Wisconsin deer farm charged with running illegal hunting operation

The accused reportedly were involved in luring wild deer into a high-fenced captive deer farm with the intent to harvest trophy bucks.

MADISON, Wis. — The owner and an employee of a Galesville, Wis., deer farm will face criminal charges and civil penalties for allegedly running an illegal deer-hunting operation, the State of Wisconsin announced Thursday, Nov. 9.

According to a news release, a joint investigation by the Wisconsin DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection revealed that, Travis Brush, owner, and Randall Hoff, an employee, of Brush Ranch Outfitters were involved in luring wild deer into a high-fenced captive deer farm with the intent to harvest trophy bucks. The accused reportedly were found to have altered the fence to allow wild deer to enter the facility, from which customers may hunt and harvest deer year round.

The use of illegal bait along with hunts during closed seasons and hunting with the wrong licenses also were investigated and led to additional charges.

The Wisconsin deer farming industry is regulated by both the DNR and DATCP, which have authority over the various aspects of farm-raised white-tailed deer. The DNR is primarily responsible for regulating fences, while DATCP regulates most all other considerations including deer health, animal movements and hunting ranches.

“In this instance, we found that the actions of Brush Ranch Outfitters created a situation where captive deer and wild white-tailed deer commingled to create a potential disease risk that, if we had not stopped it, could have had a negative impact on the deer population in this part of Wisconsin,” said Dr. Paul McGraw, Wisconsin State Veterinarian with the DATCP Division of Animal Health.

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