Oh deer, what to do with all those carcasses?

Stretched-thin department will no longer collect deer killed on roads in towns that don’t contract with county
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press staff

Municipalities, including some rural towns, will be responsible for clearing carcasses of deer killed on their roads starting in January under a new policy approved by the Ozaukee County Public Works Committee last week.

Since 2016, the county has hauled away  or moved any deer lying dead, technically known as Car Killed Deer, or CKD, on any county or local roadway in the county.

“However, as we’ve seen greater needs for highway maintenance, we feel that our staff has been stretched too thin, and it would be more efficient for local public works staff to remove CKD from their respective roadways,” county Highway Commissioner Jon Edgren wrote to the committee.

Currently, any reports of deer lying in roadways are directed to the county Sheriff’s Office, which then notifies either the county Highway Department or a private vendor who contracts with the state Department of Transportation to remove deer from state highways.

Edgren said that in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 386 total car-killed deer on Ozaukee County roadways, with 188 on state highways, 108 on county highways and 90 on local roads.

Under the new policy the Sheriff’s Office will notify a municipality’s public works department when a deer is found on their road.

The county will continue to remove deer in the towns of Belgium, Fredonia and Grafton, which contract with the county for road maintenance.

The towns of Cedarburg, Port Washington and Saukville will be responsible for removing their own deer, Edgren said, adding that they could use their staff, hire a private contractor or perhaps arrange for services with the state’s contractor.

He said the county would not be interested in contracting with towns, villages or cities to remove their deer.

“We’re not looking to get into the deer removal business,” he said.

Edgren said the workload on his highway crews has made it difficult to clear deer carcasses in a timely manner, especially in residential areas.

“We want to get to the deer quickly,” he told the committee. “If you don’t get to the deer in a couple days, it becomes a messier situation.”

Committee Chairman Marty Wolf confessed to the committee that the change in policy became necessary when the Executive Committee, which is made up of committee chairmen, denied a request for an additional equipment operator position from the 2023 proposed budget.

Before 2016, all dead deer were hauled away by a private vendor who contracted with the state Department of Natural Resources.

The nearest certified disposal site for deer carcasses is in Horicon, Edgren said, but the DNR allows the county to push them into a ditch in rural areas.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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