What happens to roadkill?

By Hadassah Curry

Millions of deer are hit by cars in accidents. What happens to the dead body of the animal?

According to State Farm Newsroom, there are over 30 million deer in the United States and about 1.3 million deer accidents on the road each year.

“Deer are commonly known for the word roadkill,” said Cala Curtis, a student commuter who drives to the interstate Exit 115 every weekend.

Hitting a deer can lead to a traumatic injury or leave permanent damage to your car.

Donnie Williams is the District Director of Engineering from the Department of Highways in Bridgeport, West Virginia. He has served 30 years in the highway department and has experience dealing with roadkill.

“Sometimes we see or get a call on a location, then we will have to isolate the location, or landfill the animal’s body,” Williams said. “Put lime on the deer so they cannot rot.”

Another way to dispose of dead deer is to incubate their bodies. In order to incubate, the deer are enclosed in an apparatus providing a controlled environment for their care. Williams said that his department stopped incubating the deer because of the diseases deer can transmit to people.

John Jordan, a maintenance engineer from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, deals with roadkill in the course of his daily duties.

“Generally I am always inspecting the roads everyday or will receive a call from the

district highway operator to pick up a deer,” Jordan said. “After removing a deer from a location I will call a contracted company to pick deer up, so they can dispose of them from the area.”

Sometimes there can be deer that will have fresh meat still on their bodies. If the deer doesn’t have lime on their body within 48 hours people can take the deer before maintenance engineers come to remove it.

How do people report a dead deer or a deer accident?

According to Gary Foster, a Director from the Division of Natural Resources in Elkins, WV; there are multiple ways to report a deer incident.

“People will have to call the West Virginia wildlife organization to report an unclaimed roadkill animal they find on the road or community property,” Foster said. “Now if you were in an immediate accident you must call the police so they can write the report for your car insurance.”

Tyler Evans, an Assistant Director in the Natural Resources Department, French Creek,WV said every county is different on where they place or dispose of a dead deer.

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