Men Arrested for Importing Deer

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Conservation Officers in Lauderdale County arrested Gary R. Faires, 56, and Gary S. Daugherty, 35, on February 15, 2006, for illegally importing deer into Alabama. Faires was also charged with the illegal possession of protected wildlife.

Officers with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had been conducting an investigation into alleged deer importation and hunting violations at a commercial hunting operation owned by Faires. Daugherty was the guide and manager of the hunting operation.

The officers were able to identify Faires loading three fallow deer onto his trailer in Tennessee and followed him back to Alabama where he released the deer into a confined area in Lauderdale County. Daugherty and paying guests hunted and killed the deer just a few hours after they were released. Daugherty, a Mississippi resident, was also charged with hunting protected wildlife during closed season and hunting without a nonresident license.

Both subjects are due in court on March 23, 2006 in Lauderdale County District Court to answer the charges. If convicted, the two men face fines of up to $5,000 and 30 days imprisonment.

The importation of deer or any member of the deer family (Cervidae) has been prohibited by Alabama law since 1973. The protection of Alabama’s wild deer herd from diseases is the primary reason for the ban on deer imports.

One particularly dangerous disease threatening wild deer populations in other states is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk, and it belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. While it is not known exactly how CWD is transmitted, the spread from animal to animal and environmental contamination with infective material is likely.

“Considering the impact that a single infected animal could have on our native wildlife populations, we all need to take the illegal importation of wildlife very seriously,” said Allan Andress, Chief of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Enforcement Section. “We don’t have CWD in Alabama and we consider keeping it out to be our number one enforcement priority.”

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.