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USFWS Changes definition of “Hunting trophy”

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Hunting trophy

On June, 11th 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a “final rule” that has major implications for U.S. hunters. The rule affirms revisions made to existing FWS regulations that control international trade in wildlife and plants protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). One of many revisions includes a new definition for the term “hunting trophy,” which characterizes what is and what is not considered a hunting trophy by the United States.

The old definition of hunting trophy limited what a hunter could import into the United States. Only for personal use, a hunting trophy could be imported if it included raw or tanned parts of the hunted animal. The import of hide, horns, teeth and other raw parts were allowed. Not allowed were any worked or manufactured items, jewelry or other utilitarian items made from the animal. So if a hunter wanted to make something out of the hide or hair, such as clothing or a bracelet, the item could not be imported as a hunting trophy.

The new definition is very close to what CITES adopted in 2015, which reflects the definition collectively drafted by Safari Club International Foundation and The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation (FACE). The definition is less restrictive and allows the import of certain manufactured items. Additional language added by the FWS ensures that all parts of the hunting trophy are together in the same shipment, all items are properly identified on permits, and the number of items is no more than can be expected from one animal. With some exceptions, the new definition gives freedom to U.S. hunters, allowing them to import whatever he or she considers the memento of their hunt.

The Final Rule and language of the new definition of “hunting trophy” can be found here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/05/27/2014-11329/revision-of-regulations-implementing-the-convention-on-international-trade-in-endangered-species-of. This rule is effective June 26, 2014.

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