Sunday, January 24, 2010


At one time believe it or not Kentucky was running short on deer and we needed to import some to fatten the landscape so to speak. This helped cervid farms, or "Deer farms," to grow or should have. According to Wikipedia "a deer farm is a fenced piece of land suitable for grazing that is populated with deer raised for the purpose of hunting tourism or as livestock. Similar species such as elk, moose and even reindeer may be farmed in this method as well, sometimes on the same land..."

The technique has expanded in recent years due to the rising popularity of venison.

Though not without some problems the importation of elk and deer brought new problems in Kentucky. The deer population was going through their own version of "mad cow disease" referred to as  Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The potential spread of this disease to our landscape by imported deer and elk, and the great harm it would cause, forced Gov. Patton on November 12, 2002 to issue Executive Order 2002-1256 against issuing new captive cervid permits. It states that the department “shall not issue any new permits for the holding of cervids, nor shall it issue any shooting preserve permits for any species other than birds.” It is clear that Patton wanted NO importation due to the dangers of CWD, and clearly said no new permits. 
With this moratorium in place one would expect this practice to discontinue right? Wrong.
In fact 19 such special permits were issued AFTER the moratorium by Gov. Patton and continued through at least October 2003 clearly showing the intent to IGNORE this directive.
The Commissioner at this time was Tom Bennett who I am told actively sought the moratorium from Patton. If Bennett as head of the KDFWR was for the moratorium then how could 19 special permits be issued?
Because of his Deputy Commissionerat the time, and current Commissioner Jon Gassett.
Gassett was in charge of the big game project and had authority to issue these special permits and apparently felt he could do what he wanted without worry of oversight or accountability thus creating the potential for serious disease in our elk and deer herds. 
Why would Jon Gassett, as Deputy Commissioner, knowingly violate the law? Especially since his boss Commissioner Tom Bennett fought against importation? Well from what I am told by sources it all starts with elk importation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation funds. Many believe their influence is behind tis debacle. I cannot do justice to the problems inherent with this belief in this article. It will be dealt with separately in a future article but from what I gather this group is against Cervid Farms and helps fund the importation of elk from the Western United States to the Eastern US.
I have openly admitted I personally am an avid gun owner, but not a hunter, I do enjoy deer meat tremendously. I have family who hunt regularly and can prepare deer meat that is just beyond belief in taste. 
So would I be affected by a CWD laden deer? From what I understand there is no harm to humans. 
CWD is basically harmful only to the deer and elk population itself not to humans nor can it be crossed to other livestock. Which begs the question.
Why then would the KDFWR kill animals that are being transported through our state and not imported here?
You can read here for the story:  Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources - Tennessee Man Charged with Six Felony Counts of Importing Elk and Deer
Apparently this happened when a driver was transporting deer and elk from Missouri to Tennessee in September of 2007. While filling up with gas at  a station someone called and reported the animals were being transported. Fish and Wildlife showed up and the man was arrested on 6 felony counts of illegal transportation of elk etc. According to sources there was actual legal paperwork that was ignored.
Though the State had an importation rule in place at the time there was not a transportation rule. The animals were killed and Cooper went to court.
And won.
The KDFWR decided to pursue the case on appeal and Cooper won again. The case, as I am told, has been decided by the Supreme Court and sided with Cooper. So how much did this legal play cost the sportsmen of Kentucky? Open records request will help answer this but in the meantime we must question the reasons why this was not handled better and why we would waste resources yet again.
As if this was not bad enough Governor Steve Beshear was asked to issue an emergency order against transportation of deer and elk into the State and he did.
He did so without any verification that this was needed. He did not even contact the State Veterinarian to see if it was necessary. It would seem like a logical place to start would it not? Why would anyone with the power of the Governor issue an emergency order without being able to justify why? That is another story as we get closer to the 2011 elections. In the meantime the emergency order was overturned by the Courts as it should have been.
Many believe because of these type of actions the legislature turned the matter of oversight of imported deer and elk to the Department of Agriculture who now require mandatory certification of any importations.
I, for one, can see why.
In the meantime SB64 is on the plate looking for oversight and accountability.....
Your thoughts?


  1. One wonders from whom you are getting this info.

    Enough is wrong to make it clear you didn't do much fact checking.

    Gassett was Wildlife Division Director, never Deputy Commissioner.

    The man's name was Looper, not Cooper. http;//

    You cite the Patton executive order, but not the Beshear one...perhaps because no such order was ever issued by Beshear. Dept of Ag has had joint jurisdiction with KDFWR for captive deer and elk since 2002, not just since the Looper case.

    A journalist's credibility is his stock in trade. Make some phone calls. Do some internet searching. File some open records requests.

  2. Good story and I fear just the tip of the iceberg. When you have a commissioner for life (indefinite term) with his own non-elected law making body (commission) and they have their own police department who owe there salary, favors and promotions to the commissioner, you have a system ripe for abuse. Why else would they be so against SB64 which only adds a level of oversight and accountability to their agency?

  3. Good article and looks like some solid facts and leads that should be examined further.

    One such issue: "CWD is basically harmful only to the deer and elk population..." seems to be a bit dubious since every state where CWD has been discoverd over the past 50 years currently has larger deer and elk populations in spite of the disease!

    Many indications indicate that many within the species may be immuned as scientist in studies have had to inject the prion directly into the brain of healthy animals in order to infect.

    Additionally it seems that CWD is not fatal in many instances and in most others the disease process much like "Alzheimer's" kicks in at advanced ages and few wild animals actually survive to old age!

    Like so many issues it appears there is much more motivation to allocate funds and create hype for governmental control and expenditure than there is for study and full disclosure.

  4. that is alot of as I am told's, but from what I gather...speculation with alot of errors.
    Not to mention you should be ashamed of your writing skills...I know my 5th grader could put together a report alot better than this stuff you are spewing.
    Once again take the nuts out of your mouth and start reporting the truth.
    Gassett was not Deputy Commissioner under TCB.
    A person has to obtain a permit from KDFWR and also enroll in KAD's disease surveillance program.

    Did you even go read the regs?
    301 KAR 2:083. Holding and intrastate transportation of captive cervids.

    RELATES TO: KRS 150.025, 150.280, 150.290, 150.725, 150.730, 150.735, 150.740

    STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 150.025, 150.280, 150.720

    NECESSITY, FUNCTION AND CONFORMITY: KRS 150.025 authorizes the department to regulate the buying, selling, or transportation of wildlife. KRS 150.280 authorizes the department to promulgate administrative regulations relating to propagating and holding of wildlife. KRS 150.720 authorizes the department to promulgate administrative regulations pertaining to the importation and holding of cervids, including privately-owned and farm-raised cervids. KRS 150.730 authorizes the department to issue or deny permits to hold captive cervids. KRS 150.735 authorizes the department to promulgate administrative regulations relating to the expansion of captive cervid facilities and the transfer of permits. This administrative regulation establishes the requirements for holding and intrastate transporting cervids in Kentucky.

  5. anonymous #1 good thing there is a link to LOOPEr because of my typo then. :-) You state Gassett was Wildlife Division Director, never Deputy Commissioner. and yuo are correct. I plead insanity since they were my notes and I misread them. Next time I will stay in the margins.

    thanks for the clarification. Seriously I appreciate it.

    As for the rest well you know......

  6. Anonymous #4 I am just amazed at how little overisght there is in ths State for those wishing to reproduce. You admit to having a 5th grader? Impressive..Or were you just referring to the IQ level or yourself? EIther way add something of substance or you wont post. I am not allowing this thread to be hijacked like the last story.

    Now once you find your "nuts" grab them and strangle them for a bit. Perhaps that will help you clear out your frustrations.

    By the way quit trying to be "anonymous" and misusing government computers for personal stuff. It is against the law you know.:-)

    619314759 Jan/25/2010
    17:55:06 MS Internet Explorer 6 Windows XP 1680x1050 32 bit

    Jan/25/2010 17:55:06

  7. When are you going to investigate Strader's indiana resident lifetime license and his long-standng Kentucky voter registration with the same ferocity that you look at everything else? You have the copies of the documents. Are you a journalist or a politician? We'll know when we read your column tomorrow. I'll be happy to publicize the answer to my question. Are you an honest broker or are you a Quisling?

  8. Did you even bother to look-see what the 19 permits were issued for???

    Did you know that the deer farmers were in favor of the permits yet used them against Tom Bennett after the fact?

    Bennett issued those permits, most of them were grandfathered deer farms and none were for import of "new" deer. All of them were very minor involving a very few number of deer.

    The 19 permits are available for viewing if your source hasn't sent you a copy......not much to be alarmed about in any of them.

    Until the deer farmers infiltrated the LKS, the LKS didn't even have a problem with the 19 permits, they just wanted Bennett to resign.

    You state that a deer with CWD is not harmful to humans.....would eat one that you knew had CWD???

    Jon Gassett should be rewarded for helping keep CWD out of Ky, not drug threw the mud by a misinformed "so called reporter"

  9. Nice how you get to approve every comment. Makes this blog a candygram

  10. lmao Terry. I have never denied a post yet but seem to be in the position of thinking about it these days. I will give your props for finally using your name though instead of hiding behind anonymous.

    Now to answer yo first post. I have already told you that when and if DStrader becomes a focal point for government corruption I will certainly investigate him until then not so much. He is aprivate citizen not a government entity sorry man quit tryng to pass the buck so to speak.

    "Anonymous" yes I did read it but I also read the moratorium that didnt allow ANY exceptions to it. As written Patton's moratorium was violated. It is that simple.

    By the way Terry someone send me Strader's number and I will call him and ask him about that Indiana license. If illegal that falls under government corruption.

    Carry on fellas.

  11. You want Strader's version of the story....why not verify the facts on your own. Isn't that what investigative reporters do????

  12. lmao You guys really are a one trick pony. Here let me clear it up for you. Sullivan is the one making the claim that Strader illegally has a lifetime Indiana resident license. Strader is not a Government agency so really I could care less since he or his supposed following are not my concern.

    Since Sullivan brought up the possibility of illegal behavior that involves a government agency, even though it is Indiana and I have no regards for them either way at this time, I figure it is worth a phone call to find out to shut the one trick pony attacks down.

    Why wouldn't I call Strader? He is a private citizen who is the one being charged with this so it is logical to ask them their opinion on it. I mean that is what journalists do.

    Then of course I never claimed to be a journalist.

    Have fun and carry on Mr. Roboto :-)

  13. Sullivan posted the evidence a long time ago. Prisons are full of jokers who claim they didn't do it. In this case, it's on paper. A "Lifetime" Ind. hunting license that means Strader affrimed that he was a resident of Indiana. Yet he has a record of being registered to vote in Ky of that year and listed his residence as in Ky. Why not trip down to Frankfort and verify that ole Jimbo also had a Ky. hunting license that year as well. Barney Phife could solve this one with your investigative nose, it shouldn't take you long.

  14. This happened in 1987 and I am still researching the laws from Indiana at that time. It will be addressed soon. thanks for writing.

  15. 6 months residency required....can't possess a residents hunting license from two states at any one year. One of the licenses he bought that year would be bogus.


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