Many hunting seasons are open including upland birds and other small game animals, waterfowl, turkey and deer. With all these seasons open, hunters need to know how to properly dispose of their game animal carcasses. The answer is really very simple: In your curbside dumpster after the meat has been removed.
Dumping of carcasses is not allowed on public areas and should never be done by anyone. Public areas include Nebraska state recreation areas or wildlife management areas along with parks, refuges and other lands.
Dumping carcasses on roadsides or public areas is not only prohibited, it makes true hunters look bad in the public eye and is irresponsible and disrespectful to the animal harvested. Even if the game animal has had the meat taken off the carcass for consumption but is dumped on a roadside, it is an irresponsible way to dispose of the carcass when it can be placed in a garbage container.
After making calls across the state, I found that many local curbside refuse collection agencies allow for the depositing of game carcasses in their curb-side trash containers. North Platte residents may dispose of game in curbside containers. Check with your local city or town to see what regulations are for disposing of game carcasses.
Refuse collectors would prefer that deer be quartered — not the entire whole deer in the refuse container — and bagged in durable trash bags. Bagged deer, waterfowl, upland and other game should be placed in the refuse container the day of your neighborhood trash pick up if possible.
If you are a private land owner, you are allowed to dispose of the carcasses on your property with or without being buried. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality would prefer that carcasses be disposed of in curbside containers or buried at least four feet below the surface of the ground, lowering the possibility of spreading a disease.
The NDEQ also recommends avoiding leaving carcasses in or near water bodies to prevent potential health impacts in water bodies or downstream from decaying carcasses.
Wasting game is unlawful and is punishable by fines and penalties. True sportsmen and women in the field take care to be ethical and respect animals and laws, they use all the meat and properly dispose of game carcasses.
Help the hungry during deer seasons
Deer hunters that enjoy the sport of hunting but may not want to keep the meat are encouraged to help other Nebraskans that may need meat for their tables.
The program is simple: Hunters take deer to participating contracted lockers in their area at no cost to the hunter to process the deer meat. Hunters should first talk with processors, and may keep antlers, head and cape, and donate the rest of the deer. Processors accept only whole deer in good condition to ensure a good yield of pure ground venison. Once processed, the venison is picked up by charitable organizations that distribute the venison to Nebraska residents in need.
The Hunters Helping the Hungry program is a tax-deductible, donation-funded program. Those wishing to support the program can donate online when purchasing licenses and stamps from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website, when filling out a deer hunting application and donations can be made by anyone wanting to help by sending a check to NGPC, PO Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370.
Any whole, field-dressed deer harvested and checked with a valid Nebraska deer permit is eligible for donation at any one of the contracted processors.
In our area processors include: Kelley’s Custom Pack, 1621 E. Eighth St., North Platte, 308-534-7464; Busy Bones Butcher, 75829 Road 426, Cozad, 308-784-3663; Steakmaster, 74276 Road 426, Elwood, 308-785-2002;
Deer hides for veterans
Hunters can take the hides of deer, antelope and elk to the Elks Lodge No. 985 in North Platte, where hides will be made into specially designed leather gloves for wheelchair-bound veterans. The Veterans Leather Program provides leather gloves for vets, lending protection to their hands during movement.
Every part of the tanned hides is used by veterans for other projects like key chains, wallets, belts and more from remnant pieces of the leather.
The tanned leather is used for recreational and occupational therapy for our vets as a way to pass time between visits from friends and family, as well as provide relief for vets by keeping their minds active and providing exercise for injured and unused muscles.
Hides with the head and legs removed can be taken to the Elks Lodge at 502 Easy St. on the southeast side of the building. If hunters have time, there is salt and a coffee can available to salt down hides. Use a half can to a full can of salt per hide. Once salted, the hides can be folded and stacked with other salted hides making them ready for shipping to be tanned and processed into leather for gloves and other projects.
For more information, call 308-940-0987, 308-530-3260, 308- 532-7079 or 308-532-7933. Hides will be accepted until the end of January 2018.