Carcass Transport and Disposal

Hunters, taxidermists, processors and others can help slow the spread of CWD by properly handling deer parts. Parts from CWD-infected deer can spread the disease. Long after infected carcass remains decompose, prions stay infectious in the environment, possibly exposing other deer to CWD.

New for 2020: New regulations are in place for hunters who harvest a deer in a CWD Management Zone county, hunters transporting deer or elk parts into Missouri, and Taxidermists/Meat Processors.

For Hunters Who Harvest Deer in CWD Management Zone Counties

  • All deer harvested from CWD Management Zone counties must be Telechecked before any parts are transported out of the county of harvest.
  • Hunters wishing to transport any part of the deer with the spinal column or brains present may only do so if they deliver the carcass to a meat processor or the head to a taxidermist within 48 hours of exiting the county.
  • The following parts may be transported out of CWD Management Zone counties without restriction:
    • Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out
    • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
    • Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed
    • Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue
    • Upper canine teeth
    • Finished taxidermy products

Want to learn more about field dressing and quartering your deer? Watch this MDC video to learn about the “gutless method” for quartering deer.

For Hunters Transporting Deer or Elk Parts into Missouri

Hunters may no longer transport whole deer or elk carcasses into the state.

Heads from deer or elk with the cape attached and no more than six inches of neck in place may be brought into Missouri only if they are delivered to a taxidermist within 48 hours of entering Missouri.

There is no longer a requirement that deer or elk parts coming into the state be reported to the MDC carcass transport hotline.

The following deer or elk parts may be transported into Missouri without restriction:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out;
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed;
  • Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue;
  • Upper canine teeth; and
  • Finished taxidermy products.

For Taxidermists and Processors

Taxidermists and meat processors throughout the state are required to dispose of deer, elk, and other cervid parts not returned to customers in a sanitary landfill or transfer station permitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Utilizing a commercial trash pickup service or disposing of waste in a dumpster with pick-up service meets this requirement.

Get a list of landfills and transfer stations from DNR.

Proof of disposal must be retained for 12 months for meat processors and for three years for taxidermists.

  • Examples of proof of disposal include receipts for your trash pick-up service, a receipt from the landfill or transfer station, or an affidavit from a business allowing access to their dumpster.
  • Contact your County Conservation Agent with questions about proof of disposal requirements.

Dispose carcasses properly to prevent potential disease spread.

  • 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.
  • 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.