Alert from the Exotic Wildlife Association

We are sending this to our membership as a reminder how quickly your investment and business can change. The Flees deer breeding and hunting ranch is one of the top in the nation. As our ACA release states, they have done everything they can including 100 percent testing of their herd deaths and closing their herd to no outside animals being purchased. What have they received for doing everything right?  They are now quarantined for five years for finding 1 animal in their hunting ranch that tested positive for CWD. How could this happen one might ask?  The new Federal rule and Program Standards have mandated this action. Regardless of what their state Veterinarian thinks his hands are tied. Wisconsin either follows the Federal mandate or risks losing their certification, which would shut down interstate commerce for every breeder in that state.


This is the reason your association is working diligently as a member of the American Cervid Alliance to revamp this ridiculous federal mandate; a mandate that has no funding. If this can happen to the Flees farm it can happen anywhere.

Charly Seale

Executive Director

Exotic Wildlife Association 


An Important Message from Wisconsin!

“We did everything Right” — Greg Flees

A Wisconsin Family Looks for Answers as they Deal with CWD Regulations

 No deer herd in the country has had more impact to the industry than the “Flees Herd”!   Just preparing to start their third generation of deer farmers, the Flees have been enjoying raising deer since 1977.  One of the founding herds of the industry, their genetics have touched almost every herd in the country.  The last animal was purchased over 15 years ago, making them a closed herd ever since.  They maintain a herd of approx. 100 breeding does on the breeding farm, and have approx. 1000 animals in the breeding farm and 3 preserves that they operate.   They have been enrolled in the CWD surveillance program since 2002, and have tested over 1000 animals since the start of the program.

Yet, the Flees had a 5 year-old buck test positive for CWD in one of their preserves.  The buck had been moved from the breeding farm to the preserve 37 months ago.  Even though some research shows that a deer contacting CWD is dead 33 months [+ or – 2 months] after contracting the fatal disease, the breeding farm was still placed under quarantine, as per the new Federal rule and Programs Standards, which go back 5 years.  Their breeding herd has been labeled a “CWD-Exposed Herd”, and their preserve labeled a “CWD Positive Herd”.

“With a closed herd for over 15 years, a double fenced breeding farm, strict surveillance, and health protocols, we thought we were bullet proof” , quoting Greg Flees.  “If this can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”  “This deer was close to 350 pounds and looked totally healthy.”  ” He showed no signs of being diseased, and we are shocked this happened.  This deer must have been in the very early stages of CWD.”

The state vet. has even said that he feels the contamination came through the fence from the wild at the preserve, yet the breeding farm was still placed in quarantine.  The Board of Health is currently tracing-out animals that the Flees have sold from the breeding farm, during the time the buck was on the breeding farm.

This shows how vulnerable the industry is!   The Cervid Industry needs a live test!  Help us achieve this goal.

The American Cervid Alliance hopes to have more information forthcoming later this week on the CWD blood test research.

To learn how you can help, visit