Travis Smola

Michigan Game Ranch Owner Sentenced for Falsifying CWD Testing Info

Game ranch owner gets jail and fines for false CWD information.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been cracking down more and more when it comes to chronic wasting disease (CWD) and violations related to the deadly neurological disease.

Now the DNR has just announced a game ranch owner has been sentenced on charges of submitting false information and improper fencing at his ranch. The DNR says 64-year-old Lester Jay Gemmen provided false information on two deer heads submitted for testing.

They say he also did not properly maintain the fencing at his farm, the Super G Ranch.

Now Gemmen will have to serve 60 days in jail for each count and perform 80 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay $775 in fines.

The false information charges in this case stem from an incident in 2016 in which Gemmen approached an Amish farmer and deer processor named Henry Brenneman and asked him for extra deer heads specifically for processing.

"He said, 'I need a few heads. I've got to send a few in to get tested. I'm behind in testing,'" Brenneman told

The big problem was, two of the six heads Gemmen submitted for testing came back as CWD-positive, causing the DNR quarantine the Super G Ranch. It also resulted in the DNR recommending a new containment zone surrounding the ranch.

But it also presented a problem for DNR officials, because Brenneman took in deer to be processed from multiple counties, making identifying exactly where the positively-tested animals came from a challenge.

The DNR has since de-populated the Super G Ranch and the place remains under quarantine. Fortunately, no other CWD-positive animals have been found.

"I commend the detectives from our Special Investigations Unit and our field conservation officers for their thorough, professional approach to this investigation," David Shaw, 1st Lt. supervisor of the Special Investigations Unit of the DNR said in the press release.