A central Missouri man is charged with breaking federal law by transporting white-tailed deer to Florida.
Federal prosecutors say 54-year-old Charles “Sam” James of Columbia loaded 11 deer into a rented box trailer and drove them from Missouri to a deer farm in Laurel Hills, Florida. The deer were raised on a ranch James co-owns called Timber Hollow Whitetails in Mexico. Federal law prohibits transporting live white-tailed deer across state lines without required documentation and health records.
Chief of the Protection Division with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Larry Yamnitz said such laws are meant to keep diseases like chronic wasting disease from spreading in deer throughout the country.
“Closing the borders may not get rid of all the risk, but the whole idea is to reduce the risk of the spread of this disease, so that’s why states are closing their borders to the importation of cervids,” said Yamnitz.
James allegedly did not have proper documentation and took the deer into a closed state.
“Florida closed their border back in 2013,” said Yamnitz. “You can move them out of the state, you just can’t take them out of the state without proper health papers and you also cannot move them into a closed state.”
Yamnitz said such a charge could lead to prison time.
“This charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250-thousand dollar fine or both,” said Yamnitz.
Agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the case. James was charged in a one-count federal indictment for violations of the Lacey Act.