Operators of a Trempealeau County deer farm this week were fined for several hunting-related charges stemming from a 2017 case in which the farm was accused of running an illegal deer-hunting operation.
A judge approved a plea agreement between prosecutors and Brush Ranch Outfitters, a Galesville captive deer farm, who pleaded no contest to the charges.
The agreement calls for Brush Ranch Outfitters to pay $17,505 in civil forfeitures for charges, including: the unauthorized taking of live wild animals from the wild; providing incorrect information to the Department of Natural Resources; trapping with illegal methods; failing to register deer; and, possessing game during the closed season.
Multiple trophy bucks also were found to be illegally harvested and ordered confiscated by the court.
In addition, Brush Ranch Outfitters owner Travis Brush and employee Randall Hoff were ordered to each pay a fine of $2,152 for illegally placing bait. Both will lose their hunting and trapping privileges for three years — with a one-year credit for the year spent on bond with a condition prohibiting hunting.
A state investigation conducted by the DNR revealed Brush and Hoff placed illegal bait piles to lure wild deer into their captive deer farm through alterations made to a fence. According to statements made by Hoff during the investigation, deer were lured in to improve genetics within their captive deer herd. Brush Ranch Outfitters knowingly allowed wild deer to enter their captive deer farm where deer hunts were sold for profit.
Prosecutors said the plea agreement was made separate from the Brush Family's $10,000 donation to the Association Conservation Clubs of Trempealeau County.