By SCOTT BAUER | Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Spot a dead deer on the side of the road? Gov. Scott Walker doesn't want the state Department of Natural Resources paying to clean it up.
Walker's budget would delete $700,000 in funding a year for DNR to pay for disposal of deer carcasses along Wisconsin's roadways.
Instead, responsibility for paying to cart off the dead deer would fall to whatever other government agency is in charge of the road. Or they may be left uncollected.
“Dead and decaying deer on the roadside are unsightly and can dampen Wisconsin's reputation as a tourist destination,” the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau cautioned members of the Legislature's budget committee in a memo describing the proposal.
That warning appears to be winning over Rep. John Nygren, the Republican co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. Nygren said Tuesday he's inclined to make sure the state still pays for deer removal.
“Wisconsin is a tourism state, especially as you get up north, and I think it does send the wrong message to have these decaying, disgusting deer along the side of the road,” Nygren said.
The DNR supports Walker's proposal. A spokesman for the agency didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
Under current law, DNR contracts with counties and the cities of Superior and Brookfield to remove dead deer. In each of the past two years, about 23,000 dead deer have been removed from the side of Wisconsin highways. But that doesn't account for the animals killed in traffic accidents and taken home by people with free permits.
The most deer collected, 1,098, came from Waukesha County, followed by 817 in Washington County and 812 in Waupaca County.
Under Walker's proposal, DNR wardens would respond to car-killed deer only if there was a threat to human safety, such as when there is a deer in the middle of the road and cars can't maneuver around it, or when no other law enforcement agencies can deal with it.
There were 17,766 car-deer collisions in Wisconsin in 2014, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Transportation. Those accidents resulted in 407 people being injured and nine deaths.