Southwest Georgia Counties Address Deer Carcass Dumping

20 signs have been erected in the four-county area that makes up the Pataula Creek watershed.

Press Release | February 7, 2020

With assistance from state and regional agencies, four counties in southwest Georgia have installed signage to address contamination associated with the illegal dumping of deer carcasses. The Pataula Creek watershed, located in Stewart, Quitman, Randolph and Clay counties, contains several stream segments which are listed as impaired by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for violating the state standards for fecal coliform—a type of bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, which at high levels, indicates the possible presence of pathogens.

In 2012, the River Valley Regional Commission (RVRC), a multi-county planning and development agency, received funding from EPD, in the form of a 319(h) grant, to develop a watershed management plan for the watershed, which would identify contributing sources of pollution and recommend management measures that could be implemented to address them.

Visual surveys conducted during the development of the plan documented a prevalence of dumping in the watershed, most commonly with deer remains found dumped over bridges and/or directly in streams and along roadsides in remote rural areas.

Water quality data collected during this time also linked higher levels of fecal coliform to the beginning and end of deer hunting season. Based on the observations and data that were collected, project managers recommended installation of signage as a management measure to inform hunters about the illegality of dumping carcasses in streams and along roadways.

One of 20 new signs that have been erected to remind hunters not to dump their deer carcasses or remains into any boy of water. This sign is in Stewart County on Philadelphia Church Road on Hodchodkee Creek.

Upon completion of the watershed management plan, the RVRC applied for funding to implement the management measures recommended in the plan. A 319(h) grant was awarded to the regional commission by EPD in 2015, which provided funding to purchase the materials necessary to complete the installations. Counties installed signage at a total of 20 locations throughout the watershed, which were determined by RVRC staff and county road departments as areas frequently impacted by dumping. In addition to informing hunters about the illegal nature of carcass dumping, signs provide contact information for the DNR Ranger Hotline (800.241.4113), to which illegal dumping activity can be reported.

Laura Schneider, Environmental Planner with the RVRC, has played a lead role in the multi-year operation and wants people to understand the direct impact their actions have on water quality.

“When a deer carcass is left to decompose in a stream, the fecal coliform inside of that animal is released directly into the adjacent water body, causing the water quality to become degraded.”

Schneider encourages hunters to be mindful of how they choose to dispose of any unwanted remains and recommends field-dressing when possible.

“This allows scavengers to take care of the remains usually within just a few days,” she said.

If field-dressing is not an option, she suggests checking with a local landfill or waste provider, which may accept remains bagged with household trash.

“In any case, it is important to obtain permission from the landowner or authority of the property before disposing of any remains, and to do so in a location that is not near a water body,” said Schneider. “We want to ensure that these resources are protected so that we can continue to enjoy them for years to come. Practicing ethical and responsible disposal methods is an essential part of that.”

For more on the River Valley Regional Commission, go to their website or Facebook page.

A dead deer carcass in a body of water will never do anything positive for the image of hunting. Thankfully a group in southwest Georgia has erected signs in 20 locations to discourage hunters from being so irresponsible. The efforts all stemmed when it was discovered that the Pataula Creek watershed was becoming contaminated. It’s believed that the illegal dumping of deer was at least partly to blame.

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  1. rdbarnett on February 21, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Anyone know when 2019-2020 Truck Buck Scoring Results will be available?

    • Daryl on February 21, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      The scoring dates hit right at magazine deadlines, so there’s a delay this year. We’ll start proofing Monday afternoon, and that will take a week or so to go through all the score sheets.

      • rdbarnett on February 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm


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