Three hooves hastily left poking out of a city garbage bin outside Princess Falls has at least one resident wondering who could be potentially poaching deer in the parkland that backs onto the Chedoke Expressway.
“I can’t believe anyone would do something like that,” said David Crux, after he approached a dumpster filled with the remains of a deer left in three Home Depot plastic bags. “It’s hard to believe.”
The remains were spotted by a CBC cameraman Wednesday morning, apparently fresh, free of flies or animals that might scavenge on the entrails and legs left behind.
The garbage bin was at the entrance of the Iroquois Heights Conservation Area, a popular area for hikers and runners who can access Chedoke Radial Trail and the Bruce Trail. It is also an area known to have a sizeable deer population and where there has been evidence of poaching in past years.
Crux saw the cameraman looking into the bin while walking his dog in the area. It’s not clear if the head or meat of the deer had been taken or was deeper inside the garbage bin.
Scott Peck, the director of watershed planning and engineering at the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) said he's heard of poaching in the area, adding that what was left behind may be indicative of poachers.
"Certainly (it) sounds like they’ve taken the parts of that deer that could be consumed or used for other purposes," said Peck. "But to say whether that’s indicative of evidence of poaching? I don’t know. It certainly sounds like that, but to say it equivocally one way or the other, I don’t know."
Peck said deer are more active this time of year as the last of the snow melts, but poaching is typically not related to any particular season.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) said it's not unusual to get calls about potential poached deer in Hamilton, however not more than any other region.
Despite that, what happened Wednesday was not reported to the MNR, and is out of their jurisdiction.
"Leaving the remains in a dumpster does not violate our legislation," said Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson for the ministry, by email.
Kowalski cautioned that the remains could be from road kill or authorized deer removal, and said what kind of injuries that could be discovered on the deer would dictate how far any potential investigation would go, if they receive a call on the remains, which they had not.
The HCA tracks deer populations in Hamilton and the surrounding area through the Deer Management Advisory Committee, and also monitors an annual deer hunt led by the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations).
Animal Services was not available Wednesday for comment.
Peck said anyone who spots potential poaching should call the Ministry of Natural Resources poaching tip line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).