Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is Poaching an Issue in N.Y.?

On an excursion through the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land at the south end inlet of Conesus lake yesterday, we came across three deer rib cages and a pile of bones. The cut hair and skin deliberately pulled down toward where the neck would have met the body heavily suggested the remains had been left by humans. 

Twenty feet away was a fourth carcass, shown above. To the shame of my inner detective heart, I chose not to open the bag. These bodies make for five deer carcasses found by happenstance in less than a month. This raised a lot of questions so I did a little digging and discovered deer poaching is an issue in New York state. National Geographic and others have published stories on poaching in Africa when it is also happening here on our own soil. Granted, the deer are far from extinction like the rhino is, but "deer jacking" is illegal and unfair to animals. In 2011 the DEC released a statement (hover here for the story) listing ticketed persons for poaching across the state and into New England. 

My mom suspected the deer we found may have been gutted and dressed at a home instead of at a taxidermist or deer processor and the remains dumped with no better place to leave them. But why leave the heads, a single horn, the trash bag, or the skins? And why was one of the rib cages significantly smaller than the others- the size of a fawn? It could be well worth pursuing to see how big of an issue it is. 

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