Tip :: Procedures to Bring Game Bird Trophies into the U.S.A.

If you plan to bring a game bird skin or raw trophy parts into the USA from Mexico or Guatemala, you must address a few issues in advance. The problem will be getting it into the USA. The holdup will be by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and/or the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The law that gets the USFWS into the act is the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The law the USDA uses is the U. S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Part 94.6.

You must enter the U. S. with your ocellated turkey skin through one of the following "designated" ports: Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Honolulu, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, Dallas, Portland, Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, or Houston. In Guatemala, the ocellated turkey is listed on Appendix III of the CITES treaty which is under the jurisdiction of the USFWS. The USFWS will ask to see an endangered species export/import permit issued by the Guatemalan government. We arrange for the CITES permits for our ocellated hunters in Guatemala.

USDA Requirements for Gould's and Ocellated Turkeys

The USDA requires bird skins and/or raw body parts to be processed by an "Approved Establishment." Taxidermists apply to the USDA for such approval. Commercial taxidermists are permitted by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to handle domestic migratory bird specimens such as ducks and geese but that has nothing to do with USDA provisions. The two agencies issue separate permits. If your taxidermist is not sure whether he is approved for foreign birds by the USDA, that means he is not.

You should do the following things in advance of your hunting trip.

  • Contact your taxidermist long before your trip to learn whether he is USDA-approved.
  • If he is not approved, go to this USDA web site: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_import/downloads/query-app-estab.html. Enter in the blank space on that web page only the 2-letter abbreviation for your state and click SEARCH. That should take you to an approved taxidermist list for the state you asked for. Select a taxidermist from the list that is approved to handle bird skins and arrange for him to do the work.
  • Prepare a mailing label with your approved taxidermist's name, phone number, and shipping address and have it with you when you return to the U.S. border with your turkey skin. Having the label will simplify the process of shipping the specimen if that should be required. You will usually be permitted to import your specimen and carry it to a shipping point or hand-deliver it to your taxidermist.
  • I can supply you with a mailing label for the USDA-approved taxidermist I use and you won't need to do any of the above. The taxidermist has been in the business many years and can ship mounted trophies anywhere in the world. I will have a supply of mailing labels in camp for the Guatemala hunters. My Gould's hunters need to notify me that they want to use my taxidermist so that I can mail them a FEDEX air bill ready to affix to the trophy container.

Before departing the USA for your ocellated turkey hunt, it would be advisable to call the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at your intended port of entry and tell them of your flight number and time of arrival for your return flight. Tell the agent that you have a USDA-approved taxidermist in the USA and ask what else you need to do to get your specimen in. You will carry your ocellated specimen as carry-on luggage. When you arrive at the port of entry in the USA, do the following:

  • Declare the bird on the customs form that you will be given on the airplane.
  • Go through the American citizens line at Customs. Tell Customs that you have a game trophy specimen. They should send you to an agent of the USFWS, USDA, or Homeland Security agent.
  • Give the papers to that agent and show the specimen.
  • If they follow the rules, the USDA will either help you pack the specimen for shipment to your taxidermist or let you take it with you to deliver to your USDA-approved taxidermist. . Use the shipping label you brought with you (or the one I will give you).

USDA packing turkey skins for shipment from the border to an approved taxidermy establishment.
USDA packing turkey skins for shipment from the border
to an approved taxidermy establishment.

Fish & Wildlife Service Requirements for Gould's and Ocellated Turkeys

You will be required by the USFWS to fill out their Form 3-177 at the port of entry whether you cross the border by land, sea, or air. You can visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site and obtain form 3-177 and instructions and fill it out in advance at this link: http://www.fws.gov/le/pdffiles/3-177-1.pdf. You will find other pertinent information about importation of trophies on the USFWS web site at http://www.fws.gov/permits/. If you have difficulty with Form 3-177, print out a copy and bring it with you on the hunt. We will have instructions in camp and can assist you. I will have a supply USFWS forms 3-177 and we will fill them out before you leave camp.

It is advisable to avoid arriving at the port of entry with your trophy on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday. Even at large ports, the Fish and Wildlife Service may threaten to charge an "overtime" fee.

Tip :: Procedures to Bring Game Bird Trophies into the U.S.A.

.:| Yelpers and Accessories | Recordings | Books | Other Products |
Hunting Camps
| Tips, Trips and News | Order Form |:.
View Lovett's Home Page!

.:| Hunters...spread the word! Send this page to a friend. |:.
>> Click here <<
Visit www.lovettwilliams.com to view all Lovett's products online.

004 - 20081123 - 20091115