Pillory: Droppin’ Bodies

Carcass-dumpers take their turn in the pillory.  

When you think of Montana hunters and Montana hunting, you think horsemen and elk. You think snow-capped mountains and amber meadows. Earnest, reverential hunters and time-honored tradition. You don’t think road-hunting, beer-swilling rednecks, blasting away at everything that moves. You don’t think stupidity, selfishness, and disrespect. 

But that’s what we’re getting these days, folks, and the most obvious manifestation is carcasses dumped at trailheads. When did this become okay? It certainly wasn’t a generation ago and it shouldn’t be today. There are many reasons not to leave a carcass at a Bozeman-area trailhead, but the most obvious is respect, and that’s why this season’s pillory is dedicated to carcass-dumpers.

We’re talking about the a-holes who shoot a deer or maybe an elk, take only the quarters and maybe the backstraps, then dump the remains at a trailhead. It’s lazy, it’s dangerous, and it’s disrespectful—to the game and to one’s neighbors.

Bloody carcasses near humans are a recipe for disaster. Carrion attracts predators, like bears and lions. And when predators come into contact with people, more often than not, the animals get the worst of it. Wild critters have it hard enough as it is; there’s no reason to make things even more difficult for them. Plus, hikers, bikers, runners, and other hunters are put in harm’s way when predators are drawn closer to human infrastructure.

Dumping carcasses at trailheads is not only unethical, it’s illegal—and while we aren’t beyond bending the law from time to time, in this instance we side with Big Brother, because for once he’s making sense. There are plenty of ways to safely, considerately, and legally dispose of your quarry. You did well to get some meat to last you through the winter and beyond. Don’t sully that tradition by dragging the finale through the mud. If you do, it’s off to the pillory with you—and instead of rotten fruit, expect the nasty entrails of your animal to be hurled upon you.