Polar bear hunting in the U.S. is no longer allowed. But American hunters who have shot polar bears in Canada and tried to bring their trophies home find themselves stuck in a legal limbo, unable to import their bears, which were listed under the ESA in 2008.
From this story in the Kansas City Star:
Until they were classified as a threatened species in the United States three years ago, a Canadian polar bear was the ultimate trophy for many elite American sport hunters…Today, the rare trophies from those hunts – generally a skin and claws, along with the skull and the penis bone, known as an “oosik” in the Native language – are in a legal limbo that stretches from the Arctic Circle to the Canadian capital in Ottawa to the halls of the U.S. Congress. _The Endangered Species Act prohibits importing animals that are listed as endangered or threatened. As a result, sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada can’t be imported, the government argues, even if they were hunted before the bears were considered threatened.
“…Alaska Natives, too, can shoot a limited number of polar bears under U.S. subsistence hunting laws. About three dozen are shot each year in Alaska, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But sport hunting for polar bears has effectively been off-limits in this country for four decades. It’s disheartening for the hunters whose hides remain in cold storage in Canada, said Mark Beeler, a contractor from Hubertus, Wis., who shot a polar bear in April 2008 after waiting nearly three years for a guide with experience leading a bow hunter. “I’m not sorry I went,” said Beeler, 52. “I’ll never be sorry I went. It was an experience of a lifetime that nobody can take away from me. But it would nice to have the trophy back in the U.S.”_