November 4, 2010

Roadside Treasures: Morality Check

You find a fresh roadkill in the morning hours, victim of someone's commute to work. Normally it's a no-brainer situation; you pull over, grab the critter, and process the fur/feathers when you get a chance, further down the road. But what happens when the animal is protected or closed to possession? It's already dead right?

What do you do?

♀ ring-necked pheasant
The Score:
The ring-necked pheasant is a treasure trove of feathers and hackle to the casual fly tyer. Everyday patterns like the PT Nymph would not be possible were it not for the beautifully barbed tail feathers from a rooster ringneck. Aside from the vibrant and iridescent flank and rump feathers, however, there isn't a ton of uses/patterns for the remaining feathers off of the rooster. Enter the hen ringneck. While much more subdued in coloration, the tan, cream, and brown-mottled feathers of the hen contain some wonderful soft hackles, even rivaling those of the Hungarian Partridge. While legal for purchase stateside, hen ring-necked pheasant skins are much harder to find off the rack, and the $15 to $30 price tag can be a bit hard to swallow for a female ditch parrot. And everyone knows that the feather quality of shot birds is second to none over those chemically treated commercial skins.

Minnesota Rule states that only cock roosters may be taken (albeit by firearm or bow and arrow), whereas State Statute provides contradictory language, such that "A person may not take more than one hen pheasant in one day or possess more than two hen pheasants". Which supersedes which, Statute or Rule? Of course, the regulations booklet trumps all, stating that "Road-killed animals may not be legally possessed, except by special permit from a DNR conservation officer, state patrol, county sheriff or other law enforcement officer."

So what do you do? Do you take the bird and secretly pluck and "possess" the feathers off the hen, I mean, It's already dead right? No harm, no foul? Or do you leave the bird lay, as it's just not worth the risk of getting caught for possession?

That's what I thought....

Caveat Emptor: The author, nor, condone the breaking of any federal or state game and fish laws. 
Take the post for what it's worth. No statutes, laws, or rules were broken for the creation and purpose of this post.