Family Told Not to Touch Rotting Deer While Road Commission Delays Removal

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MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. (May 14, 2014) – A Montcalm County couple was unable to let their children play outside because of a rotting deer carcass in their front yard.

Ace Moore says the carcass it’s been there since December, and he was told they aren’t allowed to touch it.

Once FOX 17 started looking into who’s responsible for the dead deer on the side of the road, we found more problems and learned there’s a real break in the system when it comes to cleaning up road kill.

“It’s not our number one priority,” Montcalm County Road Commission Superintendent Mark Christensen said. “Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.  That’s probably not a safety concern for the motoring public and that’s what we need to deal with first.”

In most counties, road commissions remove road kill from the side of the road.

“We really don’t think it’s our responsibility, because we don’t get to manage wildlife,” Jerry Byrne of the Kent County Road Commission said. Last year, the Kent County Road Commission spent roughly $100,000 to remove 2,500 deer.  Montcalm County spent $20,000 to remove 1,400.

“So that’s $100,000 a year that’s not filling pot holes, paving roads, cutting trees, cleaning ditches,” Byrne said.

Moore had been calling the Montcalm County Road Commission to remove the unsightly carcass from his front yard. “It stinks so bad, you can’t even walk out the door barely.   I can’t let my kids play out here because of the stench and diseases.”

Christensen says when the crew went to pick up the dead deer in Moore’s yard, they couldn’t find it.  So, Moore says, he offered to take care of it himself.

“They said if I touched it without a permit, it was a felony, and they have just not come out to get it,” Moore said.

Byrne of Kent County says that’s not true. “He can touch it. He just can’t take possession of it to use it as his own. I mean, he can dig a hole and bury it,” Byrne said.

It’s why there’s a bill working its way through Lansing to loosen up laws when it comes to removing road kill.

“They’re trying to make it easier for the public to legally take road kill, use them for their own purposes for meat, feed their families,” Byrne said. “Obviously, it’s a good thing for the road authority, because we’re not going to spend the $40 apiece to pick it up and throw it in the landfill at (the) people’s expense,” Byrne said.

After hearing about Moore’s problem Christensen said the road commission will take care of it immediately.

Christensen says he’ll also be making changes internally to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


Moore posted this on the FOX 17 Facebook page on May 15: “The rotting deer was removed from my yard this morning around 7:30 a.m. as promised by the county’s superintendent of the road commission!!!! Thank you again for your help!!!!!”

05-15-14 Ace Moore facebook post

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  • Brian

    When people hit a deer at least in Newaygo County there is a butchering company that will process the deer for free and give the meat to local pantry. There is needy people that need food and when a deer gets hit by car yes not alot of the meat is going be good but some is and it can be processed and give the meat to the poor. Also in Newaygo County alot of people go and pick up deer during winter mainly to get the meat for food. I think this would solve alot of the problem.

    • Livid

      [quote] There is needy people that need food and when a deer gets hit by car yes not alot of the meat is going be good but some is and it can be processed and give the meat to the poor”[end quote]

      So, Am I understanding your comment correctly, Because they are poor, They should be served rotten deer meat?
      Kind of like, a beggars can’t be choosers kind of mentality!?? If not, Then I stand corrected, But that is how it looks… Which is wrong on many levels! JMO

      • LoveMyKeeKats

        Really? I don't get where Brian was talking about any rotten meat. If someone hits a deer and calls right away to have it picked up that will benefit a lot of needy people.

        I know in the county I live in there is a waiting list for dispatchers to call someone to pick up a freshly killed deer. Passing this new law would benefit a lot of people and save taxpayers a lot of money.

  • debbie

    Just help the county out and bury the deer ! Is that hard to figure out ? They obviously did not know it was there in the first place. Why complain about the stench and let it sit there worrying about who’s job it is.

  • Livid

    pretty sad this country is when people think its okay to eat road kill- Ack!
    The people in the article referred to the animal in question as basically decomposing-
    That cannot be acceptable for anyone to consume- JMO

  • Eat it

    Fresh road kill is fine to eat. why waste an animal ?
    I have roadkill deer in the freezer right now, killed in front of my house. i use it for dog food.
    But i have nothing against eating it myself if i cared for venison

    wasting a deer is horrible, maybe even sinful.
    its disgusting that we leave rotting critters in the road, no respect for the critter what so ever

    • lol!

      Nasty! And I guess you are married to your cousin too because it is “fine” with the state of mi?
      The other people are right, Just clean up the damned rot and get on with your pathetic lives!

  • Leo

    It takes forever to rot and smells awful! Every time I made a turn going to Sturgis last summer for two weeks it made me gag…there was a rotten one by Water Street…I thought the smell was coming from the junky yard/car repair place on the corner but but it was rotting meat.

  • Tim

    Why do people expect the government to take care of everything for them? If there is a dead animal in your yard, drag it some where and bury it.

    • lol!

      Yes, That is what “normal” people would do-
      But don’t forget that these “folk” here who advocate eating rotting road kill are not normal! Just a bunch of redneck midwestern hillbillies who live on a state where “Cousin marryin is legal” They probably “catch” their meals ever night right after the nascar races right out front of they’s trailer houses! lol!
      What a bunch of white trash losers!
      Happy I left that economic pot hole long ago!