Hunters Criticize Tennessee Bill Allowing Whitetail Farming

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The Tennessean published an article on a state bill that would allow importation and farming of whitetail deer within the state. Vocal critics have come out against the bill and are seeking to have it stopped, arguing that deer farming has the potential to spread chronic wasting disease to native deer.

"This bill creates the opportunity for these diseases to directly threaten the wild deer herd here," said Mike Butler, a wildlife biologist and head of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. "About $500 (million) to $700 million a year comes in to Tennessee's economy from deer hunting. "You're going to put that in jeopardy to benefit a small industry that employs a handful of people."


hunter25's picture

This is one of those hot

This is one of those hot topics that stirs up a lot of controversy. I agree that the safest thing would probably be to leave it alone and not allow these deer farms to get started. No one will lose their jobs or anything like that because they are not yet in the business. Although since there have been cases in elk as well as deer they should probably make changes to the current law as well as the risk is already there.

With that said I do think there is a little over reaction also. Texas is the king of high fences and high deer populations and they have not yet had a recorded case according to the Cwd website. And there are a few places in the east that have come up positive already that are not too far from Tennessee. The next thing is the lost money statement concerning hunting dollars, it's kind of hard to prove that one as Colorado was the first state to get this started and still ranks as number one in license fees collected according to a thread that was posted here recently.

Again I think it's best to be proactive in stopping the spread of the disease but I also think it's inevitable that it will continue to spread from the areas it is currently found.

jaybe's picture

I'm with those who oppose

I'm with those who oppose this bill on this one. As was stated, Tennessee has a very healthy and flourishing whitetail deer herd offering plenty of opportunities for hunters to pursue them during their regular deer seasons. Since the state already has allowed exotics to be brought into the farms and ranches for paid hunting, let the whitetail remain outside the fences.

From a strictly business point of view, I'm sure that the game ranches would like nothing better than to be able to boast that the new state record whitetail was killed on one of their canned hunts. But there is a lot more to hunting than making a business out of it. If we continue in this direction, we will soon be like some of the countries in Europe where all of the animals are owned by the very wealthy, and the only people who are allowed to hunt them are their family, friends and paying customers.

Leave the whitetail in Tennessee as a wild game animal and don't domesticate it along with the exotics that have already been relegated to that status.