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Completed First Duck Mount- But Is It Legal?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by LostNewbie, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    I have just completed my first ever taxidermy mount, which was a mallard duck. I can post pictures of it tomorrow, as the lighting sucks right now and it’s still covered in tape. The face was slashed up from its own broken skull, so it looks a bit funny on one side. It is not perfect, and it is not yet preened. But about the legality... this duck was roadkill. I found it with 2 broken wings, a completely smashed skull, and a bald spot from road rash. It was not hit during hunting season, and my car didn’t hit it, I just found it and salvaged it. I was not aware that mallards were protected under the migratory bird act, and I only found out after I competed the mount. I do not plan to sell the mount or profit off of it in any way. Is there any way I could make it legal? I think an educator’s or scientific collector’s permit would make possession of this mallard legal. I can’t obtain either of these yet, as they both require that the permit holder be 18, and I’m 17. I have a valid reason to get an educator’s permit, because I plan to educate younger children on our native wildlife for my gold award, so the duck would make sense in that context. But does anyone have any advice on what to do? I can post pictures of the mount tomorrow, and I can detail the methods I used if anyone is interested.
     
  2. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I don't think you have anything to worry about. There are a couple of ways to calm your fears. Buy a simple hunting license, a state, and federal duck stamp. This will allow you to possess migratory waterfowl. The other way is to apply for a migratory waterfowl permit through USFWS. The cost is $100 for a 5 year permit. You will need one of these if you plan to continue mounting migratory waterfowl.
     
    Dannynewman and LostNewbie like this.

  3. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    You need no permit or licence at all to mount waterfowl if you are not selling or charging others to mount. Joey is incorrect in his post. The bird does have to be legally acquired however. In your case, a simple call to your DNR office with how you found the bird, would have cleared you of any legal issues. Unlike the post above, you need no hunting licence to mount ducks, and buying a licence after the fact, when the duck is already mounted is bad advice
     
    Dannynewman likes this.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    You can not mount any migratory bird for anyone without a license... check your laws. You can however mount your own only. You can’t sell it or try saying their only paying for the base. It’s been tried and it failed.
    Your fine but when you turn 18 get yourself licensed and you’ll never worry again.
    If your ever unsure always call your commission up. They’ll advise you better but call the main office not local. Good luck and enjoy
     
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  5. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    Thank you! The laws are very confusing, and many say contradictory things, but I will get myself licensed for a USFWS waterfowl permit as soon as possible. If I qualify for the educator’s permit, I’ll do that as well. I plan to legally get into hunting and taxidermy, and I know this isn’t the last bird I’ll mount!
     
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  6. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    Thank you so much. I do plan to get further into taxidermy so the USFWS permit was most likely inevitable, and to think I didn’t even know it existed! I’m going to get a hunting license as well along with the duck stamps just to cover as many bases as possible in making this bird legal. I loved mounting it, and it certainly will not be the last one I do.
     
  7. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    As others have said depending on your state laws you may or may not need a State license. Here in TX no license is required to perform any type of taxidermy. I do not need a license or USFWS Migratory Permit to mount my own legally acquired birds, i.e. ducks, geese, dove etc. But if I have other people birds in my possession for profit or not than I am required to obtain the USFWS Migratory Permit.

    We would love to see pictures of the start of your taxidermy career!! My first ones were ridiculously bad!!
     
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  8. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Just trying to calm the kids nerves...there’s no shortage of things to worry about. There are mounted ducks in thousands of homes and businesses that are in the possession of people without licenses or permits.
     
  9. 15pt

    15pt Active Member

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    Joeym is right about the. Possession will require the liscence and duck stamps. In Alabama I cannot even give someone a deer to eat if they don't have a hunting liscence.
     
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  10. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    I’ll definitely post pictures of the duck, but the wings still are covered in tape and aren’t fully preened yet. One side of the head is where the duck slid when it was hit, so it has some tears and feather loss. It also has a bald spot on the wing which was there when I collected it. The skull was shattered and so there was a few holes in the face skin so it looks a tad patchy, but not too bad. It had two broken wings, a broken neck, and crush damage to the rib cage but thankfully the legs and body were mostly intact. It looks alright, considering the massive amounts of trauma that the specimen suffered and the amount of repair I had to do. Unfortunately I just didn’t have access to the best specimen, but I made the most of what I got. Since I don’t have a shop or any professional materials, I think it turned out decent. It definitely isn’t professional work, but I don’t think it looks too horrendous, especially when compared to some of the images I found when I looked for people’s first mounts ever. It’s mounted as if it had just taken off from the water, with the head up in an S curve, body diagonal, and the wings in front of it. It looks great from a distance, but closeup you begin to see flaws.
     
    bucksnort10 likes this.
  11. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

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    All good points made about the licensing/laws. Good luck on your venture. Dan
     
  12. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    One thing that stands out to me is this statement above. All preening should be done before you put the tape on. If you plan to let it dry and then pull the tape and then preen......it ain't going to happen
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  13. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    Oh boy. Thank god you commented this before the skin fully locked up, I can still modify feather placement a little. The feathers are all in place, but they are tattered looking because I haven’t locked the barbs up yet. I’ll take the tape off temporarily right now to fix that. Is there an easy way to preen, or is it all gently stroking the feathers so the barbs lock together? I heard I can steam the feathers so the barbs interlock if they wont. Is this true? If so, could I use the steam from a humidifier?
    Edit- the steam is MAGIC. All the feathers that wouldn’t interlock before are interlocking now!
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
    Wildthings likes this.