Hunters illegally dispose of carcasses

Some hunters in the Texas Panhandle are illegally dumping the carcasses of hogs and deer onto the side of the road and onto people's property.

Invasive feral hogs can be shot as long as the hunter has a hunting license and permission from the landowner. However, hunters are required to either leave the carcass where it lay after being shot or they must dispose of it properly. That is, not place it in public right-of-ways or dump it onto other property.

"What those people are doing is they're skinning the front half and taking the head to get a shoulder mount done," Wildlife Damage Management Technician David Pipkin said, "and take it to a taxidermist so they can hang it on their wall."

According to Game Warden Frank Niemiec, carcasses can be placed in public dumpsters as long as they are bagged and are not accessible by bugs and other animals.

"This whole situation is a misunderstanding of disposing of game as any other waste," he said.

The guidelines for hunting deer are the same, with the addition that meat from the forequarters, hindquarters and back straps must be taken so as not to fall under the waste of game category. Shooting a deer simply to take the antlers is not acceptable in Texas Parks & Wildlife's book.

Waste of game is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $500. Those with one or more prior convictions will face a state jail felony.

Illegally dumping a carcass is considered littering and is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per item tossed.

State Game Warden Shane Lewis says this is not a new problem and that he has been receiving calls on this issue for a while now.

"That shows me signs of unethical hunters," he said. "The only thing I could think is there's maybe some possible illegal activity connected with those pigs- maybe they're shooting in areas they shouldn't be, maybe trespassing, something like that and they're trying to take them out of these areas."

Though there are hunters who are breaking the law, Lewis says the majority of hunters abide by the rules and respect the sport they partake in.

"It's not a good practice and, in fact, it looks bad on the hunters that are trying to do the right thing."

Lewis asks anyone who witnesses someone dumping a carcass illegally to record the license plate number and any details they can. Contacting Texas Parks & Wildlife with this information will help the game wardens to enforce the laws.