Warning: This story contains images of dead deer that some viewers may find disturbing.
POLKTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials are investigating whether two dead deer found south of Coopersville were poached or illegally dumped.
Dave Hastings discovered the carcasses of a buck and a doe on his property along Mill Road west of 48th Avenue in Polkton Township Tuesday, the day before the opening of regular firearm deer hunting season.
“I think somebody shot this buck, they gut it out … and you can see they cut the horns off,” he showed 24 Hour News 8. “My guess is that they were going to take the deer and then they got scared off.”
Hastings, who hunts, said he was appalled that anyone would kill deer, not take the meat and then dump them on someone else’s land.
“It was disturbing. You know, it made my guts turn upside down,” he said.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it is investigating the case as possible poaching, but hasn’t yet confirmed that.
“Just because we find two carcasses, sometimes that means poaching, but sometimes it just means it may have been deer that were legally taken and they were illegally dumped, which is against the law,” Lt. Gerald Thayer of the DNR’s Plainwell office said.
“Suppose those deer were contaminated with some type of disease and other critters are chewing on it and now that’s not a good thing. So we ask our hunters to properly landfill their deer parts they don’t want,” he continued.
He said poaching is a problem across the state and that the DNR has seen an increase in hunters not buying licenses before they make a kill.
Hastings said hunters in his rural neighborhood practice quality deer management and do not hunt small bucks. He posted a warning about his discovery on Facebook.
“To actually take the deer’s horns and only the horns, that’s pretty disturbing,” he said. “That somebody would take a poached deer, cut the horns off, leave the meat and the carcass here and go brag to their buddies that they got this deer.”