Shipping African Trophies

Shipping African trophies is always a major concern for hunters. Many balk at the costs involved and the time it takes for the consignment to arrive. On top of that, the documentation must be absolutely correct for the consignment to be accepted at the port of entry.

Here is what happens to your trophies from when they leave the hunting camp through to packing and customs clearance in the US and UK.

Trophies Leaving The Hunting Camp

  • In southern African countries raw trophies are delivered to a local taxidermist for dipping, treating, crating and documentation in accordance with the importing countries regulations.
  • Alternatively, the trophies may be fully taxidermied in the southern African hunting country.
  • In southern Africa, delivery or collection to/by a local taxidermist may take place quite quickly following the hunt, rather than waiting to take the whole consignment in at the end of the season.
  • Depending on the exact location, in more remote wilderness hunting regions, all the raw trophies will usually be moved out of the skinning shed at the end of the season by road to the nearest big town from which they may be exported. Also a batch of trophies maybe moved out if there is a break between clients and a member of staff is going into town.

African Hunting Trophy Export Documentation

  • In countries where hunting is Government-controlled such as Tanzania, your game scout's documentation of the trophies must sent to the wildlife office and the outfitter then must pay the Government Game Fees. On receipt of this payment the trophies are issued with an ordinary export permit and, if applicable, a CITES export permit.
  • The export permit has a finite date which must not be exceeded - the trophies must be exported within the time span or another permit will need to be issued.
  • The trophies must then be inspected by a Government veterinary officer who will issue a veterinary clearance certificate.
  • In addition, some importing countries will need the African veterinary officer to complete a copy of their own veterinary clearance document.
  • These documents must be then copied to the receiving country's taxidermist or shipping broker.
  • In addition to the above documents, all game trophies dispatched to or via the European Economic Community, Australia and Russia must be accompanied by a declaration stating the nature and standard of their preparation. (EEC Regulation 3626/82)
  • It is extremely important that all export documentation and permits are completed absolutely accurately. If there are any discrepancies at all, the receiving country will refuse entry of the trophy consignment, either ordering it to be re-exported to the country of origin or ordering it's destruction.
  • There are no allowances made with the importation of animal products - it is very strictly implemented and controlled.
  • CITES Appendix I trophies must have a CITES Import and Export Permit. The CITES Import Permit must be obtained by the hunter before the hunt and retained as date valid until the trophy is imported. As the Import Permit is only valid for 6 months, this may mean it has to be renewed several times before the consignment arrives.
  • The CITES Import Permit must be issued before the Appendix I animal is hunted so it is confirmed to all parties that the trophy can definitely be imported. This is often a bone of contention amongst some hunters. Some don't bother getting a pre-hunt CITES import permit or official proviso that a full CITES import permit will be issued (UK), believing it will definitely be issued if they apply after the animal is taken. Most African hunting countries need proof that the Appendix I trophy will be accepted for import before the animal is taken and before issuing the CITES export permit. Importing countries are quite at liberty to suddenly place an embargo on any animal products from any species.
  • The hunting client's CITES Import Permit is not required if the trophy is going to another African country for taxidermy but will be needed when the trophy goes into production and is ready to re-export to the final destination country.
  • CITES Appendix II and III trophies must have a CITES Export Permit only. This does not involve the hunter and will be issued by the relevant wildlife department in Africa.
  • A CDC permit is required for import of raw (not taxidermied) primate trophies into the US.

Trophy Packing

  • Trophy packing is usually out of the control of the hunting client but he is in the position to only employ a taxidermist who is experienced in shipping worldwide and who is up-to-date with the latest international regulations.
  • As from January 2004, wooden packing crates entering the European Union, the United States of America and Mexico, must meet the standards stipulated in the new International requirements as laid out in ISPM 15 'Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade.'
  • International trade laws prohibit the use of second-hand timber for crating.
  • To accommodate this all crates are usually manufactured from Medium Density Fibreboard at an approved facility.
  • Raw baboon and warthog trophies must be packed separately from the rest of the trophies if going to the US.
Trophy Crating
Trophy Crating At Life-Form Taxidermy

Shipping African Trophies

  • Raw trophies must be air-freighted to their final destination. Shipping by sea may be used for finished taxidermied trophies but can take a long time and is only marginally less expensive.
  • The trophy consignment must not be shipped until the receiving country has received all the correct documentation and knows which flight the consignment will be arriving on. The port of entry must have at least 72 hours notice so that the veterinary inspection may take place on arrival.
  • Usually the hunter pays for the shipping when it arrives but in some cases the shipping costs must be transferred to the African country of origin before the trophies depart.

USA Flag US Customs Clearance Of Hunting Trophies

  • All shipments of game trophies entering the United States of America must pass inspection by US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • This must take place at an approved US Fish and Wildlife Office location.
  • The freight charge quoted on your trophy invoice is to your nearest US Fish and Wildlife Office location.
  • This charge does not include customs clearance fees and local charges, which are payable by you.
  • It is recommended that you employ the services of a customs broker to facilitate clearance with US Customs and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Use a customs broker/agent in the location of your nearest USFW port of entry and instruct him to clear the trophies through customs and pay the relevant fees.
  • All fees need to be paid by the hunter prior to on-forwarding from the customs location. Failure to pay fees may result in additional costs, such as storage.
  • Fill out an Import Declaration for Wildlife (Form 3-177) at the time of importation. This is not the same as the normal customs declaration. You or your Customs Agent can obtain the information required for this form (e.g. correct scientific species name) from the documentation, which will accompany the shipment.
  • It is the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the goods (the hunter), to ensure that the Form 3-177 is correctly filled out. However, a customs broker/agent can do this on your behalf.
  • If you have any questions about permits or permit application forms, you should call the Office of Management Authority, US Fish and Wildlife Service, at (703) 358 2104. They can supply you with copies of the Wildlife Import Declaration Forms (Form 3-177).
  • Note, if there is a chance you will need to make an insurance claim, do not sign for the goods as being 'received in good order', until you have inspected them.

UK Flag UK Customs Clearance Of Hunting Trophies

  • All goods of animal origin must be imported through a port or airport with a Border Inspection Post (BIP) which has been approved for this category of products.
  • You, or your appointed agent, must notify the BIP in advance of the arrival of your consignment of animal products. The time limits are 6 working hours for air consignments and 24 working hours for all others.
  • Your notification can be a completed Part A of a Certificate of Veterinary Clearance (CVC) obtainable from the Port Health Authority (PHA) for the BIP concerned. Alternatively you can provide the same information in any format previously agreed with the PHA
  • When your consignment arrives you, or your appointed agent, must present the veterinary documents to the Port Health representative at the BIP. Your consignment will be subject to three types of check...
  • Documentary: A documentary check is carried out on all consignments. The PHA checks that any required health certificate from the country of origin of your consignment and the completed Part A of the CVC are valid, dated, signed and correct.
  • Identity: The PHA will check that the identity of your goods correspond fully with the veterinary documents supplied.
  • Physical: A physical check is carried out on a percentage of consignments according to the type of animal product and the country of origin. This involves the PHA examining the contents of the consignment to ensure it does not pose a threat to public and animal health. It may also involve taking samples for laboratory tests.
  • Your consignment, or any part of it, may be presented to the BIP facility for the checks to be conducted.
  • If all the checks on your consignment are satisfactory, and you have either made or guaranteed payment for the Veterinary Checks Regime (VCR), the PHA will complete Part B of the CVC.
  • A copy of the CVC will be presented to HM Revenue & Customs to allow Customs clearance. A further copy must travel with your goods to the first premises of destination in the UK. This copy must be retained at these premises for a minimum of 12 months.
  • The PHA will inform you, in writing, if your consignment has failed the VCR and explain the reasons why. You will then have the option of either re-exporting the consignment outside the EU or destruction of the consignment.
  • You will also be told of your rights of appeal and the time limits for any appeal.
  • In addition to the charges payable to the PHA for conducting the checks, you may also be charged for the presentation and handling of your consignment at the port or airport. You may also be liable to storage charges if your consignment is detained because of the VCR.
  • You must realise that failure to comply with these rules may delay, or even prevent, the importation of your consignment.

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