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Dumping deer carcasses not a TWRA violation
Jan 03, 2013 12:00 am
It’s becoming a common site along roadways in Middle Tennessee: the carcass of a dead deer, dumped out by hunters or poachers.
As the state’s deer population increases and more deer are being killed, more of the animals are being dumped in public areas – and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says it can’t do anything about it.
“We frequently receive calls about a dead deer, or parts of a deer, being dumped somewhere, and we have to explain that we can’t do anything,” says TWRA enforcement officer Fred Funte.
“As long as the deer was harvested legally and properly checked in, there’s no TWRA regulations regarding how the deer can be disposed of.”
Funte notes that most towns and municipalities have laws regarding the disposal of dead animals or, at least, against littering.
“But that’s a matter for each individual town or municipality,” he adds. “It’s not an Agency issue. All we can do is suggest that the callers contact their local officials to deal with it.”
Some of the dumped deer have apparently been killed by poachers – the entire deer is left behind, with only the head or antlers removed. Legitimate hunters would not do that.
Poaching is, of course, against TWRA regulations. But it is difficult to catch the perpetrator in the act, to make a legally-binding case.
Likewise it is illegal to hunt or fire a gun from a public roadway or vehicle – known as “road hunting.” But since most such illegal activity occurs after dark and in relatively remote areas, it is again difficult to catch the violator in the act.
The TWRA devotes considerable resources to combating poaching, and every year makes numerous arrests. The Agency encourages the public to report any suspicious activity, such as spotlights or shooting at night.
But as Funte said, if the deer is killed legally the TWRA can’t do anything about how it is disposed of, and so the problem continues.
Part of the reason is that more and more hunters live in urban or residential communities. When they process a deer, they have no isolated place to dispose of the remains. Taking the deer to a commercial processing plant solves the problem, but it can be expensive, and some hunters prefer to do their own processing.
In some communities animal remains can be disposed of in routine trash pickups – put the remains in garbage bags and leave for pickup. But regulations vary, and a check should be made with local officials before making such disposals.
Another solution is to take the carcass back to where the deer was harvested, assuming it’s a remote area where it won’t create problems for anyone.
Simply dumping the animal or its remains on a public roadside is not acceptable.