Animals around the Basin: Final thoughts on deer

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Dennis Clay

Columbia Basin deer can be a pest. There are people who canít raise roses, because deer show up and eat the flowers. These animals enjoy other flowers and vegetables, as well.

The small town had a deer problem a few years ago. The deer seemed to be everywhere in town. One man was watching a grade-schooler as she walked home from school.

The girl started to turn a corner and stopped, hesitant to walk ahead. The man went out to see what was happening. There was a doe challenging the girl and not letting her pass.

Another girl in the area was raising a rabbit. One day she headed outside to feed her pet. Standing near the rabbit hutch and eating the food on the ground was a large buck.

Such incidents havenít happened in the Basin, yet. At least they havenít come to my attention. As always, be careful around wild animals.

Some people use a hand-held air horn to scare away deer. Others have used a paint gun. The deer in one community became rather colorful, after a winter of being hit with paint gun ammunition.

A more serious problem with deer is vehicle collisions. A deer can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a car or pickup, plus human injuries.

A major change about vehicle-deer collisions is the meat is now salvageable. There is a procedure and rules to follow in order to take charge of the meat.

Here are some of the Fish and Wildlife rules for salvaging this meat:

It is permissible to salvage and transport a deer or elk that is accidentally killed by a motor vehicle collision in Eastern Washington. A salvage permit must be obtained from the department within 24 hours of taking possession of the animal.

Big game licenses and tags cannot be used for the purpose of salvaging motor vehicle-killed deer or elk.

The entire carcass, including entrails, of the animal must be removed from the road right of way. The department makes no guarantee as to the fitness for consumption of deer or elk collected under a salvage permit.

An individual may not kill an injured or wounded animal for the purpose of salvage. A law enforcement officer or individuals or entities authorized by the department may euthanize an animal injured in a motor vehicle collision.

A deer or elk hit in the middle most likely wonít have much good meat. However, many times such an animal just has a broken leg or two, with little meat damaged.

Salvaging the meat provides food otherwise going to waste.

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