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White-tailed deer farmer cited by DNR for bringing deer to Minnesota Sportsmen's Show

Updated: January 09, 2020 08:03 AM

The Minnesota Sportsmen's Show begins Thursday at the River Centre in St. Paul, but one of the biggest attractions is in a dispute with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Steve Porter's Trophy Whitetail has been coming to the Sportsmen's Show for 12 years without issue, but when he arrived in St. Paul this year, he was cited by the DNR.

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"I'm just fighting to keep my farm alive because I can't afford to pass up a year's income," Porter said.

Minnesota Sportsmen's Boat, Camping and Vacation Show coming to the St. Paul RiverCentre next week

Porter, a former Kittson County sheriff, raises huge white-tailed deer on his farm in northwestern Minnesota. He brought his big deer to fulfill a contract, but the DNR said it violates an emergency rule that bans the movement of whitetail deer for 30 days. The rule was issued in response to the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in farmed deer in Douglas County last fall.

"This rule was put into place to protect all the wild deer herd," Col. Rodmen Smith, DNR director of enforcement, said. "It wasn't put into place just for one person, it was put into place for the industry. This isn't so much about Steve Porter, this is more about the industry in general and protecting the state's wild deer herd."

Col. Smith said the legislature gives the DNR legal authority to protect wild deer.

However, Porter said deer farmers are regulated by the Board of Animal Health, not the DNR, and he'll fight the citation.

"But as of right now, the deer are healthy," Porter said. "I've got a closed herd. I've done all the CWD monitoring. I've got all the license, I've got the permits, I've went above and beyond, I've done everything. And so all of a sudden to say I can't come to a show? Well, we're having a disagreement."

Porter has other shows to attend this month.

KSTP has learned the Minnesota Deer Farmers Association is preparing to take legal action to stop the DNR's emergency order.

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Kevin Doran

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