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Joined: 10/15/2006
Posts: 127
elk / no elk

Michael Butler, TWF
16 Pointer
Member # 358

posted 02-09-2007 09:04 AM
Friends at,

Just want to bring everyone up to speed as to the elk project and the probabilities that we will in fact bring the elk to Tennessee.

First, the USDA regulations governing the import of elk were designed and are meant for addressing the captive elk industry.

The EINP herd falls somewhere between the definition of a captive herd and a wild herd - and this is effectively the hurdle we are having to overcome.

While the herd is "wild" from its origins, its use and its management - it is surrounded by a fence.

Thus, for the beauracracy that is the USDA, this round peg issue does not fit into their square hole solution.

Here is what is known:

-all the elk are in a corral in EINP and all have been tested for bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, and a myriad of other tests - including deworming etc. All test results have come back negative. Thus, despite the bureacratic issues, these elk are quite healthy and very clean and free of disease.

-The elk have been affixed with radio collars.

-over 2,700 elk have been moved from Elk Island via various restoration projects since 1988 with zero incident of disease

We will keep you updated as to any new developments.

As of the writing of this e-mail, we have received no responses from the USDA. We do however expect to receive one today or maybe on Monday.

Thanks for your interest.


Michael Butler
Tennessee Wildlife Federation
300 Orlando Avenue, Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37209
Join TWF at or call


Mr. Butler's post was made on 2-9-07.

The USDA denied the importation request before noon on 2-8-07 so TWRA and TWF knew the day before Mr. Butler made this post that the elk were not coming and yet he was still leading you.

The USDA regulations do address captive elk. Even free roaming elk fall under the USDA regulations as soon as they are captured and for as long as they are held captive they are require to meet the regulations.

The EINP is a captive herd.

TWRA, TWRC and TWF all knew that a round peg does not fit into a square hole before they wasted over $100,000.00 as I made all three groups aware, last fall, of the fact that these elk did not meet the USDA protocol for importation into the U.S. nor did they meet TN's regulations for importation into TN.

These elk did meet some of the USDA protocol BUT they could not meet ALL of the protocol.

They should not have wasted money on the radio collars knowing that these elk did not qualify for importation.

Testing 2700 head of elk over many years is not a substitute for a whole herd test which is required by the protocol. Contrary to what TWRA, TWRC and Mr. Butler with the TWF has told you, this herd of bison and elk has a history of disease with Brucellosis for sure and probably TB according to herd records.

TWF, TWRA and TWRC were not keeping you up-dated, they already knew that the elk had been denied importation by the USDA the day before this post was made. They were stalling for time trying to decide what kind of spin to put on this situation to save their butts after wasting over $100,000.00 and after misleading the hunters of this state plus misleading state and federal officials.

They knew that the importation had been denied even though they had not received their written notification yet. TWRA, TWRC and TWF need to answer to the people of this state for wasting over $100,000.00 That money could have made a big difference in the elk restoration project and should have been used to import safe healthy elk that do meet all of the requirements for importation.

David L. Autry

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