Good Question: What Happens To Roadkill?

Road kill might be ugly, smelly hazard that commuters face every day on Wisconsin’s roads, but someone has to clean up the mess.

Tens of thousands of animals are killed every year in Wisconsin because of car collisions, officials said. But who has to clean it up?

Rob Phillips, the city engineer for Madison, said that the city has the role of removing the road kill.

“There are a lot of jobs that we all have to do that we don’t like, but they do it, and they’re happy to do it,” Phillips said. “Typically, squirrels, raccoons, opossums are what we typically get.”

Cities aren’t responsible for cleaning up after deer road kill. State officials take up on that task, officials said.

“It generally gets picked up by a car-kill deer contractor. The state contracts with that person to do that,” said Carl Brooks, of the state Department of Natural Resources.

Brooks said there are a handful of contractors statewide who clean up the 26,000 deer hit by cars every year.

Whether the roadkill involves deer or other, smaller animals, most of the car casualties end up in landfills. However, Brooks said there’s one exception.

“There are about 4,000 people that have picked up deer and took them home with them,” he said.

Brooks said it?s legal for people to take deer home, but they need to contact their local sheriff?s department to issue a tag.

The city of Madison said it relies on citizens to report roadkill they see, and crews generally get it cleaned up within a day or two. To report roadkill, officials suggest residents visit the city’s website.

For those outside of Madison, the best way is contacting the local city hall.