Tips for properly and ethically disposing of deer remains

Tips for properly and ethically disposing of deer remains
by Charles Ruth, SCDNR Big Game Program Coordinator

Disposal of deer remains may not be the highlight of a hunting trip, but it is an important aspect of hunting, particularly in maintaining the hunter’s image.

Properly disposed deer remains will soon be taken care of by decomposition and insects because nature wastes no nutrients.

Hunters should realize that improperly disposing of deer remains is not only illegal but presents a negative public image. It provides a legitimate point of criticism that can be used by people who oppose hunting.

Hunters should also remember not to display harvested game where it might offend non-hunting members of the public. When transporting a deer in the back of a truck or on top of a vehicle, hunters should wrap a tarp or other covering material around the animal. This is a simple, considerate step that may prevent a non-hunter from becoming an anti-hunter.

While most hunters are ethical and take the necessary steps and care in proper disposal of deer carcasses, some improperly dump remains in a creek or river, near a boat ramp, along a road, on public property or private property that is not theirs. This unscrupulous practice creates numerous problems beyond the negative image to hunters. The carcasses can cause human and animal health issues, environmental contamination and a food resource for unwanted scavenging animals. Hunters are also reminded that improper dumping of deer remains is illegal and persons involved in the activity can be cited criminally with littering.

Proper handling of all parts of a harvested deer from the field to the table is an important part of hunting. Heads, hides, and entrails should be buried at least 2 to 3 feet deep so dogs or other animals won’t dig up the remains and drag them around. Alternatively, hunters can take the remains to their local landfill provided the landfill accepts animal carcasses.

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