Hunting season dumping a problem for residents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2004

With more than 500,000 deer killed legally in the state each hunting season, some rural residents find carcasses dumped illegally on their property during the hunting months.

Sarah Tackett of Chelsea said she has lived on Shelby County Highway 39 for 16 years, and she has to pick up discarded deer carcasses every hunting season.

&uot;We’ve been cleaning up our property for 16 years, especially during hunting season,&uot; Tackett said.

Trash and deer carcasses remain in the woods along the unpaved Daysprings Road in Chelsea.

The road, which traces the back portion of the King’s Ranch property and other private residences, has trails some hunters use illegally as dumping grounds for their deer carcasses.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven said he went and looked at some of the property and noticed some debris.

He said the city will soon adopt a litter ordinance to target illegal dumping.

Once the ordinance is passed, he said fines will be levied against violators.

Robert Kelley, environmental manager for the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, said hunters have always dumped deer along the sideS of roads and in the woods.

&uot;It’s a problem on backroads,&uot; he said. &uot;Hunters field-strip them and leave them.&uot;

Kelley said county crews pick up carcasses that are left on the sideS of roads, but they do not patrol private property.

&uot;I do know a lot of those carcasses are out there. Hunters have done it for years,&uot; he said.

Hunters can find information on proper and legal disposal of deer carcasses at the Web site for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

According to Assistant Chief Craig Hill of the enforcement division of the department, hunters must have permission to leave carcasses on private property or else they can leave them on their own property.

Hill said it is illegal to dump carcasses in creeks and creeks or on private land without permission.

He suggested digging a pit or composting carcasses.

Hill said he understands the irritation that landowners feel when they encounter illegally dumped carcasses on their property.

&uot;We would like to not see them do that. It looks bad,&uot; he said.

&uot;I can understand people being upset.&uot;

Still, Hill said he believes that only a small portion of licensed hunters dump illegally.

According to a mail survey conducted by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, there were 227,700 licensed deer hunters during the 2002-03 hunting season.

A total of about 507,800 deer were legally killed during last year’s hunting season.

With that number of deer, Hill said, carcasses must be taken care of.

&uot;We’ll most definitely make a case if we see them dumping illegally, and they’ll be subject to arrest,&uot; he said