Nevada wildlife chief proposed antelope barbecue for officials
LAS VEGAS (AP) ” Nevada’s top wildlife chief suggested barbecuing antelope accidentally killed during an aerial round-up in January and serving the meat to legislators and department staff at a “wildlife appreciation day” event, a newspaper reported.
In a departure from usual practices, Wildlife Director Ken Mayer suggested serving meat from animals accidentally killed in the Elko County capture at the event in June, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday.
“Some of these legislators have no clue what wild game tastes like,” Mayer said, adding that he “didn’t give a direct order” to use the meat for a barbecue but biologists thought it would be a reasonable thing to do.
Chief state Game Warden Rob Buonamici characterized the actions as “questionable,” but told the Review-Journal he was not sure any illegal act had been committed.
“For Joe Blow citizen, if one of them would have done that, I would have knocked on their door because it’s property of the people of the state it belonged to. I would have just said, ‘Hey, turn it over. We’re going to dispose of it,'” Buonamici said.
Eleven out of 300 antelope accidentally died in an aerial net-gunning capture by Nevada biologists in Elko County this year, officials said.
Mayer said he participated in the capture in an area ravaged by wildfires, where biologists culled herds to keep antelope from starving. Captured antelope were transported about a four-hour drive south and east of Elko, and released.
Mayer said that on the second day, a metal weight for a net that had been fired from a special rifle aboard a helicopter struck an antelope and killed it. Most of the other 10 animals were unfit for human consumption, including some that died in the release area.
The usual practice has been to turn over big game killed in state-sponsored trapping operations to people who rehabilitate wild animals, or to leave the carcasses in remote areas for wildlife.
Mayer said he asked whether arrangements had been made with a local American Indian tribe to give it to them, adding that when he found that wasn’t the case, “Since we didn’t have a tribe or rehabilitator lined up, I said we’ll have a wildlife appreciation day.”
Buonamici said Mayer has since asked him to draw up a proposed regulation to cover disposal of meat or carcasses of big game animals “in a fashion deemed appropriate by a director.”
Gerry Lent, president of the Nevada Hunters Association, said he thought Mayer appeared to be trying to find a good use for the meat.
“You can’t waste meat,” Lent said. “Hunters can’t waste meat. Give it to the Salvation Army or feed the poor.”
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com