CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- So I get this phone call. "I need your advice," said the woman, a family friend who, from time to time, draws upon my knowledge of outdoors- and nature-related things.
"There's a dead deer in our yard, a doe. I've looked her over and can't find any visible injuries other than some foam around her mouth. I think maybe she got hit by a car, ran down the hill and died in my yard."
I told her it sounded plausible. Her house sits just 100 yards or so off a busy stretch of four-lane highway, and the surrounding area is loaded with deer.
"What should I do about it?" my friend asked. "I can't just have a dead doe lying there in my yard. Does someone operate a deer disposal service?"
"No, there isn't one, unfortunately. Your best bet is probably to take the carcass and dispose of it somewhere out of the way."
"Could I get in trouble?"
"Hmm. Well, I guess that's possible. Someone could see you dumping a dead doe and assume you poached it. It probably would be a good idea to let the authorities know what you're planning to do."
"Well, I've already called the [Division] of Highways, so at least I'm on the record there," she said.
"If I were you, I'd call the Natural Resources Police and let them know, too," I advised. "They have law-enforcement authority over the state's wildlife, so it would be a good idea to call the district office and let them know what's going on."
"OK, how do I reach them?" she asked.
I had the office's number at my fingertips, and I gave it to her. She thanked me and signed off. I hung up the phone and went back to work.
An hour or so later, she called back, giggling.