the pick up. There is no charge for this service.
11How long will it take you to finish my trophies?
The typical turn around time in our studio is 10 to 12 months depending on our shop loading and the trophies we receive. Full body Elephants, Rhino, Giraffe etc, will require more time. Estimates are provided when we receive the trophies.
12Does this mean that I will receive my trophies in 10 to 12 months?
There will be additional time required beyond our control including the transportation once the trophies leave our studio. The time required will depend on the method you choose. Air freight averages 2 to 3 weeks and ocean freight adds 8 to 10 weeks but at a substantial cost saving over air freight.
13Will my trophies be safe by sea freight?
Yes, the trophies are crated in sealed wooden crates and loaded in sealed ocean transfer "sea train" containers. The entire container is shipped to the destination. This ensures a minimum chance of loss or damage.
14How are the trophies prepared for shipment?
The trophies are carefully packed in specially designed crates to minimize the size and cost to you. After crating we contact our shipping company, Oxi Logistics, who collect the crate from our shop and make all of the necessary arrangements for transport to the United States. You will be notified when the shipment leaves our studios and will be provided with the contact at Oxi Logistics to make arrangements for payment and choice of shipping method.
15How much will it cost to ship my trophies?
The cost will depend on the size and weight of the crate and the destination. We Do all we can to minimize the size of the crate by carefully packing the trophies in the smallest space possible. The cost is calculated on the total weight of the crate or in most cases the total volume of the crate. The volume is typically the determining factor, since the shipping companies charge based on the amount of weight they could have transported in that space. You may see an equivalent weight charged, based on the volume. You can contact Oxi Logistics for shipping costs.
16Once the trophies arrive in the United States, will they be sent to my home address?
The shipment requires clearance by the US Fish and Game Department, US Customs, and the US Department of Agriculture. These inspections are arranged by your import broker and may take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks depending on how busy the port of arrival is and the time of the year. After the inspections are completed and the shipment is released you can make arrangements for home delivery or warehouse pickup as you desire.
17You mentioned an import broker, what is that and how do I get one?
The import broker is a company that specializes in the receiving of shipments from foreign countries. Oxi Logistics will suggest a suitable broker that is closest to your location should you not have a preference. They work with many professional companies that are well versed in clearing and delivering your trophies to your door. We take care of all of the paper work and notify you when the trophies are ready to ship. Oxi Logistics then works closely with you to coordinate the shipment and payment of transport fees. You will be provided with a point of contact at the import broker. Once the shipment arrives at the destination port of entry, the import broker will contact you to make arrangements for payment and coordinating the necessary inspections and final delivery to your door.
18What if my uncle is a taxidermist and to keep peace in the family I have him do the taxidermy work?
When unmounted trophies are sent to the United States they still must go through a process here at Highveld in order to be allowed to ship. The "green" skins and skulls must be treated, often called "dipped" to ensure that there is no transfer of bacteria or other microscopic organisms that would be harmful if transported to another country. Highveld is authorised to perform all of the necessary treatments to safely ship green trophies to any destination. Once they are dipped and shipped they will pass through the same inspections coordinated by the import broker. The import broker will then ship the green trophies to a taxidermist certified to receive green trophies in the United States. There the trophies will be treated again and can be mounted there or sent to the taxidermist of your choice. Please note that the goal of "dipping" is to kill bacteria and pathogens- the skins are still considered raw and will deteriorate if not tanned within a reasonable time.
19How much does it cost to have my trophies done by Highveld Taxidermists?
You are welcome to contact us for a comprehensive quote. Additionally we only require a 50% deposit for taxidermy at the time the trophies arrive in our studio. For orders containing only skulls on shield, tanning or dipping, we require full payment upfront before starting work. The final balance due on taxidermy orders will be requested as the work nears completion, typically one or two months before they ship. That means that you would have nearly a year to make the final payment for taxidermy.
20What form of payment does Highveld accept?
Highveld accepts cash, credit cards (visa or master), money wire transfers and PayPal payments. Unfortunately, we do not accept cheques due to the high costs involved and the substantial time it takes for them to clear.