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Questions regarding purchase of antique mounts

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Gibson21, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Gibson21

    Gibson21 New Member

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    Hi, I live in rural Virginia. I am not a taxidermist, but have a love of animals and have always been attracted to old mounts. Several years ago I bought a small pelt of a wolverine, mounted with care on an old green felt pad, like a miniature bear rug. Yesterday I walked through a local "antique store" and saw for sale an old, and I mean old, mounted great horned owl (I think---it was/is 22 inches long from tip of tail to top of head, as sitting on its lightweight "log," and it has ear-tufts. This guy fascinated me, though he has been sitting in a numkber of dusty attics, it appears, from what the shop-owner told me---and he is being sold as part of his deceased previous owner's estate. The previous owner himself was an auction-hound and owned some of everything.
    I want to go back and get him tomorrow morning, for my grandchildren to see and appreciate and talk about, but then I remembered that owls are of course protected species, and wondered how that relates to obviously antique bird mounts, and even to my well-worn wolverine, who must have had a few scraps with other wolverines in his time. Is it ok for me to own a mount that was obviously mounted when such mounting was legal? Actually, I cannot find out when the mounting of owls and wolverines became illegal, assuming the animal died naturally. Even the wood underneath the fake stump is falling apart. Any information appreciated! Thanks, Gibson 21
     
  2. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately it is not legal to buy or sell a native species of owl in the US, no matter how old it is or how long it has been mounted. If they are "grandfathered in" from before the law changed then they can be handed down to a person's heirs or gifted to an educational facility, but no money can change hands under any circumstances.
    The antique store is already in violation of federal law by offering it for sale.
    I would advise you to stay far away from it.
    It might be a completely innocent mistake on the dealer's part, since the law is indeed a pretty stupid one, but it might also be a sting operation.
     

  3. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    not really true.....birds that are pre ban mounts are legal...you would have to prove they are pre ban....owls in the 30's and 40's made up a large majority of a taxidermists income...
     
  4. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Yes it IS true, museum man.
    It is legal to own them, but you can't sell them.

    I am 100% sure about this, but if you can find the law which says otherwise I would be very, VERY happy to be proven wrong.
     
  5. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    wolverines are legal to own and mount still. as for the owl. run, hide and dont look back. nothing but trouble!!!
     
  6. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    I have had a horned owl for 60 years that my uncle accidentally trapped in a mink trap 80 years ago. How or who do I contact to get legal ownership ? One of its eyes fell out years ago and it looks like the guy that mounted it used newspaper to stuff it so I believe it could be proven by opening the body and checking the paper date. Got to be a better way than that to obtain legal possession!
     
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Nancy is absolutely, unequivocally correct. Better check the updated CFR's. Like she said, I'd be very leery of a sting going on as ignorance of the law is no excuse on this one.

    Roland, don't open a door you intend to shut easily. The first thing that will happen when you seek "legal possession" is that it will be confiscated and you will face many questions that you don't have answers to.
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Roland, I agree with George. Put your Uncles owl up on a shelf and enjoy it. The moment you contact someone the chances are great that it will be the last you see of it. With raptors, there is no such thing as legal ownership in the USA. If you want to fix it up, you can order and eye online and do it yourself. No one can even legally work on the bird doing repairs for you. Only accredited schools and educational institutions can posses them. A taxidermist can mount one for a school, library or museum but, once the mount is done it has to go to the facility. Taxidermists can not keep them and neither can falconers. If a falconer has a raptor, even a captive bred one, that is a USA native bird, once it dies, it has to be turned over to the feds to be destroyed or given to aforementioned educational institution.
     
  9. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I was at an estate sale once and there was a deer head in the line-up. A Conservation Officer told the auctioneer he absolutely could not auction off the deer head. When the deer head number came up, the auctioneer held up a glass insulator and said "Whoever buys this insulator, gets a free deer head!" The insulator bought $25, the Conservation Officer just shook his head and left! This is true, and happened less than a year ago!

    Where there's a will, there's a way!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
    dale65 likes this.
  10. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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  11. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    I’m just trying to find out how to get the owl “ grandfathered “ . I do not want to sell it. I am sure I can still get the name of the farmer who mounted it,although he has been dead for 40 + years and l can get my uncles 75 year old son to attest to the fact his dad ,who made a living as a trapper when he was young,gave me the mount. With the law as weird as it is,I am afraid to display it in my home for fear that some “nature lover “ will turn me in. I also would like to legally give it to my son who will retire next year. It looks like the taxidermy industry would get someone to correct this goofy law that seems to completely ignore the fact that people can be punished for something that was legal at the time it was done!
    ,
     
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Then it sounds like you are the guy to make the push, to get that silly rule repealed. It takes a hell of a lot more effort to repeal a law once it is on the books, than it does to get it there. Therefor there isn't likely to be anyone willing to put forth the effort with the most likely outcome of just wasting their time.
     
  13. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    .p
     
  14. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    How does a 87 year old guy get an owl “ grandfathered in” that he has had for 60 + years without opening up the door to having a fed charge you with owning it illegally? No one seems to know how to contact officials without having them immediately charge you with a crime !
     
  15. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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  16. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    How do you go about getting an 0wl ,that I have owned for 60 + years ,declared as a “ pre ban mount ? It was accidentally caught in a mink trap and my uncle had it mounted 80 some years ago and gifted it to me. Everybody says the feds will take my bird and fine me! Sounds like “ your guilty until proved innocent “ !
     
  17. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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  18. rolandzeke

    rolandzeke New Member

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    87 years old,lymphoma survivor and quadruple bypass ,pig valve owner ,retired at $147.50 a month for the for 23 years of working at a major company —— I think I’m a little too late to start a major push,But just think,if every taxidermist in the US pitched in a five bucks they could hire the best lawyer in the country to work on changing the irrational law. Every tavern in Wisconsin had a few mounted owls on the back bar and it’s a shame all are lost. I realize there’s no money in it for taxidermists now because no raptors can be taken legally now,but it’s a shame no one fought this “guilty until proved innocent “ law when first advanced.
     
  19. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I totally understand your dislike for how things such as this are handled but honestly you wouldn't get any support from most taxidermist on this issue. We have more pressing and present issues to deal with and most won't even take the time or make an effort to help and these issues will cost us all monetarily now and in the future. Hell, I tried to get some support, not money, to help change a rule pertaining to transporting deer, about all I got was, I'm with you but I'm not interested in sticking my neck out in any way, shape or form and it cost many of us thousands of dollars to keep their mouth shut. Good luck.
     
    Trapper2016 likes this.
  20. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    roland just turn the mount updide down and write on the bottom in dark pencil " trapped by ------ on --/--/---- in ---- county ----(state) , gifted to ----- on --/--/---- thats all you need any CO that sees it will know its old and they can read the bottom to find out origin........ its you that grandfathered it in when you recieved it 60 years ago in 1968 you had possesion of it already so really no permit is needed and none would be issued anyway.
     
    Wildthings likes this.