A Port of Astoria commissioner has been cited for importing illegal animal parts into Oregon.
The citation - a Class A misdemeanor - is based on Western state laws designed to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Port Commissioner Bill Hunsinger, 65, Austin M. Hunsinger, 26, and Charles Kristain Kelly, 46, all of Astoria, were stopped Thursday by Oregon State Police troopers west of The Dalles. All three have been cited to face charges for unlawful importation of prohibited cervid parts.
Troopers said the men were found to be in possession of three bull elk from New Mexico, which is a state that has had documented cases of chronic wasting disease. The elk could not be brought back to Oregon.
"We didn't know bringing the heads back was illegal," Hunsinger said.
He said he talked to a trooper after the stop. The trooper told him that the law can be confusing and they stop a lot of hunters who simply didn't know about the law.
The trio was stopped by OSP Fish and Wildlife Division Trooper Joel McNerney and patrol Troopers Brent Ochesky and Gavin McIlvenna while driving a 2006 Ford pickup towing a trailer westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 76.
The troopers discovered they were in possession of the heads of three bull elk and part of a spine. These were seized by the troopers and will be destroyed, OSP?said.
A spokesman said the No. 1 objective in the management of chronic wasting disease is to prevent its spread into new areas.
One possible mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses.
In an effort to minimize the risk of disease spread, a number of states, including Oregon, have adopted regulations affecting the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk.
OSP and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife would like to remind all hunters that except for the following parts, no person shall import a cervid carcass or parts of a cervid carcass if the cervid was killed in a state or province with a documented case of chronic wasting disease.
? Meat that is cut and wrapped commercially or privately;
? Meat that has been boned out;
? Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
? Hides and/or capes with no head attached;
? Skull plates with antlers attached that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue (velvet antlers are allowed);
? Antler with no tissue attached (velvet antlers are allowed);
? Upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers, ivories);
? Finished taxidermy heads.
States or provinces with a documented case of chronic wasting disease are Alberta, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Utah and Saskatchewan.