In Colorado, their Division of Wildlife instructs hunters to transport deer out of sight if possible. The Pennsylvania Game Commission states: “Please do not display deer on open racks or in truck beds with tailgates down.” They believe hunters need to be more aware of their image and the effect it can have on the non hunting public.
The problem does not necessarily lie with the tradition of hunting. It has more to do with a society that is becoming increasingly disconnected from our wildlife resources and what it takes to adequately sustain it. The same people who may be bothered by a deer carcass don’t comprehend the hamburger they ate the night before was once in the same situation.
But perception is reality and hunters need to be cognizant of how we transport our game. In fact, not unduly displaying dead, big-game animals is becoming widely accepted as part of ethical hunting. One of the easiest ways to respectfully transport game is to simply cover it with a tarp. Not only does this keep the animal hidden from sensitive eyes, it also protects the game from dirt, grime and the elements outside.
It was just a few weeks back my friend Mark Pyne collected a beautiful 10-point buck while hunting the urban zone in Marion County. The Indianapolis skyline could be seen in the distance and houses bordered two sides of the woodlot he hunted. Instead of dragging his buck straight to the truck, a distance of only a hundred yards, Pyne painstakingly hauled it nearly a half mile. He then walked all the way back to his vehicle before driving to the area where he left his buck.
Why did he do this?
“I didn’t want to upset anyone by seeing me drag a dead deer next to their backyards,” he explained. “Why cause any problems if you don’t have to?”