By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
CHAPEL HILL - The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer for Marshall County says leaving field-cleaned deer carcasses alongside a public road is littering and it became a problem during this recent hunting season.
"We have a bad problem where people dump them on the side of the road; three to seven at a time," TWRA Officer Doug Lowery said last week when asked about deer found north of town. "I don't know about that particular place, but we do have a problem with people dumping carcasses along side of the road. That's illegal. In fact, it's littering."
Lowery took the opportunity during a mobile telephone interview to point out a few other things about the problem.
"Not only is it illegal and an eye sore, it gives hunters a bad name," the wildlife officer continued. "I'd hope the majority of the hunters would dispose of the carcasses in the proper manner."
If they don't "it's laziness as far as I'm concerned," Lowery said. "The proper method is to leave it in the back of the woods. Obviously, buzzards, mammals and bobcats will eat of it and, over time, it does begin to smell."
Marshall County Sheriff Norman Dalton and another ranking lawman in the county confirmed that there have been complaints about four carcasses left on Crutcher Road near the railroad tracks.
"We got a call about four that were dumped," Dalton said. "Maybe some deer hunters don't have the money to have them processed, so they're littering the road with a dead carcass."
Lowery's comments supported that view: "A lot will just take the back strap, tenderloin and the rear hams and leave the rest."
As for this winter's harvest of deer, Lowery said, "It'll be a couple thousand in Marshall County.
"There's a bag limit of three does a day," he said. "Very few will kill three a day, mostly because they can't hunt every day, but within a weekend, they could kill six does and two bucks,
"Jan. 1 is the end of the open season and then it's closed until the next weekend for the two-day juvenile hunt Saturday and Sunday. Then there's no deer hunting until next fall.
"Our herd is not growing as fast as some other areas. The harvest has been such that it's had slow growth. The population is not overly abundant, but we have plenty. The habitat is plentiful.
"Another problem is the interface between deer and people at crops, gardens and roads."