1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Taxidermy License for Skull Cleaning?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by carlabrauer, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. carlabrauer

    carlabrauer Quality bone cleaning with dermestid beetles

    I've been doing skull cleaning for a couple years, mostly as a hobby but it's morphed into taking on paying clients when I have time. First time today anyone's ever asked me if I had a taxidermy license. I guess I never considered bone cleaning taxidermy, so it never crossed my mind. Wondering if you guys who do just bone cleaning for a fee consider it taxidermy and have licenses... don't want to get in trouble.
  2. carlabrauer

    carlabrauer Quality bone cleaning with dermestid beetles

    Well I answered my own question after a phone call to the OR Dept of Fish & Wildlife and three transfers up the ladder to their wildlife permitting specialist. Bone cleaning isn't considered taxidermy and no license is needed, at least in Oregon.

  3. joelamping360

    joelamping360 Member

    I'm in washington and fromb what I've found outbis the hide is the hangup, once you deal with that then it brings itbinto the realm of taxidermy and should probably get licenced
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    In Massachusetts, it isn't considered taxidermy so no special license required.
  5. stroh

    stroh Member

    Check you may need a business license if you are taking money. Tax-Id number and all that stuff
  6. For anyone who reads this thread and cares to know, Pennsylvania requires a taxidermy license to clean skulls. There used to be a test, but not anymore. The cost of the license is $100 and requires renewal every year through the Dept of Agriculture. The license is required if you are cleaning a skull which does not belong to you. There are also requirements to keep log books which are inspectable by the PA Game Commission, but I think the purpose is for statistics and tracking of disease. While the license is required to clean the skulls, a tax ID is required once money is exchanged. PA requires that the 'establishment' maintain a sales tax license and if you are "doing business as" anything other than your formal name, you are required to register a fictitional name. Of course, once you register a fictitional name, you are an official business and then are required to maintain a minimal liability insurance. I went through State Farm and got a policy to cover my shop, contents, and liability at $3million for roughly $350/yr.

    Like the original poster, I have been doing this as a hobby for some time. I decided to start charging people for work I did for them and found all of this out. In the end, I'm now covered on all sides in the event a fire should occur, or someone should slip and fall in my driveway. I work out of a shop next to my house and without the insurance, my homeowners would not have covered incidentals resulting from conducting business without the formal business insurance. Is all of this worth it? I think if I had decided to cut corners or negated to get a policy, I'd not be very happy if my house caught fire and the claim didn't cover everything.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That is good to know and obviously, laws are different for each state. I do have to keep records of who, what, where and when. Also need to claim the fees as income and keep records of those. Certain skulls also need to be tagged. A lot of DNR sites are a tangled mess to dig through. Might want to actually get the local officer in your state/area personally and ask for info.
  8. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    A taxidermy license will cover your possession limit on specimens, whether it's skulls or other animals. A hunting license allows you to have only a limited number of certain species. A taxidermy license will cover you if you have a hundred deer skulls, and the possession limit on deer is less than your inventory.
  9. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Of course every state is different. In MO a taxidermy/tanning permit is required to clean skulls.
  10. QBD

    QBD Active Member

    If you receive any compensation, be it trade, expense reimbursement or a fee, a taxidermy license is required in NC. Specimens have to be logged in and out. Your records are subject to be checked by the local game warden at any time.

    We are not allowed to work on any cervid skull from a state or province that has had a documented case of CWD unless all of the soft tissue has been removed before we get it.
  11. Tweeds

    Tweeds New Member

    I am also in PA and have started looking into cleaning skulls, I emailed the DOA and was told as long as you are not mounting or claiming to be a taxidermist you do not need a license. Who did you talk to to get you info from because I want to be sure to get the true info. I will prob end up getting it to be safe but didn't know about the name and insurance you had mentioned. Thanks for the info and I have more looking into to do. Here is the email I got back from the DOA.

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Nov 3, 2014, at 1:26 PM, "Lewis, Quanisa" <[email protected]> wrote:


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Riedel
    Sent: Monday, November 03, 2014 11:52 AM
    To: Lewis, Quanisa
    Subject: Re: License

    Last question I promise, degreasing and whitening would require a license correct? Just want to be sure what I can do and can't without the license. Thanks again, sorry for all the questions- Eric

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Nov 3, 2014, at 10:33 AM, "Lewis, Quanisa" <[email protected]> wrote:

    You don't need a license if that is the only thing your doing.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Riedel
    Sent: Monday, November 03, 2014 10:11 AM
    To: Lewis, Quanisa
    Subject: Re: License

    Yes, I would be using the flesh eating beetles, thank you

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Nov 3, 2014, at 9:50 AM, "Lewis, Quanisa" <[email protected]> wrote:


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Riedel
    Sent: Friday, October 31, 2014 10:58 PM
    To: Lewis, Quanisa
    Subject: License

    Hello, I was wondering if I need a taxidermy license to offer skull cleaning for European mounts. I wouldn't be doing any mounting just cleaning. If I would need one is it just a matter of getting the tax number and filling out the application along with the fees or is there schooling that would have to be done? Thank you for your time. -Eric

    Sent from my iPhone
  12. AudreyElizabeth

    AudreyElizabeth New Member

    I have been researching this for Kentucky, and a license is required here if you are going to take on work for paying customers.
    "Section 2. Licenses Required. (1) Any person, partnership, firm or corporation engaged in the business and accepting remuneration for mounting skins or other inedible
    parts of wildlife shall possess a taxidermist license." As far as I can tell, a hobbyist is fine in Kentucky as long as the species aren't Black Bear, Bobcat, White-tailed Deer, Elk, or Wild Turkey. Those species require a Sale of Mounted Wildlife Registration before selling, even if inherited.

    Of course, laws are tricky and can be interpreted in many different ways. Kentucky appears to be rather picky.
  13. freeze_1

    freeze_1 Booboo, my business manager

    This may or may not answer your question:

    Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Taxidermy Licenses issued to persons residing within this Commonwealth desiring to practice taxidermy shall authorize the holder thereof to:
    (1) Receive from any person any bird, animal, fish or reptile that has been legally killed or acquired, keep the specimen or any part thereof in possession indefinitely and mount the specimen or any part thereof, either themselves or through any employee.
    (2) Mount any bird, animal, fish or reptile – which is lawfully disposed of under authority of Titles 30 & 34 and the state or nation where killed or taken.

    I got this from the following: http://www.portal.state.PA.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/Files/Publications/TAXIDERMY%20USER'S%20GUIDE%20June%204%202012.pdf
  14. chamonix

    chamonix Member

    My understanding is that WY just changed laws and requires Taxi license.
  15. In response to Tweeds post, I got my information from a variable of sources. You are correct that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture will tell you that you don't need a taxidermy license if you are just cleaning skulls and not putting yourself out there as a Taxidermist. After reading your post containing the email thread with the DOA, whoever you were emailing did not know what they were talking about. He seemed to understand you at first but told you specifically that it depended upon whether or not you were putting yourself out as a taxidermist. There is a fine line which is not clearly defined in PA of what is and is not taxidermy work. Someone from the DOA is not who will be showing up to inspect your shop, it will be a local PA Game Commission Officer. If you are offering the service of "mounting" a skull for the public, you are essentially putting yourself out there as a taxidermist. If you are taking payment from customers, you have to pay Sales Tax. In order to collect money and subsequently pay sales tax, you need a tax ID number and Sales Tax License. To get the Sales Tax License, which must be displayed wherever you are doing work for the public, you have to identify who you are "doing business as". If you are doing business as your Formal Name, you dont need to register a business. But if you are doing business as something other than your formal name, you have to register a "fictitious name", which means you have to essentially start a business. Then you have to identify what type of business, be it a sole proprietary or other, you are now a public business that does a service. The state will want you to identify that service for the Sales Tax License based on specific drop down codes. The only thing that fits is "Taxidermy".

    Bottom line, if you are going to do a service for the public you need to pay sales tax. You will need to specify to the state what service you are providing to the public. That service will be taxidermy work, or a subgroup thereof. Thus, you are putting yourself out to the public as a taxidermist and need the license. Since you may as well get all the licensing required and will have people on your property for the purpose of a business run out of your home, your homeowners likely wont honor claims that resulted from anything related to the business. So if your heat source for the bugs or degreaser burns down the house, no insurance will cover the cost. If someone pulls in to drop off a head and runs into your house or falls on the ice and breaks a hip, homeowners wont cover that. In PA you have few options to include an umbrella policy and business policy. Looking deeper into what each covers, the business policy is the best way to go. Insurance agents dont get many claims from taxidermists so the premiums are low and payouts are fairly large.

    I know I rambled a bit here, but it's a circle of logic as to why you want to do this all in or not at all. If a Game Warden gets wind you are providing this service and shows up to check your log books, he will ask to see the Sales Tax License being displayed and ask why you have all these heads if you only had "X" amount of tags to hunt with. As someone else on here stated, the taxidermy license also allows you to hold that inventory. If you need further confirmation, call the DOA back and talk to a few different people, then call the PA Game Commission and ask them.
  16. Tweeds

    Tweeds New Member

    Thank you Headshed, that explication makes a whole lot more sense. I have some leg work and calls to make but that I am willing to do. I was planning on getting a license but I prob won't be starting up for a while yet. Have 1000 beetles on order right now so it will take time to build a couple colonies to handle any amount of work. Will have to GE ahold of the insurance company first to see what I need to get and price it out. Planning on using my barn so want to be sure I am covered with that. Thanks again.

    Sent from my iPhone using Ohub Campfire
  17. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

    Its interesting for me to confirm its not just my State thats hard to get any straight answers for stuff. There are several different departments you can check by State but one I have not seen listed in this post yet is the Department of Business Regulation that is if your state has such a thing. If you do, the DBR can help you figure out what kind of licensing you need for ANY business you are considering. Your State may have laws governing a different part of your business not covered by Fish and Wildlife officals or whatever its called in your State.

    One sticky point .... Your State does not require you to have a taxidermy license for skull cleaning. There is however a fur trading license to buy and sell fur. If you buy a skull with fur still on it or a frozen whole animal for the skeleton, do you need a furtraders license even though you are technically just buying it to use the bones? I guess it would depend on how the law is written and interpreted.
  18. Just got off phone with dnr and in the state of Indiana if you are doing any wildlife work of any kind weather payed or not you need a license looks like ill be applying today
  19. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

    Still amazing how different States are.