By Michael Bodenchuk, Correspondent(Editor's Note: Two subscriber reports in our July issue mentioned importing trophies from Europe. Subscriber Harold Lee (9134) reported favorably on a successful Romanian roe deer hunt, and he and his friends were able to bring their trophies back with them. However, subscriber, Scott Butterfield (9162) filed a mixed report in which he praised the hunt itself but complained he was still awaiting his trophies from a September 2011 chamois hunt in Slovenia. In the latter, we recommended that hunters explore the possibility of bringing their trophies back with them to avoid long delays or worse. Understanding when and how US hunters may bring home trophies as accompanying baggage is important. We asked Correspondent Michael Bodenchuk to dig deeper and find the real story.)
First, it is probably most critical to understand when NOT
to try bringing back a sport-hunted trophy. It probably goes without saying, but any animal currently on the US Endangered Species List may not be imported without extensive documentation. There are many species which may be legally hunted in their country of origin (i.e. cheetah in Namibia) which cannot be imported to the US. Do not try!
Similarly, any animal covered by the CITES treaty needs extensive documentation. If you pay attention to the World Conservation Force Bulletin which accompanies every issue of The Hunting Report
, you know all too well the trouble even a clerical error (or the interpretation of what might be an error) can be.
Second, if you are returning from a multi-species hunt, shipments of large numbers of animals need special handling. Currently, both US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) consider shipments of more than two animals a commercial shipment and special handling is required. There are a number of firms, including our corporate affiliates Coppersmith, Inc. and Safari Cargo Systems, which specialize in the export and import of sport trophies. If you are hunting any species that requires an import permit, or are dealing with more than two trophies in one shipment, I strongly urge you to utilize an organization that specializes in these services.....