TRI-CITIES, TN (WJHL)- A new Tennessee rule that prohibits carrying animal carcasses across the state line into Tennessee is outraging local hunters and business owners. The stricter importation rules are meant to be a way to restrict a fatal disease from coming into Tennessee but some hunters say the rule is taking matters too far.
“What needs to be done is more study into the matter because we’re making a hasty decision on something that we don’t have enough facts and studies about.”
In an effort to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease, a type of fatal neurological disease spread through wildlife. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has initiated a new Tennessee rule banning certain deer, moose, and elk carcasses from being brought into Tennessee from states where the disease is present, including Virginia.
But taxidermist Todd Godsey says this new regulation and the possibility of spreading the fatal neurological disease would both be a hard hit to his business. Godsey said, “Over 70% of my business is from out of state because we live so close to Virginia.”
Godsey said, “It’s going to jeopardize our business and I’m trying to carry on my granddad’s business, my dad’s business.” “I hate for it to go down like this and be chopped off at the knees by a new law that we haven’t studied enough and we don’t know enough about,” he said.
While Tri-Cities taxidermists fear losing business local hunter Tom Jones, who frequently hunts in Virginia, worries this will limit his hunting options. Jones said, “It is something that I really enjoy doing and I’ve done it for years but now I’ll just have to hunt in Tennessee if this law goes into effect, which I hope it doesn’t.”
Godsey and Jones agree that they understand TWRA’s reasoning but feel the topic needs more investigation. Jones said, “Even local farmer’s buy hay from Colorado and bring it in here so it’s going to affect more than just hunters.”
Godsey added, “I would like to see them do more studies on chronic waste disease and see them come up with more alternatives for disposal to help the small business man, we’re struggling to survive.”
Both Jones and Godsey have reached out to local representatives who are actively trying to see what can be done on the matter.
Local lawmakers met with hunters and business owners today to try to see what can be done to keep out the disease without hurting recreational practices and small businesses. Representative Bud Hulsey says the group plans to meet again before the next legislative session to discuss their next plan of action.
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