In an effort to protect Alabama’s abundant wildlife, state officials are cracking down on the illegal importation of whitetail deer and other wild species.Current outbreaks of Bovine Tuberculosis Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer in some areas of the United States are major concerns for Alabama hunters and farmers, according to Steve Guy, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Wildlife Division. He said state conservation officials are working to ensure Alabama’s deer population is not affected. State officials have conducted random tests on whitetail deer throughout the state with no detection of disease to date, he said.Introduction of diseases is always a risk when wildlife is relocated, Guy said, adding that some diseases transported by infected animals also could infect domestic livestock.”Outbreaks of these diseases in some other states have devastated local deer populations,” Guy said. “We don’t want that to happen here, and that’s why it’s so important to control the importation of animals. This is an important issue for hunters and non-hunters alike, especially when you consider the risks to domestic animals and the economic impact that wildlife has on our state’s economy, which has been estimated at $1.3 billion annually.”State law has prohibited the importation of any member of the deer family (deer, elk, moose and caribou) into Alabama since 1973. Illegal importation of these animals is punishable by a $1,000 – 5,000 fine and up to 30 days imprisonment, according to a recent law passed by the Alabama Legislature. Additional regulations proposed by state wildlife officials also would prohibit transporting deer and other wild animals within the state, except by licensed game breeders. “Our white-tailed deer resource is extremely important, both economically and for recreation,” said Conservation Commissioner Riley Boykin Smith. “We are asking the public to help us stop the possible introduction of diseases by reporting the illegal transportation of deer.”Conservation officials have asked that anyone who sees wildlife being transported in Alabama take note of the type of vehicle and/or trailer and tag numbers and immediately call the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Law Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-272-GAME (4263) or (334) 242-3467. The same number should be called if diseased or suspicious animals are harvested.Any information provided will be strictly confidential and may prevent the introduction of these potentially devastating diseases into native wildlife and domestic livestock, Smith said.
Alabama Officials Crack Down On Illegal Deer Imports