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Virginia law pertaining to taxidermy, hides, and furs

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Robert B., Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Robert B.

    Robert B. New Member

    My name is Robert and I am new to the forum. I am located in Virginia and I finally decided after many years and outside influences (wife) to open my first taxidermy business. I have done a search for related topics on this forum concerning Virginia laws, but I could not find any except the copy and paste "Virginia Code", which to me can get confusing when it fall backs upon itself and leaves to many questions and concerns unanswered.. It has taken me almost 2 full days talking to the main Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries headquarters and Senior Conservation Officers whom i was directed to by the main headquarters. I hope this information helps and enjoy the read :)

    I called Diane Waller (804-367-0909), she is over the "Permit to Deal in Furs", and Gladys Cason (804) 367-0909, she is over the "Permit to Stuff and Mount Birds, Animals, or Fish, and Part of Them for Sale or Compensation". Here is the web page to find out more on what they do: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/permits/contacts.asp. These kind ladies work at the main headquarters for the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries. Here are the questions I asked them:

    Questions and answers to Glady Cason

    1. Can I do any animal mounts, of any kind, for my own personal use on my property without a taxidermy permit?

    She said "NO". It does not matter who it is for, what it is for, or where it is at, no one is allowed to perform ANY type of taxidermy work without first obtaining a taxidermy permit. So, that pretty much answered all my questions for her.

    Questions and answers to Dianne Waller

    I called her up and left a message and Glady Cason was also nice enough to leave her a note on her desk and send her an email for me. Dianne called me back within a couple of hours.

    1) I wanted to taxidermy some furs from out of state from a company that is licensed to deal in furs ( I used the "Moscow hide and fur" out of Moscow, Idaho as an example), is this legal?

    Dianne had to go to her manager named "ED" and look further into the paperwork. She called me back with the answer within an hour.

    Dianne said that it would be legal to purchase hides and furs from this company as long as I had a "Permit to deal in furs", they were taken legally, and I log them in my log book. She also said I would not be able to sell them; this only applies to personal use only.

    2) Can I do the same with an individual instead of a company? Yes, as long as you get the information for your log book such as name, address, phone, hunting license number. This only pertains to the hides and furs and not the carcasses.

    The rest of the questions I asked had to be answered by a senior conservation police officer that I was forwarded too and the office contacted me back the next day. She was super nice and helpful and she answered my remaining questions.

    1) I wanted to taxidermy some personal mounts for myself and display some in my shop, I was told by Dianne this was legal, but I would like to taxidermy bobcat, squirrel, beaver, skunk, and otter, just to name a few. I would like to buy some of the hides from outside of the state and some inside of the state. Is this legal to do?

    She said it was legal as long as it is for personal use only and not to be put up for sale. I would have to put a sign up in my shop saying "display only, not for sale". I would also have to keep the information in my log book with the required information and make sure it was taken legally.

    2) Just to make sure I understand, I can buy hides and furs of any kind, as long as they are taken legally, from in state and out of state? Yes, as long as it is not to be put up for sale and it is not endangered or protected.

    3) I seen in the Virginia code that the buying and selling of deer hooves and hides was legal, is that correct? Yes, as long as the animal was taken legally.

    4) How about the bones and antlers? They both have to be made into a tool of some sort such as a powder horn, knife handle, etc... The bones and antlers cannot be sold in their natural state as a finished product.

    5) Can I make products out of the deer hides such as handbags, clothing, etc...? Yes, you can make anything you want out of them as long as the animal was taken legally.

    6) I was thinking of offering a discount to hunters for allowing me to do their deer mounts, such as, a certain percentage off for bringing in the entire deer hide minus the mounting section. Is that legal? Yes, as long as the animal was taken legally.

    7) Can I taxidermy road kill? Yes on the dear (have to call local law enforcement for tag, that will be your proof in your logbook), but she will get back with me if I can sell it or not. As far as the other mammals such as fox, squirrels, etc..., she said yes, but she will have to find out the proper way to log them in and will have to find out if I can sell them or not. She said she will call me back.

    I hope this helps some of you out there. I left you all the references just in case you have any further questions that may need to be answered.

    I really enjoyed the beginners section; I am on page 13 out of more than 700 pages. I am glad I stumbled onto this site, full of very knowledgeable and diverse individuals ;D
  2. jhunter13

    jhunter13 Member


    Thank you so much for posting this. I am in Virginia and have called the permit office also and got contradicting answers depending on who I spoke with but finally got the correct answers which match yours once I got in touch with a reputable conservation officer.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Robert B.

    Robert B. New Member

    Thanks Jon. I will post the answer for the road kill logging and sale answers as soon as I hear back from her. Do you have any more information on this subject that I don't have posted? Anything would be helpful. Thanks again.

  4. jhunter13

    jhunter13 Member

    I do know that it is illegal to sell old mounts at yard sales. You are allowed to sell one to recoup costs if a customer doesn't pay you but there is a process. Certified letter, time period to wait and such.
  5. Interesting.. The guy I spoke with said it was illegal to purchase ANY antlers from out of state and have them shipped in. Gotta love multiple interpretations...

    " Shelby,

    If you physically are in the other state where it is legal to purchase and make a lawful purchase, then you are okay to ship them or transport them back to Virginia. You cannot purchase them online or through the mail. There is no difference in shed vs. hunted.

    Best Regards,
    Lieutenant Scott E. Naff
    VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
    3801 John Tyler Memorial Highway
    Charles City, VA 23030
    804-829-6580 (office)
    804-400-3623 (cell)"
  6. Robert, Thank you SO much for posting this. I have done a lot of reading on the internet under the government codes websites, Game and Inland Fisheries websites, etc, and none of this information is provided. As far as the "taxidermy permit" goes....the law basically states that you cannot practice taxidermy for personal PROFIT without the permit....that, to me, sounds like if you do it in the privacy of your own home without intent to sell, then you don't need a permit. (I personally think its a waste of money to spend all that money on the permit and not intend to sell anything...it's a hobby, not a business for me....I see no reason for a permit). But I guess you can't argue with officers. I already pretty much knew that you needed an officer to "tag" roadkill deer if you intend to pick it up to use the meat, but it also made sense that you need proof of "release" for foxes, raccoons, squirrels etc. I always keep in mind that in VA, if it's dead, and you possess it, you need proof of how it died and how you came to possess it, whether it be your hunting license, another's hunting license, or an officer's release of roadkill.

    As far as selling antlers and bones in their natural state, that is ABSURD. You HAVE to manipulate them in order to sell them? But again, you can't argue with officers.

    Again, thank you SO much for this info....VERY helpful for us VA Residents. Marking this for future reference and any more info you may be able to provide to us, especially on mounting roadkill. :)
  7. Robert B.

    Robert B. New Member

    Thanks for the reply, I don't like assuming as you can tell and I have no problem calling someone or talking to them in person. I was told by my grandfather years back that assuming something is right, can and most likely will, get you in trouble.
  8. So basically.....
    You CAN purchase a hide (with proper permits), but you cannot SELL a PURCHASED hide or a mount made from a PURCHASED hide.
    Hides and mounts that you intend to SELL must be from a hunter-customer or roadkill or abandoned at your shop after mounting.
    You CAN PURCHASE and SELL hooves and hide from deer in their natural state, but you cannot PURCHASE or SELL bones and antlers in their natural state.

    Do I have that all correct? I'm in the same boat as you...want to make sure I cross my T's and dot my I's before venturing further. Virginia is so weird :p
  9. Robert B.

    Robert B. New Member

    I hate to admit, but you almost confused me with your reply. I guess laws can do that :eek: :) I do not know if you can sell a hide you just purchased without mounting it, because my question was not based on selling just the hides without mounting them. I was told that if I mount the hides that I have purchased, I cannot sell them. I was also told that the only way i could sell a mount legally was if it was abandoned by the customer and I had to go through the proper procedure before being allowed to sell it only to make back my losses. I am still waiting on a reply regarding if I can sell the road kill mounts or just the hides/furs if it is in too bad of a shape to mount. The way I was told about the bones is if I gave my customers a discount off of the work they want me to do in exchange for the hides, bones, and antlers, that it is legal. If I want to sell those parts for a profit, I have to make them into a tool of some sort. Otherwise, it has to be something that can be used for a task or job. I hope that answers your question.
  10. Absolutely. Thanks a bunch :)
  11. FriscoNC

    FriscoNC New Member

    Things have really changed from my day.
    I was one of the original members of Va Taxidermy Assoc and held one of the first license's in Virginia. So it's nice to keep up with you guys.

    Good Luck
  12. gitrdonerighttaxidermy

    gitrdonerighttaxidermy New Member

    I have been searching for most of this information for awhile, so first of all, thanks to everyone for all of this info, 2ndly like someone said the va laws are so unclear and had me searching from site to site like a chicken with its head cut off, could anyone be kind enough to point me in the right direction as to how to obtain a regular virginia taxidermy license, online? Not the migratory bird license, not ready to test those waters yet :) thanks in advance

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Ohub Campfire mobile app
  13. http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/forms/PERM/PERM-010.pdf

    You have to print it out, fill in the blanks, and mail it in. Unfortunately, I don't think you can pay for it online. Hope this helps!
  14. FriscoNC

    FriscoNC New Member

    Hobby Taxidermy
    Go back and read the License form. It states that you need a License if you are receiving compensation. It does not speak about hobbyist.

    TIM DUNCAN surry county va

    I have been in business for 5 yrs and have had game wardons in my shop and they clarified allot for me. First you must have records for 3 yrs. You can mount animals for a hobby without a permit, the permit allows you to mount animals for a profit the big thing is the animal must be taken legally and you have to have proof of that in your records. the following info: hunters name, address, phone number hunting license and tag number, date of kill, county of kill and the carcass needs to be labeled along with the antlers with same info you should be ok if you follow this. I practiced on animals before i got my permit i didn't want a customers animal to be the first one I've ever done that would reuin your rep right off the bat trust me none of us want to even think about our first mount it was probably a disaster so i don't know how they can say that. The permit expires on the 31st of July every yr you need to renew it its $40 a yr and you also need a small business license in conjunction with the taxidermy permit which you have to renew every yr as well and that is $35 I hope some of this will help you. and if you want to do migratory birds you need a federal taxidermy permit which is seperate from the taxidermy permitt
  16. does anyone know these laws for Colorado. I cannot find much online. especially about the buying and selling of furs and antlers
  17. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    For Virginia or Colorado? In any case CHECK WITH EACH STATE'S DNR, they can direct you to the written codified laws. Also check with US Fish and Wildlife.