If you add in all the permit and license fees, equipment and gear, fees for an outfitter or guide, tags, processing, etc., not to mention airline fees for transporting a harvested big game animal back to your trophy room, the total bill for a successful hunt can end up being quite high. Despite all the fees already in place, multiple airlines charge an additional fee on antlers as checked baggage.
For example, to check your antlers on a US Airways flight, passengers must pay a $200 fee and the limit is one set of antlers per passenger. Size wise, the antlers must not exceed 120 in/305 cm (H + W + L).
Most airways have been gradually raising fees for a number of years. US Airways doubled the original fee of $100 in February of 2011, affecting reservations made after that date and departures after March 2011, according to Andrew Christi, spokesperson for US Airways.
With no official announcement, hunters on the Bowsite.com forums just caught on at the beginning of April 2012 and are no doubt angry about it. User AR02 asks why this costs more than a regular piece of luggage. Bghunter answers with, “my guess is to either make more money or to screw hunters. Either way I think it stinks.”
Christi also clarified when the fee is applicable. It will NOT be charged if the antlers can fit, and are contained, within a standard piece of luggage.
US Airways charges one of the highest fees of commercial airways with routes in the United States. American Airlines charges $150. Frontier and United charge $100, Southwest Airlines, Delta, Spirit(pdf) presumably accept antlers as baggage, but fee information could not be found. JetBlue does not accept antlers on flights.
Photo: Noël Zia Lee