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Improperly discarded bones and hides create hazards

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Big game seasons are open and from all appearances hunters are out in high numbers. Last weekend I worked a check station near Coolin and there was a steady stream of hunters in camo and orange coming through.

Hunters are hoping to put some healthy and nutritious meat into the freezer. Those who are successful at harvesting a big game animal are required by law to remove and care all of the edible meat. This includes the meat from hind quarters as far down as the hock, meat of the front quarters as far down as the knee, and meat along the backbone. There is also good meat in the neck region, covering the ribs and between the ribs.

When a hunter harvests a big game animal, they can take it to a meat processor or cut it on their own. After the work is done, there is a pile of bones, a hide, and a head. Nearly all hunters will dispose of the unwanted portions properly, but other will take the bones out and dump them in poorly selected locations. It does not take many improperly dumped and highly visible carcasses to generate strong negative reactions.

Unwanted big-game carcasses that end up on the side of the road, or in "vacant" lots, which are typically owned by somebody, make messes and become an eyesores and public health issues. Carcasses can even become roadway hazards because they attract dogs and scavenging birds (ravens, magpies, and bald eagles). The scavengers then become dangers to drivers who swerve to avoid hitting them.

Non-hunters who see these messes begin to have negative impressions of all hunters.

Calls come in to Idaho Fish and Game offices every fall about "poached" animals along roadsides. Most end up being improperly discarded remains of legally harvested animals. Often, there is no way to tell if the animal was legally taken or not. But it takes the valuable time of a Conservation Officer to check each one out.

Once a successful hunter has removed the edible meat, the unusable parts need to be disposed of properly as a courtesy to others. The waste can be double-bagged, securely tied, and put out for garbage collection. Most counties in northern Idaho have transfer stations. These facilities will accept the inedible parts of big game for no charge from residents who live within that county.

Dumping fleshed out game carcasses along roadsides is littering. It is also inconsiderate of nearby residents. It reflects poorly on all hunters and damages the image of hunters among those people who do not hunt.

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Original Publication Date: October 21, 2015

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