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 Margulis.