Failure to Field Dress

The failure to properly dress wildlife in accordance with stringent time and manner requirements can subject one to serious fines, hunting license revocation, and even criminal charges in many states.

Hunters typically find themselves charged under a provision entitled "Willful Destruction of Wildlife," when they have failed to properly dress the animals they legally shot. Often times, the same hunter will also be charged under another provision, often entitled "Waste of Edible Game Wildlife." These laws require diligence on the part of hunters, and game wardens will not let anyone off the hook, even for accidents or exigent circumstances, when they discover violations of these laws.

Most states require hunters to make an immediate attempt to locate the wildlife they have injured or killed. Then, upon discovering the wildlife, hunters must promptly dress the animal and utilize all "edible" portions of the wildlife.

It is illegal to abandon the carcass or body of the wildlife, while taking only certain portions of it, such as the antlers, horns or feathers. Failure to remove the wildlife from the location where it is injured or killed may even subject an individual to felony charges, if the wildlife is big game, an eagle, or an endangered species.

It is irrelevant under the eyes of the law whether circumstances surrounding the hunt may make it nearly impossible to conform entirely with the law. If the sun has set and a hunter finds himself alone and in the dark, the law presumes he was aware of such circumstances, and may not consider the surrounding circumstances in its prosecution of him, should he fail to properly dress the wildlife he has hunted.

For legal assistance and individual care, contact one of our wildlife violation defense lawyers from Feldmann Nagel Cantafio & Song PLLC.

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