...that happened recently in the Chicago area. This is an article from the Chicago Tribune...
The strange-but-true story of the saw-wielding cop, the angry ironworker and the headless deer
By John Keilman, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance reporter Carolyn Rusin contributed to this report
Published February 3, 2005
In the woods, the rule is simple: You kill a deer, you take it with you--hooves, hide and head. But when it happens along a busy suburban road, things can get messy.
A deer struck by an SUV on Golf Road several weeks ago set off a nasty dispute between a cop with an eye for an impressive crown of antlers and an ironworker with a stubborn belief that the code of the forest holds true on the streets.
Their disagreement over the ethics of harvesting roadkill ended with the ironworker, Michael Cox, 30, of Glenview, angrily heaving the deer's headless carcass onto the doorstep of the Des Plaines Police Department.
Though he was promptly charged with littering and ultimately pleaded guilty, Cox remains unrepentant.
"I have no regrets," he said. "If that's what it took to get my point across that this was wrong, that's what had to be done."
The drama began about 7:30 a.m. Dec. 13, when a Honda Passport driven by a Skokie man slammed into a 10-point buck--a mature male with antlers branching into 10 tips--near Camp Pine Woods Forest Preserve in Des Plaines. A police officer who arrived shot and killed the mortally wounded animal.
Under Illinois law, a driver who strikes a deer is entitled to the carcass, but the Skokie man didn't want it. That made it a case of "first come, first served," said Jill Willis, a conservation police officer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Des Plaines police said an officer back at the station heard about the accident and put in the first claim. After getting a supervisor's permission, the officer drove to the scene in his personal car, bringing a saw so he could remove the deer's head and have it mounted.
But before the officer arrived, Cox, a bear-sized ironworker with a bristling beard, got a call from a friend who had spotted the buck on the roadside.
Cox, a hunter since his youth, went through the recent deer season without a kill. He said he needed the venison because an injury put him on disability. So when he heard about the buck, he hopped in his Chevy Suburban and roared to Golf Road.
After he was told a police officer had already claimed the deer, he said, he backed off--until he learned the cop wanted only the animal's head.
"I was taken aback by that, because being a hunter since I was 12, 13, there's a certain code of ethics between sportsmen," he said. "It's not written down anywhere, it's just how it is. The ethical thing would be to take the animal and use the entire thing, not just cut off the head and leave the rest."
Some hunters agree that that is the preferred protocol for a deer taken in the woods, though many lawfully leave the animal's entrails behind. But Jeff Davis, editor of Whitetails Unlimited magazine in Wisconsin, said the ethics regarding roadkill are muddier.
"Internal organs can be struck. [The carcass] can be so broken up that the meat is a little chancy," he said. "I don't think it's unusual when a deer is struck by a car to leave the rest of the carcass."
Cox said the officer made a similar argument, though the animal's trunk did not appear damaged. Cox was offered the meat, but said he turned it down because he was angry about the officer's actions. After the officer dragged the deer's body over a berm to remove the head away from public view, Cox drove off, seething.
That night, after attending a Boy Scout meeting as an assistant scoutmaster, Cox returned to see what happened to the body. Police said they normally notify public works staff about carcasses in the road, but the department has no record of a call that day. When Cox arrived, the headless deer was still there.
Cox loaded the remains into his truck, thinking he would use the carcass as evidence of what he saw as the officer's dishonorable conduct. But he said that when he arrived at the Des Plaines Police Department the next morning, he ran into a wall of indifference.
Incensed, he returned to his truck. Though his first thought was to drop the deer's body on the curb as a sign of his disgust, he decided to make a more dramatic gesture.
He said he dragged the headless body to the front door of the police station and dumped it, telling bewildered onlookers: "There's a cop inside who got the head. He's missing this part of it."
Cox was quickly surrounded by police cars when he tried to drive away and spent the next five hours in a holding cell, he said. Though a disorderly conduct charge was later dropped, Cox paid a $169 fine after pleading guilty to unlawful littering.
Des Plaines police would not identify the officer involved, saying it was a personnel matter, and the officer named by Cox declined to comment Wednesday.
Cops and carcasses
Though Deputy Police Chief Bill Schneider said an internal investigation cleared the officer of wrongdoing, the incident persuaded the department to create a new roadkill policy. Officers can no longer claim a dead animal, in whole or in part, while on duty.
"From a professional standpoint, I don't think officers need to be loading carcasses in their car," said Sgt. Nick Treantafeles. "I mean, dragging carcasses to the side of the road is something we do weekly. But to take it a step further and put it in your personal vehicle or squad car, that's a little different."
While city employees carted away the deer's body--laying it to rest in forest preserve woods behind the Public Works Department--the fate of the head is unclear. People who take roadkill to a taxidermist must get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources, but the agency has no record of that happening in this case.
Soon after the clash, Cox gave his side of the story on a local hunting and fishing Web site but got little sympathy. One posting read: "You wanted the meat, they offered the meat and you didn't take the meat? Why are you so ticked?"
Cox is still convinced he did the right thing. Needy though he was, he said, he would never take venison from a mutilated carcass.
"I'd rather starve than see this cop get away with something that's not right," he said.
Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune
Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu
Needs some psychotherapy to get rid of his anti-cop attitute.
If he only wanted the meat why not let the guy keep the head and him the meat ? He is a hypocrit. No sympathy from me.
and what I mean by that is how you were raised and what you were taught. I can understand Mr. Coxs position as I feel somewhat the same. Use everything you can and attempt to have little waste. In the same token, I cannot condone his actions, though I can relate to his commitment to his beliefs. In regard to the Officer, personnaly, I would not leave the carcass out by the side of the road. To me that's wrong. If you want a part of the animal, fine, take it, but respect the animal and dispose of the remainer appropriately. Sure, it may be public works job to remove roadkill, but I believe if you claim it, it's yours, now follow through. Like I said, It seems to fall down on personal ethics. Also goes to show peoples passion in their beliefs.
Thanks for posting it Marty.
...sounds like everyone got what they wanted.
But noo-ooo, there appears to have been an attitude problem and someone had to push their issue. Although there was the problem of carcass removal.
That guy (Cox) is a freaking jackass! They offered him the meat and declined so he must not have been that hard up. Besides, if all he(cox) wanted was the meat then he would have thrown out the head, which is being wasteful and it's exactly what he's claiming the cop did by not taking the meat.
The cop wanted the head so what! He offered the guy the rest but he didn't want it so they(the cops) followed procedure and left the rest for public works! Not all of the deer was wasted at least:-) That guy should have more than a $169 fine, he should have been slapped with disorderly conduct and forced to attend anger managment classes!
Be charges to the cop and Cox for improper disposal of an animal carcass? Seems I heard of that before somewhere. I am in Illinois also. Bradlee
What a great example for all of the young hunters and non hunters to see. Isn't everyone proud of such a display of understanding among "adults"?
Seems to me, there is a pride and ego problem with the cop AND the other guy. Both have the gimmie--me first attitude. I would not want to be associated with either one of them.
Hope many of you will understand what is written below.
"Funny, everybody wants a piece of the pie; but nobody wants to give freely without some form of compensation."----KIM
Not for the cop, the deer would have been left there anyway. Sounds like Cox just wanted something to bitch about. I'll bet a weeks pay he wouldn't of had an attitude if you replaced the cop with one of his ironworker buddies! He could have taken the remainder of the deer and put it to use. In the end he's the one that made the remaining meat nothing more than a door mat.
Deer should have been claimed by someone at the accident scene. Not by on duty officer who heard about it and wasn't even there. For him to get first dibbs because he claimed it first is ludicrous especially since he was on duty somewhere else. I claim the moon in the name of New Spain.......I saw it first..
Additionally, the horses patoot should have taken the whole animal. That's just common decency. Only a jerk would cut the head off and leave it for someone else to clean up. Obviously, the police investigation team agrees that the officer has better things to do while on duty.
"Though Deputy Police Chief Bill Schneider said an internal investigation cleared the officer of wrongdoing, the incident persuaded the department to create a new roadkill policy. Officers can no longer claim a dead animal, in whole or in part, while on duty.
"From a professional standpoint, I don't think officers need to be loading carcasses in their car," said Sgt. Nick Treantafeles. "I mean, dragging carcasses to the side of the road is something we do weekly. But to take it a step further and put it in your personal vehicle or squad car, that's a little different"
Now, for the Moron Cox. He started out OK in my book. He was there and his claim should have been honored. It's afterwards that he shows he is a nut case at best and at least a liar. When he didn't get the deer he was rightfully pissed. However, then he changes the story and says he was starving ect blah blah. What a crock. I can't believe he was stupid enought to take it to the police station and throw it in the doorway. I would have locked the carcass(evidence) in the cell with him for about 30 days to see how hungry he really was. I wonder if he even realizes how stupid he sounds when he trys to explain his actions. Just a moron, plain and simple.
think, but i would be upset if i was paying an officer to call dibbs on roadkill while he was on the clock. And if it is first come first served i think cox was the first one there. If you run a race you can't call dibbs on second place for your buddy who is in last place. Cox might have been out of line but you know in reason he wanted the rack, and he knew he was first, but the cop guys were going to stick together, so they were abusing their power. He might have been out of line, but i can't blame him. I know people on here argue about alot less, and make themselves look silly but you got to stand for something i guess.
First off I think we can all agree that Cox went a bit ballistic here - lol!
The first problem I have with it is Cox actually beat the cop to the scene. So in my mind he should've benefitted from the "first come, first serve" rule. I would've started field dressing the deer right then and there and challenged them right on the spot!
Then of course Cox wanted the rack along with the meat too. SO he had a tantrum and left away hungry when he couldn't have both.
The cop should've made an attempt to find somebnody to collect the meat (Beyond Cox) if he didn't want it. Not much of a "hunter", or at least ethical hunter in my book.
There actually were several other charges dropped also. But dropping the deer carcass on the PD steps was a bit ballsy if you ask me! Stupid, but ballsy!
I think the story is pretty funny. I actually watched it unfold on some posts on a local fishing website. When he posted the next day speaking of dropping the deer on the steps he got quite a few raised eyebrows! I'm sure the cop regrets all the publicity also...
Cox took exception to the fact that the cop used his position to get those first dibs. It happens all the time. I cant blame the cop for being a fellow antler nut, as well as for Cox for being p*ssed for being beaten to the antlers. As for the clean up, guys leave carcasses on the road ALL the time, very seldom do they take the whole thing.
I think the supervisor did the correct thing in stating that from there on out, officers on duty cant take the speciman, if for no other reason then how it looks. It also seems like a conflict of interest. Its too bad, as cops are hunters too.
As I see it, one thing stands out further than all the rest...if this guy Cox was on disability and couldnt go hunt, how did he pick up that deer, load it, and deliver it? Theres always something...lol!
for psycological reasons. Proof is in the pudding. By the way, Bill do you know how that saying came to be?
Poof is in the Prudding was too hard to say?