Incident provides education
December 24, 2005
Some area residents learned a lesson about wildlife this week: When a deer dies in your yard, you’re now essentially the owner of a dead deer.
Whether you want it or not.
Brothers Greg and Tony Durrett of Glenwood Springs got an education in the disposition of dead deer early Tuesday when a buck perished at a rental property Tony owns on Maple Street near the Hotel Colorado. The deer either broke its neck or died of exhaustion after its antlers got caught in a fence.
Greg Durrett said they had to use a pickup truck to remove the deer after the Colorado Division of Wildlife said it wasn’t the agency’s responsibility.
“That’s kind of like splitting hairs,” he said. “If you shot him on your property they’d be right there. You can’t have it both ways.”
Sonia Marzec, district wildlife manager in Glenwood Springs for the DOW, confirmed that it’s a private landowner’s responsibility to remove a deer when one dies on private property. The landowner can either haul it, or have it hauled, to a dump. Or, landowners have 48 hours to obtain a certificate from the DOW allowing them to remove the meat and antlers.
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Likewise, the agency doesn’t remove roadkill from state or local roadways. Instead, that job is left to the appropriate jurisdiction, such as the Colorado Department of Transportation or county, Marzec said. Motorists also may remove the carcasses if they obtain a certificate.
If the DOW were responsible for removing carcasses, “All we’d be doing is picking up dead animals, and that’s not something we do,” she said.
The DOW makes an exception in the case of trophy-size animals, in order to remove the trophy parts so the bodies can’t be harvested for them, she said.
It also occasionally will become involved when a property owner is unable to take care of a carcass, she said.
The Durretts faced such a problem Tuesday. They were using a two-wheel-drive pickup and figured they wouldn’t be able to drive it to the South Canyon Landfill because of the previous night’s snowstorm.
Instead, they took the deer to the DOW office in west Glenwood and persuaded staffers there to take the carcass off their hands.
“They didn’t like it very much but … it ain’t our deer,” Greg Durrett said.
Glenwood police chief Terry Wilson was surprised to hear that the DOW generally doesn’t remove deer carcasses from private property. He had understood deer to typically be the responsibility of the DOW.
“It’s their deer. They’re kind of proprietary about their deer,” he said.
But he said the city also tries to help out in situations involving deer carcasses, such as when they are killed along city streets. Police generally can get city public works crews to take care of them, he said.
He said police were called to the scene of the dead deer at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, but were told by Tony Durrett’s tenant that she was looking into getting a carcass certificate from the DOW. While city crews were busy that night trying to clear snow, police could have asked them to remove the deer the next day had the tenant requested it, he said