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CONSERVATION CORNER
(For the week of November 29, 2010)
Proper Disposal of Deer Carcass
by James L. Cummins

With the passing of each year, there appears to be an increasing number of deer carcasses appearing on roadsides and in streams or rivers. These dumping practices are not only illegal, but unsightly and unhealthy.

I am an avid hunter and spend most of my working days trying to further the sport of hunting and the conservation of the natural resources of our state and our nation. But not everyone feels like I do. Some spend as much, or more, time trying to outlaw hunting as I do trying to further it. While I totally disagree with those in our society with such beliefs, we, as a group of hunters, should not do things to further the cause of the anti-hunting public, or give those that are indifferent about hunting, a reason to oppose it. In other words, we should not spread the byproduct, or the carcass, of a successful hunt in areas where other people have to view it or in areas that could cause a public health issue.

There is already a law prohibiting such activity. Section 97-15-29 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 prohibits the dumping of dead fish and wildlife, their parts, or waste on Mississippi’s roadways or their right-of-ways or on private property without the landowner’s consent. If caught, an offender can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $250.00.

Dead deer on the side of the road can be a hazard to drivers. In some instances, they could cause some serious damage to a car, or injury to the driver. This dumping is happening when no one is around, therefore making it very hard to catch the culprits.

Deer carcasses dumped in streams and rivers can pose a human health risk. This risk comes by the drinking and/or swimming in waters contaminated by decomposing deer carcasses.

Roadsides, streams and rivers are not options. Two recommended methods of disposal are digging a pit in which to place the carcass or taking it to a deer processor who will properly dispose of or compost it. This is legal and respectful to the sport. And if you can’t do that, place the carcass in an area where it cannot be viewed and it is not near any homes. It won’t take long for the coyotes and buzzards to salvage the rest of it.

Anyone who finds a deer carcass on his property is obligated to clean it up and report it to law enforcement agencies. Please take time for appropriate carcass disposal. To report a violation, call your local sheriff’s office or the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks at 1-800-BE-SMART (1-800-237-6278).


James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and plant resources throughout Mississippi.