Texas Couple Convicted in Illegal Deer Breeding Operation

Following a decade-long series of criminal and wildlife disease investigations, two South Texas deer breeders pleaded guilty to 50 charges of Unlawful Possession and/or Sale of Live Game Animals in late October. The Lone Star Outdoor News reports that Frank Thomas Shumate, Jr., and his wife, Kalub Rogers Shumate, were each assessed more than $14,000 in fines and agreed to surrender the ability to apply for both a deer breeder permit and a hunting lease license for all time. The husband also surrendered his hunting license through the end of the 2015 license year, while Mrs. Shumate gave up her rights to hunt through the end of the 2017 license year.

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, the investigation of Mr. Shumate's deer breeding activities began in March 2004, and resulted in multiple convictions involving deer breeder violations in three counties. Because of these charges, the man relinquished his Scientific Breeder's Permit and was ordered to liquidate all deer held in captivity at his facility in Nueces County.

The Archery Wire reports that Shumate then allegedly transferred more than 100 deer from that facility to a new deer breeding facility permitted in the name of Kalub Rogers on his property in Karnes County, in advance of losing his deer breeding privileges. Further, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Special Operations Unit received multiple reports that Shumate was illegally buying and selling deer, conducting at least 78 sales of whitetails from Rogers' deer breeding facility to ranches for release into the wild since September 2010. The ensuing investigations revealed that Rogers was actually Kalub Rogers Shumate and was holding a deer breeder permit on behalf of her husband.

In 2012, the Shumates' facility came under additional scrutiny, initially due to a delinquent annual report that is required by all permitted deer breeding facilities, but which resulted in additional criminal charges when a subsequent herd inspection revealed significant irregularity and discrepancies. More than 160 inventoried deer were missing from the facility, and the remaining animals were found to be in poor condition, with numerous deer carcasses decaying in their pens. Remaining deer were tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis, but neither was found.

The case was finally put to rest in the Karnes County Justice Court. “Unscrupulous actions by these two individuals are not only a threat to all the law-abiding deer breeders who are carefully monitoring and managing their facilities, but also to the state’s free-ranging deer, which can be exposed to unnecessary disease risk from these illegitimate activities,” said Mitch Lockwood, the Big Game Program Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife. “Captive and free-ranging deer are too important to our state to have them compromised by the actions of a few.”