His offense? He and a friend did not have their names written on the tags affixed to their trophies and they did not have copies of their hunting contracts - two things, he says, they had not been required to have in the past. He says he and his friend were able to produce faxed copies of the contract, plus letters from the Mexican Department of Fish and Wildlife (PROFEPA) stating that the tags on the deer were in fact issued to them. Both of them were still charged with a violation.
"The officer told us what we did was after-the-fact," Gates says. He says he and his friend eventually got their trophies back, but they had to pay a fine of $500 each.
What's going on here...? We contacted the USF&WS office in Mesa, Arizona for clarification, and spoke with Doug McKenna, resident agent for the USF&WS in Arizona. He explained that the paperwork requirements to import trophies from Mexico are set at an annual meeting by PROFEPA, and they tend to change somewhat from one year to the next. He says that while Mexican outfitters are supposed to know what the requirements are each year, it is ultimately the hunter's responsibility to know and understand what he must present when clearing his trophy.
So, what are those requirements right now? First, you must have a copy of your signed hunting contract with the outfitter or landowner, a tag (or centillo) affixed to the trophy and signed by the hunter, plus a USFWS Form 3-177. The contract is........(continued)