Bringing Birds Back from Mexico—What You Need to Know

posted on October 3, 2014
zent2015_fs.jpg (14)

In response to earlier articles here about an NRA Outdoors quail hunt I joined in Mexico, I was asked: Did we eat the birds we shot? Did we bring birds back here to the United States? The answer to the first question is that we did indeed eat some of the quail killed by our party. Thanks to the owner of a restaurant near our hotel, we ate nearly four dozen birds, and just like our U.S. bobs, it was all white meat and wonderfully tasty. The rest went to our guides and workers on the ranch where we hunted. No birds went to waste.

We did not try to bring any back into the United States, but I have declared quail and wild turkey upon returning from other trips to Mexico. The required paper trail makes it a fairly involved process, but not hopelessly complicated if you follow each of the required steps. Here’s a summary of the various steps, but please don’t consider this as a comprehensive guide—you will need to do your homework.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires returning hunters to possess a “Permit to Import or Transport Controlled Material or Organisms or Vectors.”

Step 1—One must obtain e-authorization by going to and establishing a Level 2 customer account. VS Form 16-3 is the application for the needed permit.

Step 2—The USFWS requires hunters bringing back game meat or trophies to present a Declaration for importation of Fish and Wildlife (Form 3-177)

Migratory birds must come in with one fully feathered wing attached to the carcass to facilitate species identification. The number of birds one can import may not exceed what a hunter can legally export (varies by species) and only those “belonging” to the importing hunter.

Step 3—Upon re-entering the country, hunters must clear U.S. Customs, and along with the aforementioned documents you will need a copy of the contract with your outfitter, as well as whatever hunting licenses and/or permits were required where you hunted.

My advice is to begin the process well in advance of your trip. The downloading and form filing are pretty routine in today's world, but if you need to follow-up with the involved agency (telephone helplines are listed on their websites) that may required some persistence.  Also, be aware that a similar process governs bringing gamebirds in from Canada.



NRA Files Lawsuit Challenging ATF’s “Engaged in the Business” Rule

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) has filed a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) “Engaged in the Business” Final Rule. The ATF’s Final Rule unlawfully redefines when a person is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms and therefore required to be federally licensed.

Federal Ammunition Awarded USSOCOM for Mk316

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has awarded Federal Ammunition a one-year, $3.6M contract to supply SOCOM with 7.62x51mm rifle ammunition.

Late(r) in Life Hunting

You’re never too old to learn something new.

Recipe: Hunter Slow-Cooker Jambalaya

Creating a flavorful meal from proteins harvested throughout the year is special. A jambalaya made from big game, birds, home-processed sausage and some fish is the perfect combination for any meal.

#SundayGunday: Hammerli Force B1

This week, were checking out the Hammerli Arms Force B1, a hunting rimfire with a target-grade pedigree.

Colorado Cat-Hunting Ban Could be on Ballot in November

A recent report from the NRA Hunters Leadership Forum sheds light on a potential cat problem in Colorado; that is, it’s a problem if you’re a hunter who enjoys and wishes to continue chasing mountain lions and bobcats, or you simply agree that wildlife management should continue to be based on science.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.