Austin man fined $15k for bringing OK deer into East Texas

Released by the U.S. Department of Justice:

TYLER, TX – A 41-year-old Austin, Texas licensed deer breeder has been sentenced for illegally transporting wildlife in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Lance Clawson pleaded guilty on April 14, 2010, to the felony offense of smuggling whitetail deer from Oklahoma into Texas in violation of state and federal laws and was sentenced to three years probation today by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis. Clawson was also fined $15,000.00 and ordered to pay community restitution in the amount of $7,250.00 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

According to information presented in court, on Oct. 15, 2008, Clawson, a licensed deer breeder who owns and operates Regency Ranch, a high-fence hunting ranch and deer breeding facility located near Goldthwaite, Texas, traveled to Muskogee, OK to purchase whitetail fawns from an Oklahoma breeder. His vehicle was stopped on Oct. 16, 2008, by Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens as he was returning with eight whitetail fawns. Clawson knew that Texas law prohibits any importation of live whitetail deer or live mule deer due to the threat of diseases transmittable by deer such as Chronic Wasting Disease and bovine tuberculosis. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Nov. 4, 2009, charging Clawson with federal crimes.

This case was investigated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.