Heritage Council Neighborhoods What to Do if a Deer Dies on Your Property

What to Do if a Deer Dies on Your Property


What to Do if a Deer Dies on Your Property

Encountering a deceased deer on your property can be a distressing experience. It is important to handle the situation responsibly and respectfully. If you find yourself in such a situation, here are some steps to follow:

1. Assess the situation: Take a moment to evaluate the condition of the deer. If it appears to have recently died, it might be worth reporting to the appropriate authorities, such as local animal control or wildlife agencies. They can provide guidance and assistance.

2. Contact local authorities: Reach out to your local animal control or wildlife agency to inform them about the situation. They will advise you on the best course of action and can potentially arrange for the deer to be removed.

3. Be cautious: If the deer died due to an accident or disease, it is important to handle it with care. Wear protective gloves and avoid direct contact with the animal to minimize the risk of exposure to any potential pathogens.

4. Dispose of the carcass: If the authorities are unable to assist with removal, you may need to dispose of the deer yourself. Check with your local regulations regarding the proper disposal methods. Burial, deep composting, or contacting a rendering service are some options to consider.

5. Protect your property: If the deer died near your home or garden, take precautions to prevent scavengers or predators from being attracted to the area. Secure garbage cans and eliminate any food sources that may attract wildlife.

6. Learn from the situation: Consider the circumstances surrounding the deer’s death. If it was due to a collision with a vehicle, for example, reflect on ways to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents in the future, such as implementing speed limits or adding reflective devices.

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7. Educate yourself: Familiarize yourself with local regulations on wildlife management and reporting deceased animals. Knowing the proper procedures will help you respond appropriately if such situations arise again.

8. Stay informed: Keep track of any emerging diseases affecting wildlife in your area. If you come across a deceased deer, you can provide valuable information to authorities about potential outbreaks.

9. Support local wildlife organizations: Consider donating to or volunteering with organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. By supporting their efforts, you contribute to the protection and well-being of the local ecosystem.

10. Prevent deer-related accidents: Take steps to reduce the likelihood of deer accidents on your property. Install deer fencing, use repellents, or landscape with plants that are unappealing to deer. These measures can help minimize potential harm to both deer and humans.

11. Appreciate wildlife responsibly: While it may be tempting to approach or interact with wildlife, it is crucial to maintain a safe distance and avoid feeding or disturbing them. Respecting their natural behaviors is essential for their well-being and your own safety.


1. Can I keep the deer for personal use?
No, it is generally not legal to keep or consume a deer that died from unknown causes without proper inspection and certification.

2. Can I bury the deer on my property?
Check your local regulations regarding burying large animals on your property. In some areas, it may be allowed, while others require alternative disposal methods.

3. How long does it take for a dead deer to decompose naturally?
The decomposition process can vary depending on environmental factors, but it generally takes a few weeks to several months for a deer carcass to fully decompose.

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4. Should I report the deer’s death to the authorities even if it died from natural causes?
While it may not always be necessary, reporting the death to local authorities can help them monitor wildlife populations and detect any potential diseases or issues.

5. Can I move the deer to a different location?
In most cases, it is best to leave the deer where it is to allow nature to take its course. Moving the carcass can potentially spread diseases or attract unwanted wildlife to other areas.

6. Can I claim compensation if the deer caused property damage?
Compensation for property damage caused by wildlife varies depending on local regulations and insurance policies. Contact your insurance provider or local authorities for guidance.

7. What should I do if I hit a deer with my vehicle?
If you hit a deer with your vehicle, follow proper protocol by reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company. They will guide you through the necessary steps.

8. Can I feed the deer on my property?
Feeding deer can lead to dependence on human-provided food and cause them to lose their natural foraging abilities. It is generally advised not to feed wildlife.

9. Should I be concerned about diseases when handling a dead deer?
While it is important to be cautious, the risk of contracting diseases from handling a dead deer is relatively low. Wearing gloves and avoiding direct contact can further minimize the risk.

10. What should I do if I find a fawn without its mother?
In most cases, it is best to leave the fawn alone. Mother deer often leave their fawns temporarily to forage for food. However, if you suspect the fawn is orphaned or injured, contact your local wildlife agency for guidance.

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11. Can I keep deer antlers I find on my property?
In many areas, it is legal to keep shed deer antlers found on your property. However, it is important to check your local regulations, as they may vary.