With hunting seasons drawing toward a close, many hunters are now cutting and wrapping the deer, elk, and moose taken this hunting season. The end product is delicious, nutritious and healthy meat for home consumption.
Hunters who are successful at harvesting a big game animal are required by law to remove and care for 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. The law does not require removing the meat of the head or neck, meat covering or between the ribs, or meat on the bones after close trimming.
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. However, a very small number will not. 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 Ôvacant lots' (every Ôvacant lot' is owned by somebody) become eyesores and roadway hazards. They attract dogs and scavenging birds (ravens, magpies, and bald eagles). The scavengers then become dangers to drivers who swerve to avoid hitting them. And to non-hunters, the practice leads to a bad impression of hunters.
Calls are coming in to Idaho Fish and Game about "poached" animals along roadsides. Some are probably the 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 valuable Conservation Officer time to check each one out.