Carcass Disposal

Carcasses or carcass remains of CWD-infected deer can expose other deer to the disease. Long after infected carcass remains decompose, the soil around the remains can stay infectious, possibly exposing other deer to the prions that cause CWD.

To avoid this exposure risk, MDC recommends the following carcass disposal methods:

Place in Trash or Landfill: The best way to prevent the spread of CWD is to place carcass remains in trash bags and dispose of them through trash collection or a permitted landfill.

Bury 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: As a last resort, leave carcass remains onsite. 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.

Moving Carcasses: Carcasses and remains moved from where harvested should not be dumped or left exposed. Place in trash bags and dispose through trash collection or a landfill. Bury only as a last resort. Bury deep enough to prevent access by scavengers. Burial will reduce but not eliminate the risks of spreading CWD. If using a taxidermist or meat processor, choose a business that disposes of deer remains at a properly permitted landfill.

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: Only commercial incinerators reaching over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit can generate enough heat for long enough to destroy the prions that cause CWD.

Lower-Risk Parts: Any part of an infected deer may potentially spread CWD, however, the following parts are at lower risk:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped;
  • Meat that has been boned out;
  • Quarters with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Tanned hides, capes, and finished taxidermy mounts; and
  • Cleaned skulls, skull caps, teeth, and antlers with no tissue attached.