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Deer carcasses a common problem this time of year

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

SALEM -- That trophy buck might be costly if its carcass is found littering a West Virginia roadway or stream.

Since the state's deer seasons started in October, area litter control officials have received several reports of deer remains dumped along highways and streams, said Paul Hamrick, acting director of the Harrison County Solid Waste Authority and county litter control chairman.

"It's one of the biggest problems we deal with this time of year," he said. "One or two here and there is not a problem. But in some places, people have dumped 10, 12 or 15 in the same spot."

The local DNR office has not received as many reports as Hamrick's office has, said Capt. Kevin Ransom, of the division's Fairmont office. But it still is a problem.

Ransom said that those who dump carcasses can face two different charges: Illegal dumping on private property, with a minimum fine of $100; and negligently creating an illegal dump, with fines ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

There are additional fines for dumping in a stream, he said.

Such remains have not recently presented any public health problems in this area, but there is a potential for problems, said Randy Moodispaugh, administrator of the county Health Department.

Dead deer and other animals could be sources of diseases and runoff could affect water supplies, he said. Water treatment techniques should take care of any problems, however, Moodispaugh said.

A site on Lower Dog Run Road is one example of the problem, Hamrick said. Salem city workers recently had to remove several deer carcasses from a spot near Dog Run Lake, said Ken Yost, Salem city manager.

"No one likes to see that," he said. "Being an outdoorsman myself, I definitely don't like to see things like that happen. I'd like to see people act more responsibly."

Acting responsibly means taking the carcasses to a landfill, Hamrick said. Private property owners can legally dump a carcass on their own land, but disposal of remains on somebody else's land is illegal, he said.

"A lot of people say that Mother Nature will take care of it," Hamrick said. "That's true out in the wild But a lot of people put the deer in plastic bags so (scavengers) can't get to them."

To help combat the problem, the Solid Waste Authority will set up its portable surveillance system at the Dog Run site, Hamrick said. That should deter anybody else from dumping carcasses there.

People can report illegal dumping to the county Solid Waste Authority at 624-8715 or the Division of Natural Resources at 367-2720.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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