According to the NYS DEC's website, if you hunt & kill certain species (bobcats, martens, etc.) you must get its pelt 'sealed'.

If you Google pelt sealing you'll get a strange list of articles, some of which mention the use of plastic tags applied to the pelt, but none (that I could find) that really explain what pelt sealing actually is.

More importantly, why seal a pelt? Why only for certain species?

I feel like this little tidbit of knowledge is an example of something that is well known by the hardcore hunting community, but hasn't really be made public knowledge to the unwashed masses. Any ideas?

  • Other States have pelt sealing regulations in place also. Requirements for sealing of pelts and collection of biological information for river otter, cougar, lynx, and bobcat (Washington State).
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


From reading the question, I suspect the OP understands "sealing" to be the verb described by the description "apply a nonporous coating to (a surface) to make it impervious.".

When they talk about sealing a pelt they are using it as the action to acquire the noun described by the description "a piece of wax, lead, or other material with an individual design stamped into it, attached to a document to show that it has come from the person who claims to have issued it."

The tag or seal is applied to the pelt to identify it's origin, and show it has been harvested in accordance with the law.


From dec.ny.gov Furbearer Possession Tags & Pelt Seals

Pelt Sealing


There are a few purposes for pelt sealing bobcat, otter, fisher and marten species:

  • To allow the pelt to be exported from New York State, sold, or transferred.
  • To record population and biological information that helps in management decisions. For more information, visit the Harvest Data webpage.
  • To comply with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which aims to protect against over-exploitation of species similar in appearance to some of New York's furbearers.
  • This also may a negative affect on poachers.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 14:45

This is only my current understanding, I’ve never practiced this :

Fur and pelt are controlled due to poaching and traffic, therefore a method to differentiate legally hunted pelt of certain animals (bear, ...) from illegal poaching originating ones.

The process is to present your pelt after the hunt and there a state agent is going to apply a tag (the seal) that certifies that the pelt was legally obtained.

This tag will be required when doing specific actions such as: export, selling, further processing of pelt, etc...

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