The Tennessee Wildlife Resources has prosecuted its first case for a violation of an importation law that prohibits bringing cervid carcasses into Tennessee from states where local wildlife officials have concerns about chronic wasting disease.

A Maury County hunter charged in the case killed a mule deer in Nebraska, transported the carcass to Tennessee, and had the meat processed locally. He then took its head to a taxidermist, according to the TWRA.

The law recently passed last year by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission-governing body of TWRA-prohibits the importation, transportation, or possession in Tennessee of a cervid carcass, or carcass part, from states where chronic wasting disease is known to have occurred.

However, there are exceptions to the law provided specific precautions are taken, according to the TWRA.

Those exceptions are:

  • Meat that has had all bones removed
  • Meat that has no portion of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Antlers attached to cleaned skull plates, or cleaned skulls (where no meat or tissues are attached to the skull.)
  • Cleaned teeth.
  • Finished taxidermy and antler products.
  • Hides and or tanned parts

“This regulation was passed to help protect Tennessee’s deer herd from the possibility of chronic wasting disease, which can be devastating to deer populations,” noted Steve Patrick, the manager of TWRA’s Region II office.

Chronic wasting disease is not known to hurt humans. The Maury County hunter paid a fine for the violation and had his animal confiscated. However, he was given the antlers, skull, and head after they had been cleaned, according to the wildlife agency.

States listed on the chronic wasting disease list-where cervid carcasses must be properly dressed/processed before they can be brought to Tennessee–are: Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, Illinois, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Kansas, New York, Wyoming, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Montana, and South Dakota. Also, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

More information can be found about the law on page 1 of the 2005 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide, available from businesses where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

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