Tennessee Taxidermist Charged for Illegal Importation of Parts from CWD-Positive States

Taxidermist is latest to be hit by laws regarding importation of animal parts.

A Tennessee taxidermist is the latest person to be charged under laws prohibiting importation of cervid carcass parts from CWD-positive states.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced Putnam County's James Carter Jr. pleaded guilty to five counts of importation of animal parts from unspecified CWD-positive states.

Two wildlife officers discovered five illegally-imported skull plates and antlers and one full skull during a routine inspection Jan. 4. Authorities dropped the charge for a seventh deer because the state the deer came from wasn't CWD-positive at the time.

Tennessee does allow the importation of deer parts. Hunters just have to make sure skull plates and teeth are clean, tan the hides and debone the meat prior to crossing state lines.

Authorities in many states have adopted similar carcass and parts importation rules as a way to stop the spread of CWD. The disease spreads through a protein that can remain in parts of the animal indefinitely. It then seeps into soil and contaminates a new area.

This also isn't the first time someone has faced charges for violating these rules. Both Michigan and Alabama have seen hunters charged for violating their state's carcass bans in recent years.

The news of the charges against Carter comes almost a year after a Tennessee lawmaker proposed loosening the state's importation laws.

Fortunately for the owners of the antlers in this case, they won't face charges and they'll get their antlers back.