By Anne Muller

The precocious five-year-old son of a neighbor overheard me complain to his mother about my boiler. He insisted on taking a look, so I brought him down to the basement. After studying the situation carefully, he folded his arms and declared: “You know what you need, Anne?” “What?” I asked. “You need a new boiler,” he paused, “you need two new boilers!”

He’s wonderful, I thought. He’ll make a great businessman or a politician. In fact, I wonder if he isn’t the government’s consultant for wildlife economy.

A tremendous amount can be learned by reading the pamphlets printed by the game agencies. I would encourage anyone who has the time and stomach for it to go to the closest game agency, walk from office to office and pick up all the materials they make available. They’re usually written to and for consumptive users of wildlife (their customers). If they try to give you the glossies designed for the general public, tell them you’re a hunter and you want the real stuff.

You’ll discover some amazing facts. Through a permitting and licensing system, the government collects not only one fee, but two, three, four and sometimes more on the same individual animal.

On special items like alcohol, tobacco and firearms, there is an excise tax that is paid by the importer or manufacturer at the point of import or sale to a middleman. It is that excise tax on firearms and ammo and bows and arrows that constitutes the P-R (Pittman-Roberson) funding dedicated to “wildlife restoration” (which means creating more hunting opportunity), and to shooting-training (so the use of weapons can continue to bring in more excise tax.)

The sales tax paid by a buyer of those products is over and above the excise tax! Local governments obviously collect more sales tax on an item that has its price beefed up because of an excise tax than they otherwise would. If you ask the average hunter (as I have) if he’s paying an extra tax on hunting products, he will tell you he pays only a regular sales tax. Most “sportsmen” have no idea that they’re “generously contributing to conservation.” (So much for the purported generosity of “sportsmen” who willingly contribute to “conservation efforts.”)

As you read along, you begin to realize that each wild animal provides the government with a lot of income. It carries several price tags. The profits from an animal’s demise, less often its live use, are divided among various government departments; but fish and wildlife departments take the lion’s share. This multiple collection becomes quite clear in a little pamphlet entitled: Taxidermy in New York. If you’re into this stuff, it reads like a thriller. Forget what’s between the lines, what’s on the lines should be enough to indict our government.

As you read it, try not to get distracted by rage over the language, such as referring to taxidermy as “the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals.” Just stick to how our government is making money on top of money quite literally off the backs of wildlife.


The pamphlet Taxidermy in New York is written for anyone contemplating working in this “profession.” It starts by telling you how to obtain a taxidermy license. You, of course, PAY. It’s valid for one year (meaning you PAY again the following year). There are no examination or minimum qualifications. To obtain a license, you got it, just PAY.

As a taxidermist, you can only accept fish and wildlife specimens that were legally obtained (meaning PAID for) from a licensed hunter, trapper or angler. If it’s migratory waterfowl, the hunter has to have a duck stamp as well (PAID for again).

If you want to prepare mounts or skins of “Federally protected” species, such as waterfowl, raptors and most songbirds, you, as the taxidermist, must obtain a Federal taxidermy permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (PAY again).

Any endangered species that is imported or exported for purposes of taxidermy may require a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) permit (PAY the General Fund).

A hypothetical question is asked: “A person brings you a chipmunk found dead in the road,” [I’d never speak to him again] “can you mount this animal?” Of course but even though chipmunks cannot be accepted unless the “taker” has a special license to collect and possess small mammals found dead on the road (PAY again).

Wild turkey must be marked with a NYSDEC tag obtained when the turkey permit is purchased (PAID for) over and above the small game permit (PAID for).

[Don’t get bored – try to stick with this a bit longer…]

Are you importing, exporting, buying or selling trophies or feathers? You’ll need permits (you’ll have to PAY) and if you deal in feathers you’ll need a plumage permit (PAY again).

As a taxidermist, you may accept any fish for the purpose of mounting, provided it is legally taken and possessed (PAID for). Endangered or threatened fish may not be taken or possessed without the appropriate license or special permit!!! (PAY AGAIN).

You, the taxidermist, may accept all native species of reptiles and amphibians that are “game” such as bullfrogs, green frogs, mink frogs, wood frogs, northern and southern leopard frogs, pickerel frogs, and diamondback terrapins, provided that they were legally taken (PAID for). Endangered and threatened reptiles and amphibians may only be possessed pursuant to an Endangered/Threatened Species License (PAID for).

Yes, you can accept animals taken from preserves – people who fish and hunt on preserves are not required to possess a NYSDEC hunting license, but the owner of the preserve needs a special license to operate (PAY BIG TIME) and the animal must be tagged.

Non-game federally protected species such as hawks, owls and most songbirds may be accepted for taxidermy if a person has a valid Federal and NYS license to collect and possess the animal (PAID for). (That license is supposedly only issued for scientific or educational purposes. Would someone like to FOIL these records?)

Question: if an individual finds a dead red-tailed hawk on the road, can he hire a taxidermist? Yes, if he has a NYS and Federal license authorizing him to collect and possess the animal (PAY). Of course, the taxidermist must have both federal and state taxidermy permits. (PAID for again).

Can you, as a taxidermist in NY, where cougars are listed as endangered, mount a cougar? Yes, if it is tagged under Wyoming law (look, we both share Pittman-Roberson Money) and so long as the person has a current NYS Endangered and Threatened Species license to possess the animal (PAID for here) and a NYS import license (PAID for again). [Check to see if you need a Wyoming export license].

Importation of wildlife during closed season also requires an importation license (PAY).

Do you see a problem with our wildlife management system? It seems that anything goes so long as it’s paid for.


Land, water and air are the storehouse. Animals are the inventory. Each animal brings money to the government coffers upon its “legal” (paid for) “taking” or anticipated “taking,” as when a hunter buys a weapon or ammo, permit or duck stamp in anticipation of killing.

These guys are managing OUR WILDLIFE. If you don’t like it, help us to change it!!

Help C.A.S.H. to:

Expose the truth.
Stop the horror
Abolish sport hunting.
Overhaul the current wildlife management system.


Anne Muller is president of C.A.S.H.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561