Larry Durham, 51, of Jackson County, Ala., has been charged with violating the state’s new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) carcass ban for returning to Alabama with a deer harvested in Illinois, a known CWD state. Durham was charged on Sunday, November 6, 2016.
In addition to violating Alabama’s CWD ban, Durham violated Illinois law by harvesting the buck without the proper tag. Charges from Illinois are forthcoming. The deer was sent to Auburn University for CWD testing and disposal.
Earlier this year Alabama enacted a ban on the import of deer carcasses from states where CWD has been confirmed. CWD is a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of deer. Once introduced into the environment, it is impossible to eradicate.
It was an anonymous tip from another Alabama resident traveling through Illinois that led to the charges against Durham.
“The caller, who knew about the CWD ban, stated they were behind a truck travelling south with Alabama plates that was loaded with hunting gear and a recently harvested buck,” said Chris Champion, a Senior Conservation Enforcement Officer (CEO) with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) District I Office.
Based on that tip WFF, with assistance from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, began a coordinated effort to locate Durham before he entered Alabama.
“Unfortunately, he was able to return to Alabama with the harvested deer,” said Lt. Jim Kirkland, CEO with WFF District II, who charged Durham for violating the CWD ban. “We are grateful for the tip that led to the confiscation of the illegally harvested and imported deer. The caller’s actions will help protect Alabama’s deer herd for future generations.”
“Safeguarding Alabama’s deer resources against CWD merits everyone’s assistance,” said Kevin Dodd, WFF Law Enforcement Chief. “It’s easy to take a ‘not my business’ approach. However, the caller was concerned about protecting his children’s deer hunting future and decided to report the suspicious activity. He is to be commended for being part of the solution.”
Alabamians who hunt in CWD-affected states are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the CWD carcass ban. It is critical to completely debone the animal, remove and dispose of any brain or spinal tissue from skull plates, raw capes and hides before returning to Alabama. Root structures and other soft tissue should also be removed from all teeth. Additionally, skull plates must be cleaned with a bleach-based solution. Finished taxidermy products and tanned hides are not affected by the ban.
For instruction on how to properly sanitize the mount or carcass, contact the nearest WFF district office. For contact information, visit www.outdooralabama.com/contact.
CWD has been found in captive and/or wild deer in 24 states, two Canadian provinces, Norway, and South Korea. It is not known to be transmissible to humans or domestic livestock. For a map of CWD states, visit www.outdooralabama.com/map-cwd-north-america.
WFF needs your support in maintaining Alabama’s CWD-free status. To report the importation of live or harvested deer, call the Operation GameWatch line at 1-800-272-4263. If possible, please provide a name and description of any suspects including vehicle description, license plate, and the time and location of the observation. Resident deer exhibiting signs of CWD can also be reported via GameWatch.