Trempealeau County deer farm could face criminal charges for luring wild deer

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Hope Kirwan

Wisconsin Public Radio

The owner of a deer farm in Trempealeau County could face criminal charges for luring wild deer into his facility.

Officials at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Brush Ranch Outfitters in Galesville altered a fence to lure wild deer into the farm. The agencies started an investigation into practices at the farm after receiving an anonymous tip.

"We don’t get these complaints very often," said Shaun Deeney, DNR investigative warden supervisor. "The DNR’s responsibility is to manage the perimeter fence (at deer farms) and has authority to ensure that fences are secure to prevent any kind of emigration and immigration of deer."

Deeney said the farm could face several charges, including use of illegal bait, hunting during closed season and improper tagging.

Others in the captive deer industry have also spoken out against the farm’s practices.

"There's a huge protocol that we have in the deer industry in order to keep our animals disease-free and we’re trying to improve that," said Rick Vojtik, president of Whitetails of Wisconsin.

Vojtik said chronic wasting disease continues to impact deer farms across the state and is often spread through the mingling of wild and captive deer.

"We don’t need to have it being brought into our facilities, we’re trying to get it cleaned up," Vojtik said.

Deeney said the case now goes to the Trempealeau County District Attorney's Office to file potential charges.

A representative from Brush Ranch Outfitters did not responded to a request for comment by deadline.

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