If you have heard that the US Department of Agriculture has banned the importation of big game trophies from Canada, don't cancel your hunt for this fall just yet. E-mail Extra subscribers already know the ban we're talking about is the recent decision by the US Department of Agriculture to ban the import of ruminants from Canada after a cow there was diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as "mad-cow" disease. Ruminants are four-footed, cud-chewing mammals, such as cows, deer, elk, moose, caribou, muskox, bison, wild sheep and mountain goats. Technically, these species would be included in the ban, and scores of hunters are canceling their hunts to Canada for fear that they won't be able to bring their trophies home.
Well, The Hunting Report has been in contact with the folks at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) since we learned about the ban in late May. The word we have received is that the ban on sport-hunted animals applies only to meat, not to capes and skulls with antlers/horns. We have that from Hallie Pickhardt, spokesperson for APHIS. She also confirmed for us the conditions under which these items may be imported. Many hunters will be relieved to know that green capes are acceptable for importation; they do not have to be what's called "flint dried" or tanned, although as a precaution you may want to make sure it's dry and all bits of meat have been trimmed away. Also, skulls attached to horns/antlers must be "fully finished," meaning the skull must be skinned, scraped and boiled to remove all flesh. Again, a precautionary step may be to bring only your skullcap attached to the horns/antlers. And while there is no limit on the number of finished trophies that may be brought over the border, if you're bringing back antlers only (such as pick-ups that are not attached to the skull) then you are restricted to only two sets. According to Pickhardt, more than two sets of loose antlers would be considered as commercial instead of personal use and are thus inad- missible. To prove that the animal........(continued)