High Fence Game Farm Charged for Smuggling Deer

On 14 September, two men were charged in federal court for Lacey act violations. The charges stem from them illegally transporting deer from a Pennsylvania and Indiana game farms into their ranch in Mississippi. The men would get the deer sent to Louisiana where it was legal, then load the deer into trailer and drive them to their ranch.

Mississippi law makes it unlawful to import live white-tailed deer into the state. Anyone that does so can be charged with a Lacey Act Violation. The Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase wildlife that were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any state.

Here are some excerpts for the Department Of Justice’s Press release:

According to the Criminal Information, from February of 2010 through November of 2012, Edward L. Donaldson Jr., and John Jared Oertling did knowing and willfully conspire to
transport live white-tailed deer in interstate commerce in violation of state and federal laws. Donaldson Jr. and Oertling manage a 1,031-acre high fenced enclosure in Forrest County, Mississippi known as Turkey Trott Ranch. Jill Marie Donaldson, wife of Oertling and daughter of Donaldson is the owner of Turkey Trott Ranch.

The Information also alleges that it was part of the conspiracy that the defendants would unlawfully smuggle the live white-tailed deer into Mississippi for the purpose of breeding and killing trophy white-tailed buck deer. Donaldson Jr. and Oertling learned in 2012 that the live white-tailed deer purchased and imported from Pennsylvania to Turkey Trott Ranch in Forrest County, Mississippi came from a herd of captive white-tailed deer in PA that tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

According to the Sun Herald, when the men learned that the deer from Pennsylvania were infected, they directed that all deer at the ranch be released into a 1.6-square mile fenced enclosure.

I tried to find more information on the Ranch but was unable to do so. I am not sure if the ranch was their own private hunt club or that they sold high fence hunts to clients. If you have any information on this please let me know.

To read the Justice Departments Press Release CLICK HERE

To read the Sun Herald Article CLICK HERE