USFWS denial in 2022 of 2018 Elephant import permit from Namibia (email string)

Sorry you are having to go through this.

Extremely frustrating when a bureaucrat moves the goal post.
@pigsticker in addition to contacting John Jackson, since you are not from a communist state contact you congressman and senator and see if one of them will intervene.
I just wanted to follow up...I abandoned this import permit. It isn't worth it. I play by the rules and the greenie infiltrated USFWS just moves the goal posts. It literally isn't worth my time. Unfortunately, many more will have the same attitude as me when it comes to considering investing their money into Africa for the hunting/preservation of highly contested species. Sad but true.
Don’t give up!

Get an importer that has experience with elephant permits. This is not something you can do yourself. We are all good at certain things but life sometimes requires us to get help from people that are far better at other things than we are.

Don’t give up!
I just wanted to follow up...I abandoned this import permit. It isn't worth it. I play by the rules and the greenie infiltrated USFWS just moves the goal posts. It literally isn't worth my time. Unfortunately, many more will have the same attitude as me when it comes to considering investing their money into Africa for the hunting/preservation of highly contested species. Sad but true.
Get a professional importer involved, DON’T let the bastards win. Good luck If you do decide to reapply.
I hate to hear that you were denied. I also understand your frustration. My father killed an elephant in Bwabwata in 2017. His permit was denied and was one of the ones in the lawsuit. He had given up on getting his tusks in the US. After he passed in 2022, my sister took the initiative to get his tusks over here. Happy to say that the tusks arrived a month ago!
I personally had some difficulty with leopard permit applications for my wife and I. I called the USFWS to get some answers, and surprisingly the ladies that I talked to were very helpful. They had the issues sorted within a couple days. My sister has just recently had some difficulty with her leopard permit. She was issued an import permit that expired before the Namibian export permit was finalized. Then someone changed some important info on the Namibian side which caused the US permit to be void. To shorten this story, everything was resolved by a very helpful lady at USFWS. Everyone else’s experience may be different, but we have had good results from calling the permit office. May be worth a shot to have a phone conversation with this Jacob. I also would not try to do an elephant application myself. It is an enormous amount of supporting paperwork to have to submit. I know for a fact that they have issued permits for elephants hunted in the Caprivi (Bwabwata, Sobbe, Balyerwa).
Call Conservation Force.
Just saw a post the other day about Wyatt Fetner getting Elephant imported. He took over SSI from Robert Q. a few years back.
This is infuriating! As a biologist this yuck monkey probably spent too much time figuring out what pronouns to use in school instead of learning about animal ecology
This is infuriating! As a biologist this yuck monkey probably spent too much time figuring out what pronouns to use in school instead of learning about animal ecology
I met Jason at the USFW booth at SCI convenience this year. We had a good conversation about importing elephants and sustainable conservation. He was very interested in the pictures I showed him of the meat being distributed to the people. I am not sure he understood the scope of that process. To be honest i didn’t either until I saw it myself. I believe he is trying to do his job properly and gather all the information that his employer requires. USFW is a bureaucracy. It is slow and ponderous. That requires people who can work the system. There are trophy importers that are having great success in getting permits for elephants and lions.
If you are familiar with your US senator or representative, it might be beneficial getting them involved. Not surprisingly, it can speed bureaucracy.
One of your US senators, Sen. John Hoeven, is on the Senate Appropriations Committee. According to his official website, included in his Appropriations Committee sub-committee assignments is "Interior, Environment and Related Agencies".

When the Senator or Representative from the committee that controls the budget of an agency starts asking questions, they get answers.

It will cost you nothing to get him involved. If you have donated to his campaign in the past, even better.
Just hire a professional. Its a small portion of what this trip cost.

As stated before, your frustration was obvious and trying to tell a government entity what they're supposed to do is never going to get you results, no matter how right you may be. Giving up now would be silly IMO, but I dont blame you for not wanting to continue to attempt it yourself. Hire someone who can get it done with their expertise and connections, and get your elephant home to enjoy for the rest of your life!
“Apologies, but I have a couple additional questions regarding your application. You indicated that the elephant you harvested was approximately 30 years old. Could you confirm how this age estimate was made? Please confirm if the following is true: the remaining fraction of Molar 5 (M5) does not make up more than 25% of the molar toothrow consisting of Molar 6 (M6”

As I see it, this guy was trying to help you. By asking to confirm how the age estimate was made, he is saying the door is open to revise the estimate. He says please CONFIRM the following is true and then gives what appears to be the criterion for age greater than 40. That was the hint that the correct answer was “let me check on how the estimate was made. It turns out the initial estimate was based on “field experience” and my PH says that M5 was approximately 15%”

As others have said, if you want the tusks, get a professional involved. They will know how the game is played. Let the pro do all the talking.
I feel that this is something that needs to be made aware of for anyone traveling to Namibia, or any other country for that matter, to hunt for a legally sport hunted elephant. This is a major problem, and from my experience and correspondence with the agency, they are trying their hardest to find loopholes to NOT issue permits for legally sport hunted elephants. I applied in 2018 for a permit previous to my hunt and was dismayed that four months later I still had no reply. I continued on with my hunt as planned in September of 2018 and had not heard any information with exception of having to migrate my application to a new electronic system with the USFWS until August 31, 2022. Here is the following transcripts of the exchange between myself and the reviewing biologist. Keep in mind that the requests he asked for were unreasonable as the permit I had filled out and applied for importation did not require any of the additional data he was requesting, but I still did my best to accommodate his requests honestly and to the best of my ability. Some of the information he asks for initially was already sent into them upon harvest of my elephant in 2018, but they did not acknowledge receipt of the information. Keep in mind that the 2018 permit did not ask questions regarding molar tooth wear or have an outfitter operating addendum.

Here is the email string, I will post more of it as replies to this thread as it is somewhat lengthy but is telling to the situation for current and prospective hunters when applying for a permit with the USFWS. USFWS in Blue, My reply in Red.

Hello Mr. W,

I have reviewed your application (950XXX), requesting to import an African elephant sport hunted trophy from Namibia. The Dallas Safari Club and others filed a lawsuit in December 2019 regarding the Service's processing of pending elephant trophy import applications. On August 31, 2021, the Service and Dallas Safari Club, et. al., reached a settlement agreement, whereby, deadlines were established for processing some applications that have been pending for several years and were the subject of this lawsuit. Please provide responses to the below requests in order to complete the processing of your application.

  1. Please provide the following;
  • Country and location (e.g., area, region, GIS coordinates, ranch, conservancy, management area, or hunting block, AND nearest city) where trophy was removed from the wild:
  • Date wildlife was hunted:
  • Approximate age of animal:
  • Name of hunting outfitter, safari company, and/or professional hunter you hunted with:
  • The current location of the trophy (address and country) [the U.S. CITES import permit will identify this country as the country of export/re-export and must match with the CITES export/re-export document]:
  1. Please provide a copy of any applicable foreign government permits, licenses, or tags, that were required to remove this animal from the wild.
  2. Please provide the total fee for your hunt as well as the amount/percentage of this fee which was used for each of the following: To assist anti-poaching efforts, community investment, or other conservation efforts.
  3. Please provide a copy of a Operator Enhancement Questionnaire (Annex I in attached application) completed by the professional hunter or operator.
In accordance with 50 CFR 13.ll(e), if the requested information is not received by this office by 05-September-22, your application will be abandoned and administratively closed. Once a file is closed, you will need to submit a new application, and all required fees, for the Service to consider your proposed activity.

Thank you,

Jacob Mesler


Division of Management Authority

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: IA
Falls Church, Virginia, 22041-3803, USA

Hello Jacob,

I have received your email correspondence and I have been working on gathering all of the information but it has been difficult timing to get the proper information from the outfitters and other entities who are currently in the field or not readily available. Is it possible to get a slight extension without abandoning my permit so I can thoroughly complete and remit all the information you have requested? If that is not possible, you have the deadline set for September 5th 2022 (which is labor day) and I assume all government offices are closed…would the due date then be the 6th? Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.


This is why I am paying Wyatt at SSI to handle for me. The other is conservation group. They are just twice as expensive. I have heard good things about both
I haven’t gone back and read the entire thread but if I remember correctly the elephant in question was taken in 2018 and the USFWS is using regulations that are relevant for 2021, your basic moving the goal post in the middle of the game.
Just received notification that my elephant is at a USDA approved warehouse in New York City waiting final approval from USFW. After final approval it will be shipped to my taxidermist in Texas. Don’t do this by yourself.

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