Q: When a friend of mine field-dresses grouse, he keeps only the breast and throws away the legs. I know there’s a law about not wasting a wild animal. Is it OK to keep just part of the bird and discard the legs?
A: Minnesota Statute 97A.031 states that, “Unless expressly allowed, a person may not wantonly waste or destroy a usable part of a protected wild animal.”
Protected wild animals include all of those animals for which there is a season, or restrictions on time and manner of taking.
In your case of grouse or waterfowl, a hunter should make use of all of the meat, not just the breasts. “Usable” would not reasonably include bloodshot or damaged meat, or other conditions that may make a part of the animal unusable.
There are many places a hunter can look for new recipes or ideas on how to prepare these cuts of meat.
This does not apply to “unprotected wild animals” which include weasel, coyote, gopher, porcupine, striped skunk and unprotected birds.