Roadkill 'poaching' illegal in New Jersey; violators face fines up to $1,000
FAIR LAWN - Authorities say more and more deer carcasses are being found decapitated, and want residents to know the practice is illegal.
DOT workers who collect animals who have been struck by cars say they are often found headless. They say wildlife enthusiasts are removing the heads as souvenirs.
George Dante owns Wildlife Preservations, a taxidermy shop in Woodland Park. He says many sportsmen are fascinated with the animal's antlers. "When they see an animal by the side of the road with this magnificent head-gear on it, you can't help but stop and take it home," Dante says.
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Police say it is against the law to cut the head off of a dead deer and take it home.
Dante says he would like to see that law changed. "We would love to be able to pick up a roadkill and recycle it and turn it into a beautiful mount, give it to an environmental center," he says. "Unfortunately, we're not allowed to recycle our wildlife."
In New Jersey, residents are allowed to keep roadkill to eat, as long as you have a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
People caught taking deer heads can be fined up to $500 the first time and up to $1,000 for a second offense.