Since Halloween is fast approaching, I believe the topic for today’s column is completely acceptable. If you disagree, stop reading now.
The topic for today’s column is: Headless deer.
By this I don’t mean deer unfortunately born without a head (if that ever happens), but rather deer that are beheaded by weirdos after they (the deer, not the weirdos) are hit by cars.
According to news reports, there have been numerous roadkill-deer beheadings in Bergen County in recent weeks. The decapitated carcasses are being found along streets and highways, traumatizing passersby, and the supposition is that the heads are being taken as trophies.
Channel 12 News even interviewed the owner of a taxidermy shop who said, “I think it’s a fascination with antlers.” Okay. T
he sight of a headless deer would traumatize me, but what scares me even more is the thought that there are people driving around carrying in their cars the means (axe? machete? broadsword?) to behead a deer carcass. Can you imagine getting into a road-rage incident with one of these individuals?
And what do they do with the head once they get home? “Hey, kids! Look what Daddy brought you!”
Since it’s illegal (there actually is a law; $500 fine for a first offense) to behead a dead deer in New Jersey, I doubt the headhunters are taking them to professional taxidermists. And amateur taxidermy can stink. Literally.
This is deer-mating season, so the bucks and the does are on the move, seeking true love. Blinded by romance, they tend to wander into the roads, especially at night. Keep your eyes open.
While deer are not a common sight in Observer towns, they have visited. There was one running around Kearny awhile back, at midday, eluding all efforts to catch it and finally disappearing down the old railroad cut off Beech St.
I have seen dead deer on Rt. 21, and a couple of months back, there was a very large deer carcass on Main St. in Belleville, where the power lines are. I have been told that the deer come down the power- line cut from the northern Jersey woods, probably seeking new territory since their habitat is rapidly disappearing. Poor things don’t realize that Belleville, Kearny and surrounding communities are not conducive to any wildlife larger than a groundhog. And that’s pushing it.
Now, although it is against the law to behead a dead deer in Jersey, I have learned it is legal to “harvest” the entire corpse for personal consumption.
According to the N.J. Division of Fish & Wildlife: “Deer accidentally killed by motor vehicles [only deer; no other roadkill] may be possessed only for private consumption by obtaining a free permit from the local police department or from a Fish & Wildlife regional law enforcement office. The permit authorizes only possession of the meat for consumption and is valid only for 90 days. The possession of all other parts such as antlers, under terms of this permit, are expressly prohibited. Wrapped venison packages must be labeled with the permit number.’’
Regarding that permit from local police, I’d suggest calling them first. Such permits may be common in the hinterlands, but when I asked a couple of local law enforcement types about this, they laughed at me.
I’d also suggest trying to find out how to determine if a roadkill deer is still edible. Unless you saw the actual fatal encounter between deer and car, you’ll have no idea how long the thing has been lying there. Not a very appetizing thought.
If you find all this distasteful (I warned you) note the following from wikiHow.com, which states that “for a growing number of freegans, foragers, back-to-nature lifestylers, and for those with budgetary constraints, eating roadkill can be a great source of nourishment . . . .”
I’d prefer the old Kraft Road Kill Gummies, but the company had to stop producing them after animal-rights groups protested. (I am not making this up.) Road Kill Gummies are again available, online, but they all appear to be made in China, and I refuse to consume anything made in China.
As someone (was it Stephen Colbert?) said, “Everything in China is made of lead. Except their lead, which is made of cardboard.”
– Karen Zautyk