Hunters charged with illegally importing deer carcasses

(Photo: WKRN)

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (AP/WKRN) — Wildlife officials in Tennessee say four hunters have been charged with illegally importing carcasses of white-tailed deer with chronic wasting disease into the state.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says the hunters were charged in November with importing deer carcasses from Virginia, a state that confirmed the presence of the disease in 2009.

The agency says the hunters brought entire deer carcasses that had not been properly prepared into Tennessee.

The agency has placed importation restrictions for deer, moose and elk carcasses from any state that has found a positive case.

“[Animals] lose weight, they look really skinny, they have trouble eating and drinking,” said Chuch Yoest, TWRA Assistant Chief of Wildlife and Forestry Division. “It’s passed both through animals and through the environment to animals, so when you add all those things up, it’s nearly impossible to contain.”

Chronic wasting disease is progressive and ultimately fatal.

Carcasses and other cervid parts from the CWD-positive states that may be brought into or possessed in Tennessee include:

  • Meat that has bones removed
  • Antlers, antlers attached to clean skull plates, or cleaned skulls (no meat or tissues)
  • Cleaned teeth
  • Finished taxidermy, hides and tanned products

The disease has been documented in deer in 23 states and two Canadian provinces.