Buying and selling bear skin rugs is legal in the United States; however, the rug must be made from a bear that was killed according to federal and state laws. The seller must prove the process by which the bear was legally killed. If the bear was shot in one state and the pelt is being sold in another, the process by which it arrived in the second state must be proven through documentation.
Preparing To Sell
Establish the history of the rug and proof of the kill. Collect all paperwork to establish the legal taking of the animal. Gather the name and hunting license of the person who took the bear, the pelt tag, the inspection information from the appropriate state wildlife department, and taxidermy records.
Contact the state game department where the rug is located to inquire about the process to sell the rug. Each state has its own regulations about the transport of bear pelts and what other parts of the animal can be sold. For example, some states may not allow claws to be sold, but others will.
Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find out about federal laws prohibiting the sale of bear parts (including hides) across international borders. The Endangered Species Act and the Convention On International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) include provisions to protect all bears, but especially the endangered polar bear and black bears in the South (Florida west to Texas). A CITES permit must be obtained for bear rugs shipped internationally.
Choose A Selling Option
Choose a selling option—through a dealer or as an owner. Locate a CITES licensed dealer to sell the rug, if that is the selling choice. CITES permits can be verified by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (800) 344-WILD. Do not work with anyone not holding a valid permit to sell.
Use the classifieds (online or in print) to place the ad, if selling as an owner. Mention to the reader the legal documentation for the rug and be able to provide copies of all paperwork to the buyer. Consider looking for websites that cater to an audience interested in this type of item. Hunting and taxidermy sites will often have forums that include classified listings.
Sell through an auction site if selling as an owner. Be aware that eBay cannot accept listings for bear rugs or bear parts of any type, as eBay headquarters is located in California and technically everything that is sold through that company is covered under California law. California is the only state where sales of bear parts is completely illegal no matter that the kill was legal under federal standards.