Dispatching live big game hit by drivers

Discussion in 'The Outdoorsman Wire' started by gavinspop, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. Took my son on his first big game hunt this last weekend in 23 for mulies. Hunted hard all day with no luck and on our way home came upon a woman and teenagers that had just hit a buck on the highway. They clipped it with the drivers front corner so both of the animal's front legs were snapped at the knees and it was trying to jump up and run unsuccessfully. It could only move about 2 feet at a time. We were the only 2 vehicles on the stretch of highway. They were taking pictures of it suffering and yelling at the mom for texting and not paying attention to the road SMH...

    I pull over and they're crying and standing around as it makes it's way to the ditch by the road side. Panting, moaning, and just miserable. So I got out of my truck and asked if anyone had called 911 yet. They said no that they didn't know what to do. So I told one to call and to get back and that they'd hear a gun shot. Planned to fire one round directly into the back of the skull to put it out of it's misery. Got my glock, walked back toward the deer and then I hear someone laying on their horn and tires screeching to a halt. I holster and look up and it's law enforcement.

    From my point of view, we were 40-50 minutes from any town or city and no one had called 911 yet so I thought it could take a while for someone to show up and that it was the right thing to do for the animal. The officer took care of business and we didn't get a chance to speak because cars had piled up going both directions and I needed to get my truck out of the way. Anyone here know the legalities of this? Back east growing up that's what everyone did. Law enforcement would pull up, thank you for putting it out of it's misery and then write a salvage tag. I'm wondering if laws are different here in AZ and if I could have been charged with something based on the officer's demeanor?? Scares the crap out of me that I don't know the answer to that and run in to this situation often with where I live. I've been digging around and can't figure out if it's a violation or a crime? Anyone know the straight answer?
     
  2. rk

    rk Staff Member Super Mod Mod Premium Member

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    I suspect that the officer could have cited you if you had dispatched the animal yourself and if he got up on the wrong side of the bed. As tough as it would be, I have a feeling the "legal" thing to do would be to let the animal suffer until some sort of LEO arrived.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021

  3. Ok, that's what I'm wondering. I know we have several LEO that are members here so wondered what their take was? Would you consider citing someone who had just done this safely/effectively/etc etc etc... I wonder if it would be a fine or a misdemeanor and that scares the hell out of me. I want to know so I can educate my son as well. Before this incident I would have advised him to do exactly what I did and now I'm questioning it?
     
  4. rk

    rk Staff Member Super Mod Mod Premium Member

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  5. Yeah, any professionals who can shed some light on this would be much appreciated. Is this actually illegal? Just frowned upon? A G&F violation only? Thank you in advance. I did read for 2 hours this morning and can't find a straight answer.
     
  6. lynn1130

    lynn1130 Staff Member Mod Premium Member

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    I am not sure what the officer's demeanor was because I don't recall you mentioning any more than he pulled up but I seriously doubt that if you had dispatched the animal in a safe manner, that did not endanger any bystanders anything more would have been done. Had G&F showed up that is what they would have done also. The only violations that would come into play would have been hazards to other people there with use of the firearm. Again, if everyone is safe, it's no harm, no foul. I have seen farm animals shot by a drive up just so the animal did not suffer and it is pretty much the same with game animals, in-fact, I dispatched a 3 legged deer for a game ranger at one location.

    So, I cannot see where there is an issue with finishing a suffering animal. Had I been there I probably would have called Game Stop, given them the scenario (they are G&F dispatchers) and told I was going to put the animal out of misery. I know at one time those animals went to charity locations for the meat but they had to stop that because of meat inspection laws. I don't know if they still allow the vehicle driver to take and process it or not.

    Legal? by the exact letter of the law, who knows because there extenuating circumstances. I would never write a cite for something like that and doubt that anyone else is going to either. How do I convince a judge you did a bad thing? You won't find an answer. It is a judgement call and whomever shows up will evaluate it and few if any are going to second guess that one.
     
    John McLaughlin, SteveG and bearfoot1 like this.
  7. That helps Lynn, thank you.

    As far as demeanor goes, I could have elaborated. I just wasn't trying to put a negative light on it. He seemed very irritated. When I say that it's because he skidded to a halt and left about 40 ft of rubber on the road while laying on his horn as if there was an immediate threat. When approaching me/the deer, I went to apologize because he seemed so irritated and he put a hand in my face and kept walking. It seemed a little strange to me, unless of course I had done something wrong/irresponsible/illegal? So I guess his reaction is what made me question my actions to begin with.

    Guess I'll call myself next time just to be safe.

    As far as LEO writing salvage tags, yes they still do. I came up on a guy who had hit a cow elk on Nov 10 2020 between Heber and Show Low. The guy was fine and a vegan so he offered the elk to me. DPS wrote me a salvage tag for free and I ran it up to my butcher in Taylor. Got 185 lbs of meat back. The officer explained that it used to only be the driver that was allowed to take the animal, but now they would rather see it get taken by anyone than be wasted on the side of the road. With this deer, I asked the woman if she wanted to take it and she replied "Of course! Look what the mother****** did to my car!....

    Zero regard for the animals life or dignity. Again, wish my son hadn't seen all of this but.?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 8:01 AM
  8. lynn1130

    lynn1130 Staff Member Mod Premium Member

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    Just a late thought on that situation. If I were the local LEO that showed up and you had dispatched the animal I would have deferred to G&F for the cite, if I even thought one was necessary, and I don't. I think I wrote one Title 17 cite in all my years and that was with the Game Manager standing by me giving me direction. They know those laws much better than local just because they get more training in it and write more of them.
     
  9. Oh I gotcha. That makes sense. Well thanks for the info. I feel better about it now.

    Maybe he was having a bad day or was newer or something. Probably never know?