Proper Carcass Removal
Inside the Outdoors, November 20, 2009

Over the many years of living in Latrobe, people have told me that they have seen carcasses of deer in certain locations of the area, one being in Unity Township. I never thought much more about it, until I stumbled upon a release put out by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on the legalities pertaining to such disposal.

From a press release dated Nov. 14, 2003, it began, “Statewide, there is a growing problem with people dumping deer and other animals on public and private lands.” According to Tom Fazi of the PGC, the dilemma has increased quite a bit. When I questioned him about it, he responded, “Every year we get complaints about parts of deer found along the highways.” He related that carcasses of body parts are a real eyesore.

In further rehashing the subject, he added, “Any back roads I travel in Westmoreland County, there are parts of deer visibly along the berm.”

To help one understand what one is to do with discarded carcasses or parts thereof, I found the following to be not only very educational, but informative for those who may be hunting this year and want to know what to do with sections of the animals that need to be eliminated.

“Deer and other wild game or furbearer remains are considered municipal waste and should be disposed of along with other household waste through your curbside pickup or at an approved waste facility,” the PGC stressed.

Not long ago, I had caught some fish out at Keystone State Park. It was chilly that evening when I returned from the lake, and needless to say, dark, and I didn’t feel like going out and digging up my back yard to bury in innards. So, I packaged them neatly in two plastic bags and put them in the garbage. Then I thought I was committing an illegal act. Now I find out I did the right thing. What an eye opener.

A matter of fact, not only is the dumping of animal remains illegal, but the PGC discourages burning and/or “burying” of animal remains. “It may present health concerns and are not advisable practices,” the release stated.

However, it was pointed out, “This does not apply to the viscera discarded from legally-killed animals.” Viscera are the organs in the cavities of the body especially those in the abdominal cavity.

I discussed the issue with Joe Bush, public works director for the city of Latrobe. He confirmed that carcass disposal should be included with one’s weekly pickup, but he also suggested, “Bring them up to the city garage. We have been getting rid of them in a compactor.”

In talking to one of my close friends concerning this problem of disposal, I asked him what he does with the parts of the deer he doesn’t use. He told me, “The butcher takes care of all that. It’s the people who want to process the deer themselves that create the problems.”

So, hunters take note. Let’s try to eliminate the “eyesores,” as Fazi commented by doing the right thing, and not just “your thing.” Using some common sense just might eliminate a common problem!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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