Non-Protected species hunting trophies shipped with household goods are exempt from additional paperwork.

We recently received an inquiry regarding what paperwork and permits were required for hunting trophies.  We want to share the story for others who may have a similar question.  Below is the email and the answers from the USDA and US F&W.

‘I am an American who is currently working on assignment in Europe (Slovakia).  While living in Slovakia I have done some hunting and now have several hunting trophies (mounts).  My work assignment is ending soon and I will be moving my entire household back to the United States within the next couple of months. I am trying to understand if there are any permits required to bring the hunting trophies back to the United States. I plan on including them in my shipment with the rest of my families household items.  The specific trophies I have are:

* (1) Red deer stag shoulder mount with cape. – American style mount
* (1) Red deer stag mounted with just skull – European style mount
* (1) Fallow Deer. – American style mount
* (1) Roe Deer – American style


All of the trophies were done by a professional taxidermist and are of a high quality. Any guidance on the process or required permits would be appreciated. Thank you.’

Before we dive into the response, first we want to share what are hunting trophies, and why the USDA and US Fish and Wildlife Departments are concerned.

What are Hunting Trophies? 

A little background on the definition of a hunting trophy: A hunting trophy is made up of the body of a game animal that is killed during a hunt and kept by the hhunting trophies deerunter as a souvenir. Usually, the heads are processed by a taxidermist while the other parts i.e. teeth and horns are used as the trophies.

Why is “USDA” Concerned?

The USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, aims to keep the United States protected from animal and plant pests and diseases. This is why USDA has imposed certain limits on products coming into the United States from foreign countries. Because these items do not belong to the North American biodiversity, some plants, foods, and animals can carry pests and diseases with them into the United States and may severely damage crops, pets, and the U.S environment.

Why is “US F&W” Concerned?

The US F&W is the United States Fish and Wildlife agency. This organization works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Its primary concern in regards to hunting trophies are those coming into the US that are made from a protected animal species.

Importing Hunting Trophies into the US Without Additional Paperwork

Importing hunting trophies into the US requires additional paper work and import permits if the trophies are made out of protected animal species. However, if the hunting trophies are made out of non-protected wildlife, no additional paper work is required.

The response from the USDA in regards to the email inquiry we received above was:

‘Fully taxidermy finished trophies of hunter-harvested game (i.e., remembrances or souvenirs of the hunt for personal use only) may be imported into the United States without a USDA veterinary import permit.  However, they are subject to inspection by port inspectors to verify their condition. If they are found to be not fully taxidermy finished and/or are contaminated with blood or manure, they may be refused entry and would be required to be transported to a USDA approved taxidermy establishment for proper treatment. No special forms are needed from USDA but you will need to declare these items upon your arrival to the U.S. to the Port Officers.

What are non-protected species?

In relation to the scenario above, the  response from the US F&W states that ‘the red deer, Cervus elaphus, fallow deer, Dama dama, and the roe deer, Capreolus capreolus are not protected species.  See the following links for more information about importing game trophies for personal use as part of shipment of household goods at any US Customs and Border Protection port without filing US F&W Service declaration. However, please ensure that you declare these game trophies on the CBP Declaration Form upon your arrival into the United States.: (paragraph (b)) (paragraph (b)(2))

Domestic Animals 

Below is a list of what US F&W considers to be “domesticated animals” and anything made from an animal on this list is not required to be declared to US F&W.

Mammals:hunting trophies domesticated animals

  • Alpaca –Lama alpaca;
  • Camel –Camelus dromedarius;
  • Camel (Boghdi) –Camelus bactrianus;
  • Cat (domestic) –Felis domesticus;
  • Cattle –Bos taurus; Dog (domestic) – Canis familiaris;
  • European rabbit –Ortyctolagus cuniculus;
  • Ferret (domestic) –Mustela putorius;
  • Goat –Capra hircus;
  • Horse –Equus caballus;
  • Llama –Lama glama;
  • Pig –Sus scrofa;
  • Sheep –Ovis aries;
  • Water buffalo –Bubalus bubalus;
  • White lab mice –Mus musculus;
  • White lab rate –Rattus norvegicus.


  • Chicken –Gallus domesticus;
  • Ducks & geese – domesticated varieties;
  • Guinea fowl –Numida meleagris;
  • Peafowl –Pavo cristatus;
  • Pigeons (domesticated) –Columba livia domestrica;
  • Turkey –Meleagris gallopavo;
  • Domesticated or Barnyard Mallards include: Pekin; Aylesbury; Bouen; Cayuga; Gray Call; White Call; East Indian; Crested; Swedish; Buff Orpington; Indian Runner; Campbell; Duclair; Merchtem; Termonde; Magpie; Chinese; Khaki Campbell.


  • Crickets, mealworms, honeybees (not to include African varieties), and similar insects that are routinely farm raised.

Other Invertebrates:

  • Earthworms and similar invertebrates that are routinely farm raised.

Keep in mind that while hunting trophies may be exempt from additional paperwork, firearms and ammunition require additional clearance.   As always, Gallagher is happy to answer any questions. Call 303-365-1000 or email us.