COs: Hunters who illegally dump deer give all hunters a bad name

St. Paul — Some Minnesota deer hunters are giving the majority of deer hunters a bad name. Illegally dumped deer carcasses were noted by several Minnesota DNR conservation officers around the state this past week. It’s a bad look.

“You make every hunter in the state of Minnesota look like a slob hunter,” said Maj. Greg Salo, DNR Enforcement Division operations manager. “You have hunters and anti-hunters on opposite sides, and a lot of people in the middle that don’t care, but when those people start getting a deer carcass dumped in their yard, that person gets pushed over to the other side.”

It’s illegal to dump deer onto public property in Minnesota, and it’s also illegal to dump them on private property without permission, Salo said. Some private property owners will allow, if asked, for deer carcasses to be left on their property, where other animals will scavenge the remains. The only other options are to take it to a dump or to put the remains out with the trash.

“I think people are nervous and think that they can’t put them out in their garbage, but they can,” Salo said.

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association would happily accept any unneeded deer hides for its Hides for Habitat program, which markets donated hides and uses the proceeds to fund habitat projects. The program has generated $4.9 million since 1985.

While illegally dumped carcasses give hunters a bad name, it’s a hard crime to prosecute, said Anthony Bermel, a DNR conservation officer stationed in Babbitt.

Bermel was able to take action against one hunter who illegally dumped deer after the hunter left his tag on the carcass.

“If we get lucky like that, great, but 99 percent of them are basically untraceable,” Bermel said.

It particularly bothers Bermel that not only are the carcasses illegally dumped on public property so frequently, but that they are so often left in places where the public is likely to see the remains.

“People see them, and it’s a bad image for the hunting public,” he said. “It’s something that people complain a lot about. The stuff along the road makes a mess and makes us look bad. It ends up taking up a lot of our time when it shouldn’t have been dumped there in the first place.”

Deer dumping showed repeatedly in this week’s report from Minnesota conservation officers:

•CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) received complaints regarding dogs feeding on deer carcasses. 

•CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) received calls regarding dumped deer carcasses.

•CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received calls of poached deer, which turned out to be dumped carcasses from the regular season.

•CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received numerous calls of deer carcasses being illegally dumped. 

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