Deputy caught sawing off deer antlers after crash, Iowa officials say. That’s illegal

A buck stands on protected land in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colo., in this 2012 file photo.
A buck stands on protected land in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colo., in this 2012 file photo. AP

After a woman struck a buck while driving on an Iowa road, another man stopped and called for help earlier this month.

The deputy who arrived wasn’t just helpful, though. He was also a law breaker, according to a release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The man who called for help had stayed at the scene and asked the responding deputy whether he could have a salvage tag on Nov. 3, the release states. A salvage tag authorizes “the possession of accidentally killed game for the purpose of human consumption or the feeding of domestic animal,” according to the Iowa Natural Resource Commission.

State code says a salvage tag should first be given to those involved in the crash, the DNR release states. If those involved do not want it, a bystander can get a salvage tag.

But neither the driver nor the bystander was given the opportunity to salvage the deer, the release states.

Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Kirk Hammer “declined to issue” the tag, according to the release.

Later that same day, though, the man who wanted the salvage tag drove past the area of the crash and saw something suspicious. Hammer was sawing off the deer’s antlers — while in uniform, according to the release.

That incident was reported, and DNR Conservation Officer Nathan Haupert later questioned Hammer about the antlers, the release states.

Hammer admitted he took the whitetail deer’s antlers, the release states, and the antlers were found at his home. The antlers were seized.

eputy deer tweet

“Officer Haupert explained to Deputy Hammer that it is unlawful to keep the antlers without a deer tag or salvage permit and with a salvage permit the whole deer would need to be removed from the ditch, not just the antlers,” the DNR release states.

Hammer was cited for unlawful possession of whitetail deer antlers on Nov. 12, which is a $195 fine.

A body camera shows Kansas game warden Lynn Koch freeing two bucks, whose antlers became locked up, in Coffey County. All it took was one shot. The footage is date-stamped Dec. 20, 2016. (Courtesy of Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism)