Ongoing Investigation Leads To Large Civil Penalties For Operator Of Georgia Deer Farms

Ongoing Investigation Leads To Large Civil Penalties For Operator Of Georgia Deer Farms
Multiple Violations For Washington County Land Owner.

ATLANTA, Ga. – -( The Commissioner of Natural Resources today issued Administrative Orders to Washington County landowner Mr. Jens Brynteson and Mr. David Kilgore of Madison County. The orders impose civil penalties of more than $70,000.00 on Mr. Brynteson and penalties of $2,000.00 on Mr. Kilgore for numerous violations of Georgia’s Game and Fish laws discovered during an 18-month investigation and subsequent search warrant findings. Additionally, the Commissioner issued Administrative Orders authorizing seizure of fallow deer herds, red deer herds and Mouflon sheep on two properties owned by Mr. Brynteson. Mr. Brynteson and Mr. Kilgore will have 30 days to file an appeal of the Administrative Order. If no appeal is filed within 30 days, the orders will be final. Further, Department officials today issued 29 misdemeanor citations to Mr. Kilgore for violating Georgia’s trapping laws.

“Georgia law imposes strict requirements on those who operate deer farms,” said Dan Forster, Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. “These requirements are designed to ensure the prevention, detection and interception of wildlife-related diseases, such as chronic wasting disease and tuberculosis, which can have a devastating impact on our state’s conservation and agricultural economies.”

The statutory purpose of deer farms is to provide an agricultural opportunity to raise non-native deer on a farm for the commercial production of food and fiber. Mr. Jens Brynteson was permitted with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Department of Agriculture in 1999 for deer farming, but his license expired March 31 and has not been renewed. The resultant violations include multiple counts of possessing regulated wild animals without authorizing licenses and surrendering regulated wild animals to individuals who do not possess authorizing licenses. Moreover, it was discovered that he was moving farmed deer from one property and placing them in a high-fence shooting pen on a different property. These movements raise concern regarding questionable required health certifications.

In February of 2009, the Department executed search warrants pertaining to property owned by Mr. Jens Brynteson and the residence of his employee Mr. David Kilgore. Various documents and digital media were seized during the search. The seized items assisted Department officials with further identifying violations.

“Not only are these types of ‘canned hunts’ illegal in Georgia, the shooting of farmed deer and sheep for sport in staged hunting venues serves no legitimate role in wildlife conservation and is not supported by the majority of Georgia’s citizens,” said Forster. “These types of unethical activities threaten the use of fair chase hunting as an effective, cost-efficient management tool in Georgia and erodes the existing public support for legal hunting.”

Due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing no additional information may be released at this time. For more information about DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, visit . To report game and fish law violations, such as the illegal movement of non-native or native wildlife, call 1-800-241-4113.

More on Wild Animals and Farmed Deer

According to Georgia code, it is unlawful for any person to import, transport, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal (as listed in O.C.G.A. § 27-5-5) without first obtaining a wild animal license (as provided in O.C.G.A. § 27-5-4) from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Farmed deer may be legally held in an approved facility with a deer farming license jointly administered by the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture. Additionally, it is unlawful to shoot, kill or wound any wild animal held under a wild animal license or permit or any farmed deer for enjoyment, gain, amusement or sport (O.C.G.A. § 27-5-12).

Wild animals are non-native wildlife such as those that may be found in zoos, circuses or educational exhibits. The possession of wild animals is strictly regulated in Georgia because of the risks they pose to public health, safety and welfare, and to native wildlife. These risks include endangering the physical safety of humans, introduction of diseases harmful to humans or wildlife and threats to native wildlife and habitats through competition.