By Doug Duren / Originally created on February 4th, 2019
The Adopt A Dumpster Program was born out of a need for proper deer carcass disposal in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Endemic Area of Southwest Wisconsin. The intent was to mitigate the spread of CWD by providing dumpster locations around the area where hunters could properly dispose of deer bones and carcasses, thus removing possible infected carcasses from the landscape. In some cases, dumpsters were paired with CWD testing locations. The results discussed here are from an effort led by Doug Duren, Hunt To Eat and others, to place as many dumpsters in Richland County and the surrounding area as possible.
- No government funding was available for this program. Doug Duren and Hunt to Eat began a fundraiser in early Fall of 2018, which raised over $5,500.00 for the effort. Contributions of $50.00 or more received a T-shirt with a whitetail deer hunting scene and Doug's conservation mantra “It's not ours, It's just our turn”.
- Contributions were received from over 150 people and businesses.
- Westford Township, Richland County contributed $300.00 to a dumpster in its jurisdiction.
- These effort fully funded and placed dumpsters at 5 locations, with one location getting 2 dumpsters over the course of the deer season.
- 6 dumpsters were fully funded, with partial funding provided for 3 other locations, where other organizations and one business led the funding, dumpster placement and monitoring.
- Of the 6 fully funded dumpsters, 3 locations were placed on private land, while 2 were locations owned by townships.
- All dumpsters were lined with a minimum 4 mil plastic liner. We discovered the most cost effective liners were made by purchasing 6 mil Silo Bunker Liners 32' or 40' x 100' and cutting them twice, providing 3 liners.
- Liners were secured a couple of different ways, with the most efficient and effective being using a 100' piece of inexpensive rope to secure the liner to the outside of the dumpster once the liner was placed and sufficiently extended over the sides of the dumpster.
- Early in the season, contractor bags were supplied and hunters were encouraged to put their carcass/bones in the bags before putting them in the dumpster, the intent to help with reducing odor.
- Locations were either well-lit or solar lights with motion detectors were placed near the dumpster so it would be illuminated when a vehicle pulled in or an animal came near.
- Each location had signage that said “Deer Bones and Carcasses Only, Please!”. Signs were also placed at some locations listing and thanking sponsors.
- All dumpster were monitored regularly by volunteers who checked for unwanted garbage, kept the area around the dumpster clean and moved carcasses within the dumpster to maximize space.
- Dumpsters were in place from late November until after the Holiday Hunt.
Results and Costs:
The results included here are from the 6 dumpsters that Doug Duren was responsible for:
- Total weight collected and disposed of: 78,000 lbs of carcasses or 39 total tons
- Using an average carcass weight of 55 lbs., over 1,400 carcasses were collected and properly disposed of.
- Using a CWD prevalence rate of 16%, the average between Sauk and Richland Counties, where most of these carcasses originated, it is likely that over 220 CWD positive carcasses were collected and properly disposed of.
- Cost per carcass: Using these costs and numbers, the average cost of disposal is between $4.50 and $5.00 per carcass
Other notes and suggestions:
- No other garbage or debris was found in these dumpsters by the public, which was a concern of some people and conservation committees.
- Scavengers proved to be a very minimal problem. Cat and coyote tracks were found around some of the dumpsters, but no dumpsters were entered. Turkey vultures, crows, eagles, etc. were not observed at any of the dumpsters.
- Odor proved to be a minimal problem. Contractor bags were provided at some dumpsters placed before November and hunters were asked to bag their carcasses before placing them in the dumpsters. One location had some odor complaints, so it that is an important consideration in placement.
- The Adopt a Dumpster and Adopt a Kiosk Programs, because they involve and empower hunters and landowners, also provide an opportunity for discussion, awareness and education about CWD and proper disposal on a local, hunter/landowner to hunter/landowner level. This kind of interaction and advocacy is invaluable for the efforts to control CWD.
- Some areas were unable to secure a dumpster because there was not a solid waste provider in the region who was willing to take deer carcasses as part of their solid waste services or landfill. The Wisconsin State Legislature should consider legislation requiring licensed landfills to accept and properly dispose of deer carcasses.
- Garbage collection is a service provided by local municipalities. Deer carcasses could be considered garbage or debris generated in a municipality. It follows that counties and municipalities could be part of the funding sources for future efforts. Westford Township, Richland County, provided $300.00 for the dumpster placed on the Duren Farm.
- A voluntary check off box on deer license applications could be another source of specific, directed funding for disposal.
- The Wisconsin State Legislature should also consider allocating some funding specifically for deer carcass disposal.
- Sportspeople and Hunting clubs did contribute to this effort. Hunters will likely continue to support this kind of effort. It follows that organizations and businesses concerned about the health of the deer herd and the future of deer and deer hunting would get involved with this effort.