Should Hunters be Allowed to Sell Deer Hides, Parts?

The legality of selling parts of a white-tailed deer depends on the state you live in and whether its laws or regulations apply to commercially licensed dealers or private individuals.

Should hunters be able to sell parts of a deer they kill?

Should hunters be able to sell parts of a deer they kill?

That’s a point of contention among some hunters who wouldn’t mind picking up a few extra bucks — no pun intended — after removing the meat they want. They might be able to sell the hide, antlers, bones or other leftovers to someone or a company.

It’s an interesting issue worthy of debate. Wild animals are considered to be owned by “the public” and managed by state or federal agencies. Laws prohibiting the sale of wildlife parts are designed, in part, to protect from overharvest. Yet when a hunter shoots a deer (or ducks, elk, moose, or a turkey) then that animal becomes his through possession and he’s required by law and (for most of us) personal ethics to retrieve it and use it, or give it to someone who will use it.

Yet in that latter scenario, depending on state laws, the owner of the deer or other game cannot sell parts of the animal. That’s what a North Carolina legislator is trying to change with his bill that would let hunters sell deer hides.

From the Wilkes Journal-Patriot:

Rep. Jeffrey Elmore of Wilkesboro is the primary sponsor of a bill allowing hunters to sell the skins of deer they kill. Elmore, a Republican, said it’s already legal to sell deer hides in most other states. “This bill will help reduce the problems with deer carcass waste,” he said.

If the legislation passes, said Elmore, hunters would still be subject to existing tagging and reporting requirements and season limits. Elmore’s legislation, House Bill 601, was approved on first reading and has been referred to the House Committee on Wildlife Resources. It was introduced on April 6.

Elmore and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officials don’t believe the number of deer hides that might be sold would be detrimental or become an overharvest problem. Deer processors also are often left with hides (and other parts) they have to discard, unless state laws allow the processors to sell those parts.

Elmore’s bill would allow the sale of hides in North Carolina to begin Oct. 1, if it receives formal approval.

What do you think about this? Should hunters be able to sell all or part of the deer they kill? Or should only licensed processors or dealers be allowed to do so to bigger companies? Let us know with your comments.

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