Dumping deer carcasses causes problems

Larry Woody • Dec 12, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Deer season is underway, and hunters are reminded that it is unsightly, unethical and illegal to dump carcasses in a public area, including roadsides.

Such a practice gives hunters a negative image at a time when hunting is already under fire from animal-rights activists and the anti-gun lobby.

There are two types of deer dumping: (1) disposing of the post-processing remains of a deer that was killed legally, and (2) disposing of part or all of a deer that was killed illegally.

The former involves deer that were home-processed, since commercial deer-processing plants dispose of the remains. For home-processors, with more and more hunters living in the suburbs, disposing of the leftovers – hide, legs, bones, etc. – can be a problem.

One solution is to take the remains back to the forest or farmland where the deer was killed. Coyotes, buzzards and other scavengers will clean them up. In areas with municipal trash pick-up, the remains can be disposed of that way.

In the case of an illegally killed deer, the poacher often takes only the prime cuts – the hindquarters and backstrap – and dumps the rest along the roadside. In some cases all the poacher is interested in is the antlers, so he hacks off the head and leaves the rest to spoil.

In an even worse-case scenario, the poacher doesn’t take ANY part of the deer – he shoots it just for “fun” and leaves it where it falls.

Poachers can obviously be prosecuted, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency encourages anyone with information about poaching or poaching-related activity – including dumping deer carcasses -- to contact their local game warden. (The TWRA Poaching Hotline is 1-800-255-8972).

As for dumping carcasses of legally killed deer, there is no TWRA regulation against it. Such activity falls under local anti-littering ordnances and should be reported to local law enforcement officials.

Another point of contention during deer season involves the transport of dead deer.

Granted, every hunter has a right to transport his legally-killed deer any way he or she chooses, but nowadays a bit of discretion is in order.

While the hunter may be proud of the big buck he bagged and want to show it off, some members of the public may not care to see it. A few years I was on my way home from a morning hunt when I stopped at a McDonalds for coffee. As I sat in the drive-through a pickup pulled into the parking lot towing a screen-mesh trailer. In it were piled three or four freshly-killed deer, legs akimbo and heads lolling. Blood oozed from the trailer and dripped onto the pavement.

Three camo-clad young hunters got out and went inside the restaurant, leaving their cargo of bloody deer parked in front of the door where every diner had to pass by – including wide-eyed kiddies and their clearly-peeved moms.

It presented a bad image, and it was unnecessary. If the hunters couldn’t put a tarp over their deer they could at least have parked in a less-conspicuous spot.

Most hunters are ethical, law-abiding and conscious of the fact that the sport needs all the positive public relations it can muster. Unfortunately one thoughtless hunter, dumping one dead deer illegally, can taint us all.

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