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Ever Clear Your Own Trophies?

This is a discussion on Ever Clear Your Own Trophies? within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I would hate to pay someone for something I can do myself. I live relatively close to Chicago, so I ...

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    VanderLaan is offline AH Senior Member
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    Default Ever Clear Your Own Trophies?

    I would hate to pay someone for something I can do myself. I live relatively close to Chicago, so I am curious what clearing my trophies through customs entails. Ever do it? Any problems? Tips? Where can I get more information on the process?

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    saeng101 is offline AH Veteran
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    I do it about 5 times/year, it is an easy process. First off is to make sure that there is an export permit from the area that you took the animals. Customs does an inspect, if they feel like it, mostly for contraband. A Federal Fish and Wildlife form needs to be filled out, it is available at http://www.fws.gov/le/pdffiles/3-177-1.pdf. They will inspect. It is a very easy process and the agents are there to help. I have only had one shipment in the lasst 10 years take more than 5 minutes. That was when Customs was the only ones available and the guy just didn't know. He finally got FW on the phone and I was cleared quickly after that.

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    VanderLaan is offline AH Senior Member
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    Thanks. I just found out that there is a FWS office here in town. I am going to contact them. Hopefully, they will be able to walk me through the process and help me make sure that all of my paperwork is in place.

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    Lots of threads on this subject.
    Saeng101 gave you the scoop though.
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    firehuntfish is offline AH Veteran
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    I hate to throw a "monkey wrench" into this subject.....(No pun intended)...

    I can only speak from my expereince in clearing my trophies back in through Miami, but the USDA as well as the local FWC will not allow the removal of any of the capes/horns/skulls from quarantine that do not display a vetinary stamp from the country of origin. Untanned Dip & Packed parts will not have this stamp..In Miami, these parts will not be released unless a person holding a valid vetinary certificate is present. That would be the taxidermist...The receiving agent I use has built a rapore with the inspection facility in Miami and they are allowed to receive my trophies using a copy of the vetinary certificate provided by my chosen taxidermist via power of attorney... Also, there are special provisions that need to be adhered to concerning the importation of swine, primates, and any CITIES animals...

    Now, I'm not saying it still would not be possible to do your own receiving, but I would advise doing the research and getting familiar with the process in your destination city before just showing up on the inspection day with the documentation you "think" you need. It is different from state to state....For me, it's worth the $200 or so that the receiving agent charges to perform the process for me.. Each individual needs to weigh the pro's and con's for themselves.

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    Imported dip and pack skins MUST de delivered to a federally registered USDA import station, that is a Taxidermy studio or Tannery that has a current liscense on file with the USDA. Has nothing to do with USFW. I have seen one hunter clear skins themselves and years later get a knock on the door from USDA. The hunter collected their skins themselves and cleared them. Took them and had them mounted , ONLY to have the USDA take the thophies off their walls, yes with a warrant and remove them from the clients home and they were never seen again, They were destroyed.
    If you have a salted Buffalo, monkey, babboon or wartnog, your asking for trouble, maybe someone lets it go thru, but it's you in the end that will be in trouble. Sorry to be the bad guy here. These skins MUST be delivered by a bonded agent to these faclities, you cannot drive them there yourself.
    Clearing mounted trophies , completly different scenario.

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    firehuntfish is offline AH Veteran
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    Dennis just confirmed exactly what I have been told...Sounds like it is the same standard all throughout the US and those hunters who have taken receipt of their own trophy parts have just been lucky...I would just hate to see someone experience what Dennis described... There are many receiving agents who can perform this and I'm sure you could shop around to get the best rate. I'm also certain a reputable taxidermist like Dennis would be glad to recommend one...

    For a couple of hundred extra bucks is it worth it not to have to hassle with the inspection process and risk an investment of several thousands of dollars already??

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    In Canada the CFIA inspects the goods right in the airport bonded warehouse and you can not get them out until their stamp of approval is on it.
    Wonder why the USDA would not be right there on top of it to.
    Not a good result you present Dennis.
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    saeng101 is offline AH Veteran
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    I have always had an inspection and not had issues. If the hunter in Dennis's story had cleared them I can't imagine what thee Feds could come say later, unless he wass sneaking something through.

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    firehuntfish is offline AH Veteran
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    I can't say for certain why the US does it the way it does, but I have a pretty good theory. Using my last invoice from the receiving agent as an example, I had 7 seperate fees other than the receiving agent's fee that included application for inspection fees, license costs, inspection fees, and taxes & duties. It's obviously a revenue generator for the state and feds...

    I was also told by my receiving agent that the state officers usually know little to nothing about the law as it pertains to the imporation process and what documentation is relevant . The agent is usually the most knowledgable person in the room and has to explain it to them...

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    I think VanderLaan was speaking mostly about finished trophies here. And it is an easy process. I have cleared my last 3 shipments myself, piece of cake.
    Of course unfinished skins, etc is not the same process at all, as you say it must be done thru the taxidermist.

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    Since unfinished skins will have to be mounted by a taxidermist anyway, I dont see the problem? Just get them cleared by the taxi who will be doing your work (find a good one that is legaly able to do this) and ask if he will eat his brokerage charges in exchange for getting the taxidermy work. Chances are you will at least get a bit of a break on it (he does have some time invested in clearing the shipment).
    The journey is the reward.

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    That plan sounds nice, but unfortunately, there is a lot more to the process than just showing up, presenting a vetinary certificate, and walking out with the trophies. The clearing agent must be licensed, bonded, and insured, and you are paying them to assemble all of the correct paperwork, and be physically present to represent you during the inspections....Most taxidermists will not be able to do all of this even if they were willing.....

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    gillettehunter is online now AH Enthusiast
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    2 years ago I hunted Kyrgyzstan. They cleaned and packaged the skull, horns, and cape up for me to bring back. I filled out the forms and contacted the USFW as to when I would be arriving. Would of been OK except the Kyrg's didn't properly do the cleaning..... Bits of meat on the skull and blood on the cape. Customs re-bagged them in their bags. We were allowed to take them w/ us but required to take them to a taxidermist on their list to be cleaned properly. Cost us an extra $120 or so each.
    I thought a couple of years ago someone else had a discussion on here about clearing their own animals. With the current attitudes of the USFW I'm not sure I would try to do it. Not worth trying to save a couple hundred bucks. Bruce

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