Is Gutting A Deer In Public A Crime?

gutdeerI remember reading several years ago about a Connecticut man who was arrested after local residents saw him use a hunting knife to gut a deer. The man, who said wanted to show his sons how it was done, conducted the procedure in the back lot of an apartment building.

He told officers he found the carcass on the side of a state road and brought it to the parking lot, where he proceeded to show his sons field-dressing technique. But witnesses called the behavior “shocking.” When the arresting officer arrived at the scene, he reported that he was “overcome by a very strong smell emanating from the carcass,” and charged the man with disorderly conduct.

Okay, the guy probably violated a transport law about picking a dead deer off the road, and you can question his smarts to gut the animal in the public parking lot. But give me a break—disorderly conduct? In this Snowflake world, he was getting his kids off their phones for a minute and teaching his kids some real-world stuff. Ridiculous!

It reminds me how this world has changed.

It also reminds me of the time about 20 years ago when I took a young buck to my local butcher shop here in Virginia one Saturday morning. The place has long gone out of business, and there’s a Subway there now (yes, times have changed, but I love a 6-inch turkey breast on wheat).

I wanted the butcher man to cut up my buck, but he said he only took skinned animals. I had gutted the deer earlier in the woods, but left the hide on. “Just go out back and rip the skin off and we’ll get ‘er done,” he said.

I didn’t think twice about it. Dropped the tailgate, pulled out my knife and started cutting and pulling hide. Pretty soon a small crowd formed around, men, moms and kids, and I was holding an impromptu deer-skinning seminar. I got lots of questions and shared some laughs. Nobody looked at me like I was some redneck savage. And nobody called the cops.

My Lord, what if I tried that today? Viral on social media? Locked up?

What’s the weirdest place you’ve gutted a deer?

Maine: Deer Rides Ice Floe To Safety

maine ice deer

From the Bangor Daily News: When the Allagash and St. John rivers finally begin moving after spending five months frozen over, it can be a spectator sport for local residents. On Monday, many of those residents got more than they bargained for as a young deer floated past on an ice floe.

Sue Underhill Kelly was one of those who captured the scene and shared it on Facebook. “We were holding our breath as it floated by and it looked right at us…”Kelly wrote in a text exchange. “We were thinking certain death. But we watched it stay afloat until it went out of sight around a bend. We jumped in the truck and went downstream and saw it still holding on. Again, we watched until out of sight.”

Several miles farther on, another spectator, Bev Jandreau of St. Francis, captured the final moments of the ride down river. As the chunk of ice began to break up and floated near shore, the deer leaped and made it to dry ground.

As far as we know, all’s well that end well.



2017-18 Virginia Deer Harvest

va 2017 tyler 1.jpg compressDuring the 2017–18 season, hunters harvested 189,730 deer in Virginia. This total included 95,474 antlered bucks, 12,822 button bucks, and 81,434 does (43% of the total harvest).

Archery hunters killed 27,630 deer…muzzleloader hunters shot 48,811 animals…and firearms hunters (rifles and shotguns) shot 113,169 deer, or 60% of the total.

Deer hunting with dogs accounted for approximately 54% of the total firearms deer harvest in the 59 eastern counties where deer-dog hunting is legal.

Approximately 157,500 deer (83%) were checked using the Department’s electronic telephone and online checking through the Go Outdoors Virginia portal.

According to Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox, the stable or declining deer harvest trends experienced in most Virginia counties over the past decade were expected. Knox further noted that the Department’s primary deer management effort over the past decade had been to increase the doe harvest over much of the state, especially on private lands in eastern Virginia, to meet the deer population objectives of stabilizing or reducing deer populations found in the Department’s deer management plan.

Late Spring Shed Hunting

iowa shedTyler Knott of Iowa is still shed hunting, and he just found this 72 6/8” left side.

The late spring of 2018 has the woods still brown and open, with “green up” still a good week or two away. Conditions are great for one last day or two of shed hunting in an around bedding areas.

Hit the woods, find a deer trail and follow it until you come to a thick and obvious area where deer stage and/or bed. Back in the fall hunting season you would have stopped, tested the wind and worked the outer fringes of such a sanctuary so as not to spook any deer. But now, plow right in.

Go slow and look close for brown or white bones. If you hit 3 or 4 good bedding sites one day this week, I bet you’ll find one or 2, and maybe a big one.

While you’re at it, note the rub lines, old scrapes and trails you’ll probably find in and around the cover. Get an idea of the easiest and best-hidden routes a mature buck uses to enter and exit the cover according to various winds. That intel will help when you come back to hunt the area this fall.

Spring: Deer Antler Growth Cycle

Microsoft PowerPoint - Antler Growth Cycle Figure.pptx






This graphic from the Mississippi State Deer Lab shows the entire antler growth cycle…here we focus on spring growth, what is happening right now:

New antler growth resumes about 3 weeks after (old) antler drop, on a scab that has formed over the pedicles. A growing antler is covered with velvet and grows from the tip. Antler growth is slow during April-May and becomes more rapid during June-July, especially in older bucks.