Action Alert: Wisconsin Senate Bill 166 – Deer Carcass Disposal Site Grants

Wisconsin Senate Bill 166 (S 166), introduced on March 3, would require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to award up to $200,000 in grants in the 2021-23 fiscal biennium for the creation of new sites for the disposal of deer carcasses.

Driven by an effort to reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wisconsin, the bill states that DNR must prioritize the development of sites in underserved areas that are affected by CWD and ensure the greatest geographic distribution of disposal sites. Disposal sites must be accessible to the general public throughout deer hunting season and may not charge any fee for carcass disposal.

Additionally, an applicant may receive only one grant for a disposal site but may apply for a grant in an amount equal to the applicant’s eligible expenses over a three-year period. Eligible expenses include disposal equipment, pickup and disposal of carcasses, site preparation and promotion, and other expenses approved by DNR. The bill also provides that the operator of a landfill may not refuse to accept any deer carcass that is in a bag for disposal.

The National Deer Association (NDA) outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area, and slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern. While there remains much to learn about CWD, we do know that moving deer, dead or alive, can facilitate it’s spread, including the transport of carcasses by hunters who can’t be immediately sure if their deer is infected. CWD spreads the fastest and the furthest when carried in a vehicle, and that’s something that all deer managers and hunters should be concerned about. Other than the site of harvest, landfills and other designated disposal sites are the safest way to dispose of deer carcasses. S 166 ensures that hunters will have free access to disposal sites in all areas of the state at times when this access is most needed.

Please consider joining NDA in supporting S 166. The disposal site grant program established by the bill is certainly a positive step in curbing the spread of CWD in Wisconsin. CLICK HERE to ask your lawmakers to vote AYE on the bill.

About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.