Car-Killed Deer

WisDOT manages the state Car-Killed Deer (CKD) Program, a system to remove dead whitetail deer from the roadside of state highways in Wisconsin. No other animals, wild or domesticated, are eligible to be removed from state highways through the CKD program. State highways include the Interstates, U.S. highways, and state trunk highways in Wisconsin. The 2015-17 state budget separated the state CKD program from services provided on town, village, city and county roads. Local units of government are now responsible for the management and funding of CKD services on their local roads.

CKD service may include removal and transport of the carcass to a landfill, incinerator or chemical digester. CKD may also be transported to a rendering plant in counties not affected by Chronic Wasting Disease. CKD service also includes “roadside disposal,” which involves dragging a carcass out of view, but remaining within the public right-of-way. The roadside disposal option is only available in rural areas more than ¼ mile away from a residence or business. Multiple carcasses cannot be disposed in one location, and the carcass must be outside ditches and mowing areas. The roadside disposal policy has drastically reduced program costs, limiting transportation costs and landfill tipping fees.

Tips to avoid deer crashes

  • Be especially vigilant in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active
  • Slow down and eliminate distractions
  • Always wear your safety belt - there are fewer and less severe injuries in crashes when all vehicle occupants wear safety belts
  • If you see a deer along the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the animal away
  • When one deer appears, look for more. Deer seldom run alone
  • If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect it to move away
    • Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze
    • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path
  • Do not swerve
    • Swerving can confuse the deer as to where to run, and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle and result in a much more serious crash
    • The one exception is if you are operating a motorcycle, in which case you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane if at all possible to avoid hitting other objects
  • If you do hit a deer:
    • Get your vehicle safely off the road if possible, and call law enforcement
    • It's generally safest to stay buckled-up inside your vehicle. Walking along the highway is very dangerous as you could be struck by another vehicle
    • Don't attempt to move an injured deer

Reporting disposal/removal contact information

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is currently contracting with CKD disposal services in each county on interstate, U.S and state highways. Counties are responsible for removing deer carcasses on county highways. Municipalities are responsible for removing deer carcasses on their local roads.

More information

Deer vehicle crash statistics

Learn more about deer vehicle crash information at the following links. 

For additional information

Scott Bush, CKD Program Manager, scott.bush@dot.wi.gov or (608) 266-8666

Webpage last edited Oct. 4, 2018