MDC: Dumping deer carcasses is illegal, may spread CWD

News from the region
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Agents are asking hunters to not dump deer carcasses.

‘We receive and investigate numerous calls about the illegal dumping of deer carcasses this time of year,” said Southeast Region Protection Captain Russell Duckworth. “And those calls are usually from concerned citizens who find a discarded deer carcass along public roadways.”

He said when someone is caught illegally disposing of a deer carcass, it’s best to provide as much information as you can about the incident to authorities, such as: vehicle and person description, and a full or even partial license plate number.

In Missouri, a person commits the offense of unlawful disposing of a dead animal when they knowingly place or cause to be placed, the carcass or offal of any dead animal:

  • Into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, pond, or lake; or
  • On any public road or highway, river, stream, or watercourse or upon premises not his or her own for the purpose of annoying another or others.

The offense of unlawful disposing of a dead animal is a Class C Misdemeanor, Duckworth said.

“Not only is the dumping of a deer carcass or its parts illegal, but it could also be contributing to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD),” he said.

Duckworth said hunters, taxidermists, meat processors, and others can help slow the spread of CWD by properly handling deer parts.

“Parts from CWD-infected deer can spread the disease,” he said. “Long after infected carcass remains decompose, prions stay infectious in the environment, possibly exposing other deer to CWD.”

Duckworth said hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD and other diseases by properly disposing of carcass parts:

  • Place in trash or landfill. The best way to prevent the spread of CWD is to dispose of the carcass remains through trash collection or a permitted landfill.
  • Bury deer parts on-site. If you can’t bag and place in trash or a permitted landfill, bury carcass remains at or near where the deer was harvested. Bury deep enough to prevent access by scavengers. Burial will reduce but not eliminate the risks of spreading CWD.
  • Leave on-site: While this will not prevent scavengers from scattering potentially infectious parts, the remains will stay on the general area where the deer was taken. If CWD is already present on that area, it will likely remain there and not be moved to another area. Use only as a last resort.
  • Do not place in water. It is illegal to dispose of carcasses or remains in streams, ponds, or other bodies of water.
  • Do not burn the deer carcass. Only commercial incinerators reaching over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit can generate enough heat for long enough to destroy the prions that cause CWD.

“Remember to always be courteous and respectful of others, and let’s all have a safe hunting season,” Duckworth said.

Visit to find out more about the CWD-affected counties and what MDC is doing to manage the disease.

To report poaching, or the illegal dumping of a deer carcass, please contact your local Conservation Agent or call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-392-1111.