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Flying in and out for an exotic hunt #8101656 12/24/20 04:49 AM
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Boondoggle Offline OP
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Lost the long term lease I was on this past year and finding one Middle TN has been challenging. It got me thinking about an exotic management/meat hunt in TX. Most of the ranches I've looked at are 12 hours or better from Nashville. I'm not that excited about a drive like that even broken up into a couple of days.

I've thought about the logistics of flying back with meat but would like to hear some specifics from folks that have done it without having to ship meat via FedEx/UPS. I've got a bunch of Southwest points and in addition to two bags with 50 lbs each, I can get another 100 bag for $75.

Any information and advice is most appreciated.

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8101988 12/24/20 04:03 PM
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PM sent
DC

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8101995 12/24/20 04:10 PM
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Your 8 hours from here and their are lots of ranch’s in NE Texas but if you don’t want to drive then your going to be flying anyway I guess,

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8102125 12/24/20 05:50 PM
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syncerus Online Content
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So ... for five of the last seven years, I've flown out of DFW to long range fish the Baja coast via San Diego. I bring this up because my situation is in some ways parallel to yours. The good tuna boats on the Gulf coast are in Venice, Galveston and Port Aransas. The closest of the three to DFW is Galveston, and that's an honest 5 1/2 hour drive from my house. Even then, I have to be very careful when I arrive in Houston because of the crazy traffic. Arrive at the wrong time, and the trip is 6 1/2 - 7 hours. The travel time isn't the only complication though. The boats typically leave at 7:00 AM, and they board an hour early. To arrive at 6:00 AM, I'd have to leave my house at midnight. I've done that before, but the really tough part is the drive home. In the Gulf, tuna are caught at night, and the boats bottom fish during the day. On a multi day trip, there's never really an opportunity to catch up on sleep, so the drive home can be grueling. To be honest, the only safe thing to do is to rent a motel room and catch some sleep before the drive home. Another complexity is fish processing. Fish can only be cut up ashore and most of the guys doing the cutting aren't very good at it; slow, expensive and mediocre is the best description. On the other hand, I don't really want to dispose of 20 blackfin tuna carcasses in my trash at home; it's not exactly neighbor friendly.

For about $300, I can fly to San Diego and essentially pick up two days. There's professional fish processing for reasonable $, and, best of all, SWA air freight from SD to Love Field is only about $1.25-1.50/lb, so it's easy to bring back my fish.

All of this is a round about way of saying that your idea is definitely worth pursuing. As always, the devil is in the details, but I'd do some digging before I gave up.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by syncerus; 12/24/20 05:56 PM. Reason: image

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Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8102150 12/24/20 06:14 PM
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Steve from GA Offline
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I am in a similar boat - planning to do my first exotic hunt in June, and I live in GA. I will plan on breaking up the drive into 2 days each way, and after being limited in travel during all of this pandemic business, I'm actually looking forward to the open road. I considered flying, but after factoring in car rental to/from the airport, cooler purchase and coordinating flying meat back, I personally decided to I would just drive and bring a couple of coolers with me. I do know that people fly all of the time on southwest with coolers of meat, so it can definitely be done.

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Steve from GA] #8102169 12/24/20 06:40 PM
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Allow the time and drive it! See the country, the best way is simply to debone your meat at the ranch, pack it and go, that's been working for our clients without issue.
DC

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8103487 12/26/20 01:31 AM
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What I did a few years ago is quarter the deer and pack in a large ice chest. I had made arrangements to stay another night and leave in the morning. I hit the road after breakfast, I left the lid closed and brought the cooler into my room that night, the next morning I drained the excess water and refreshed the ice. It worked flawlessly even though it was quite warm. I wouldn't be afraid to do this on a three day trip. An alternative is overnight processing which you can get in some areas I know Woodbury's in Kerrville does it.


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Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8103698 12/26/20 01:57 PM
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Nice haul

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8103740 12/26/20 02:35 PM
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If you ship ground you can use dry ice. Freeze the meat first conventionally. With a decent cooler and dry ice it will stay frozen for up to a week. Look at Omaha steaks, they are shipping tens of thousands of coolers a day and have a 99% satisfaction rate as far as the contents being good upon arrival.

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8104086 12/26/20 10:18 PM
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syncerus, who do you fish with in San Diego? How much fish are you bringing back? A long range trip is definitely on my bucket list.

Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: bjones2571] #8104140 12/26/20 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bjones2571
syncerus, who do you fish with in San Diego? How much fish are you bringing back? A long range trip is definitely on my bucket list.

I've booked all of my long range trips on the Polaris Supreme. They're a very good boat and I absolutely recommend them, but there are a number of other good boats as well. I normally bring back about 150 lbs of fillets, but much depends on how many fish you choose to keep; it's possible on some trips to bring back twice that.


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Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8105626 12/28/20 04:22 PM
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I just got done shipping a cooler full of Axis meat up to Virginia for a client that flew in for a hunt and some other business in DFW. Froze all the meat, packed it as tight as possible in a cooler, duct taped the mess out of it and sent it via UPS overnight to him. It was about $300 to ship it.

edit: sorry, I didnt read the OP close enough, he wanted feedback on flying with it.

Last edited by Black02z28; 12/28/20 04:23 PM.

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Re: Flying in and out for an exotic hunt [Re: Boondoggle] #8114990 01/04/21 08:18 PM
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My good friend flies a couple of times a year from Cabo San Lucas to Austin and always brings back fish, frozen and vacuum packed, in his own YETI cooler. I have several of those packages in my freezer and the fish (usually Mahi) is always good. I'm assuming you can do the same with your meat from the processor, but here are some thoughts:

1, Not all Texas processors are created equal. Once you figure out where/when you're going to hunt, make sure you call them and coordinate for expedited processing. Depending on the time of the year and what you want done to the meat, it could take some time for them to turn it around, even for simple processing. This is especially true in the slower seasons when they're not running the same personnel they run throughout deer season. Some are wheeling to ship for an extra fee, others just aren't set up for it.
2. Depending on the length of your flight back and when you're planning your trip, it might be worth to just buy a regular (i.e, not a premium) cooler here in Texas and then have your meat packed in it for the flight back. First of all, they're lighter than the premium coolers, and that way you don't have to fly with a cooler each way. If you're planning to hunt in the summer, I'd be tempted to use a premium cooler.
3. Prior to COVID, I was flying that Austin-Nashville flight on SWA regularly. Should be easy to get your meat back safely, LOTS of great hunting opportunities in the Hill Country relatively close to Austin.

Cheers and good luck!!!


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