Hunting Overseas


In response to a recent D.C. Circuit Court opinion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revised its procedure for assessing applications to import certain hunted species. We have withdrawn our countrywide enhancement findings for a range of species across several countries. In their place, the Service is making findings for trophy imports on an application-by-application basis. Click here for the memo.


Hunting Can Contribute to Biodiversity Conservation

Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation. To support conservation, hunters should choose to hunt only in countries where hunting is well-regulated and there are strong compliance and enforcement measures, sound management practices, and healthy wildlife populations.

Why am I required to have a permit to import or export certain hunted animals?


Permits are required to authorize activities that are otherwise prohibited under U.S. laws. Import and export of hunted animals that are protected under U.S. laws may require issuance of permits. By complying with permit requirements, your personal import will help conserve protected animal species and support the local communities where you hunt, further promoting conservation of these species and their habitats by providing incentives for protection.

How can I export sport-hunted trophies taken in the United States?


Before you make plans to export a sport-hunted trophy taken in the United States, you should contact the foreign country of import, as well as our Office of Law Enforcement, which handles inspections and clearances at U.S. ports of exit. Please be aware that certain requirements may apply regardless of the conservation status of your species of interest.

You must obtain a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to the export of your hunted animal if the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition, if the species is included in Appendix I of CITES, you will need to obtain a CITES import permit from the foreign country of import. Please be aware that if you conduct certain regulated activities, including export of a protected species, without the appropriate permits, you risk seizure of the specimens and a fine.
If you are requesting to export trophies of species listed in Appendix I, II, or III of CITES and/or listed under the ESA, for your own personal use, you should complete application form 3-200-28

How can I import sport-hunted trophies?


Before you make plans to import a sport-hunted trophy, it is important that you and your safari outfitter or guide understand the permitting, port inspection, and clearance requirements of both the United States and the foreign country in which you plan to hunt. Permits are required for the import of certain animal species. These permits provide a means to balance use and conservation of protected species. By complying with permit requirements, your personal import will help conserve protected animal species and support the local communities where you hunt, further promoting conservation of these species and their habitats by providing incentives for protection.

Generally, for import of sport-hunted trophies, you will need permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Management Authority if the species you wish to import is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition, for import of any CITES-listed species, you will need to obtain a CITES export permit from the foreign country where you plan to hunt. Foreign countries may have additional exportation requirements, and so we encourage you and your hunting outfitter to contact them for guidance. Please be aware that if you conduct certain regulated activities without the appropriate permits, you risk seizure of the specimens and a fine.

Unsure about whether a permit is required?


Review our "Do I Need A Permit?" webpage if you are unsure whether the animal species that you are importing, exporting, or re-exporting is listed under CITES and/or the ESA.

For general information on CITES permit requirements, click here.

Some species listed under CITES and/or the ESA have very specific requirements. If you are unsure whether you need to apply for a permit, please contact us.

Our Customer Service Goals for Processing Permit Applications to Import Hunted Wildlife


Each permit application we receive is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To better inform and serve the public and to further fulfill the Service’s conservation priorities under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we are outlining Service goals for processing trophy import permit applications in a timely and transparent manner. We continue to make all permitting decisions in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

This guidance is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. The facts and circumstances of an application or of activities on the ground, other limitations on Service resources, the need to consult with other bureaus or agencies, or legal requirements may require additional time or other variances from these goals. 


Examples of Species to Be Imported

Please click on the images below for more information on how to apply for a permit to import each species.

African Lion Bontebok from South Africa. Credit: Will Sweet / Creative Commons license Argali. Credit: David Blank / Creative Commons
Nambian Southern White Rhinoceros. Southern African Leopard. Photo of markhor (credit: Vladimir Lazarev / Creative Commons) with text "Other Listed Species"