Gaston, I would have to ask you this question then. This is the exact same thing done slightly different.
Could you shoot a bufflehead, mount it, then sell it for the exact same price that you charge a customer for a mounted bird that they shot instead? You are saying that you are gifting the mount yet you charge a fee to mount it. That's a slippery slope, and I don't think you'll find anyone in law enforcement with the USFWS who would agree with you, and put their name on the memo?
This topic comes up on taxidermy.net, and there are people on both sides of the fence on the subject, believing what they are doing, and how they see it is perfectly fine. The unfortunate thing is, the people who find out the actual law, pay the penalty, and the people who don't are playing roulette.
Would you care to take the time to post this exact scenario on taxidermy.net in both the bird forum as well as the current event forum? I'm certainly not saying that there won't be people taking both sides, because it sure is a silly law, and somewhat vague.
I also understand the gifting thing and paying the exact amount for shipping, and there are people who would argue whether that is legal because money did change hands even if it was simply for the cost of shipping alone. There are many taxidermists who simply don't mess with migratory birds because one mistake can get your pee pee caught in a vice!
Having the customer find someone willing to gift them a bird, and everything is all good. When the taxidermist enters the equation by gifting, it gets tricky!
Have a good day everyone!