State officials have finalized a new plan for safely disposing of thousands of deer carcasses potentially infected with chronic wasting disease. Wildlife managers have reached their goal making 26 dumpsters available parts of southeastern and north-central Minnesota for hunters to safely dispose of deer carcasses.
The bins are an important part of Minnesota's plan for combating the spread of CWD. The Department of Natural Resources launched a deer dumpster program this year, designed to give hunters in CWD-infected areas a safe place to get rid of deer bones.
But the contractor in charge of emptying those dumpsters recently backed out citing liability concerns, forcing officials to scramble just days before the opening of rifle season.
“It’s been quite a unique project. Frankly I’ve lost a lot of sleep, trying to figure out, you know, what are we going to do?” said Bryan Lueth who helps run the deer dumpster program. “It’s been one twist and turn after another. A landfill drops out, and vender drops out. It’s been quite the project.”
Lueth said the DNR almost had to haul deer bones themselves with pickup trucks and dump trailers.
The 26 dumpsters are on their way and in place by this weekend, Lueth said. Minnesota's firearms deer season opens this Saturday.
Everything is in place to basically cover all the cites in our original plan, so I am really pleased we were able to make that happen,” Lueth said.
Hunters are prohibited from moving whole deer out of disease management zones until their deer test clean. But they can take their deer home if they quarter them first. The DNR then encourages hunters to use the designated dumpsters to dispose of the carcasses.
Chronic wasting is a fatal brain disease that can persist in the environment for years. It's not known to affect humans.
Gov. Tim Walz will lead the 17th annual Governor's Deer Hunting Opener in Fergus Falls, Minn., this weekend.