LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Env. Protection - Management

Env. Protection - Emergency

Env. Protection - Resources

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

ways to reduce wildlife-human conflict and avoid wildlife damage.
Wisconsin's rare plants, animals and natural communities.
tips to manage your land for wildlife.
about wildlife health and rehabilitation.
Know CWD website

Know CWD [exit DNR] General information about CWD in Wisconsin including common misconceptions.

Contact information
For information on CWD, contact:
Timothy Marien
CWD Wildlife Biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management

Carcass disposal

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) can be spread among deer by both direct contact between animals and exposure to environments contaminated with CWD prions, the protein that causes the disease. Exposure to an area where a CWD-positive carcass has decomposed could be enough to cause infection in deer. Because of this risk, it is important that the carcasses of deer possibly infected with CWD, including all bones and other waste from butchering, be disposed of in a way that protects uninfected deer from exposure. While there are some disposal methods that destroy prions, such as incineration at 1800° F or digestion in sodium hydroxide, these methods are cost-prohibitive and not practical for most people.

Recommendations for hunters

The following, in order of efficacy and practicality, are the recommended options that hunters should use when disposing of deer-carcass waste.

  1. The preferred option available is disposal in a landfill that accepts deer waste. Landfills are a safe and cost-effective option for disposing of carcass waste potentially contaminated with CWD-causing prions. Landfill disposal establishes a barrier between uninfected deer and deer-carcass waste that potentially contains infectious CWD material. Scientific research has shown that when properly disposed of in a landfill, prions are extremely unlikely to migrate from the landfill disposal site. For most people, disposal in a landfill would be accomplished either by taking that waste directly to the landfill or through their regular trash pick-up service.
  2. While landfilling is preferred, another option is to bury the carcass waste. It should be buried deep enough to prevent scavengers from digging it back up. This method effectively removes the waste from the open environment and, again, places a barrier between uninfected deer and the source of infection.
  3. Hunters can leave their deer-carcass waste on the landscape. This should be done as close to where the deer was harvested as possible. Persons using this option should also, if possible, put the carcass waste in a location where other deer and scavengers are unlikely to encounter it. At no time should the head, spine or other restricted portions of deer harvested within a CWD-affected county be moved or disposed of outside of the CWD-affected county of harvest unless brought to a meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours or the head brought to a CWD sampling station. As a reminder, it is illegal to dispose of waste on any public lands (that aren't the location of harvest) or road right-of-ways. As in the rest of the state, field dressing a deer and leaving the gut pile as well as other carcass parts on site on public or private land is still permitted. Although gut piles pose a risk of transmitting CWD, evidence indicates that the risk is minimal due to their short persistence time on the landscape due to high rates of scavenging.

Recommendations for non-hunters

Deer carcasses collected from generators including taxidermists, meat processors or other facilities shall be disposed of in compliance with solid waste regulations. Contact your local Waste Management Specialist if you need further assistance in locating disposal facilities that accept deer waste. Additional information can be found on the deer carcass disposal sites page.

Sick deer guidance

If a person sees a sick deer the DNR is interested in testing the deer for CWD and can help the individual dispose of the carcass if shot. Please view the sick deer guidance for additional information.

Last revised: Thursday September 06 2018