Pesky roadside problem addressed after months of neglect - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Pesky roadside problem addressed after months of neglect

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Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - A roadside problem in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties is being addressed, after months of neglect. Two men are playing catch up to remove deer carcasses, after the last contractor didn't get the job done.

For Deer Removal Contractor, Gary Peterson and his son, it's another day, another deer that needs to be cleared.  "We're contracted to remove the deer from the highways," says Peterson.  

The Peterson's cover 16 Wisconsin counties and as you can imagine, that's a lot of heavy lifting. Gary says on an average day they collect 30 deer.  He says, "We just found out it's easier for two people to go. When we come up to the carcass, we grab the legs, put them in the back, and move on."

According to the DNR, in 2011, more than 26,000 car-deer collisions were reported in the state.  In Eau Claire County alone, there were 485.  

Eau Claire area DNR Conservation Warden, Jeremy Peery, says, "Wisconsin prides itself on being one of the leaders in natural resources and scenic beauty, and having a lot of deer carcasses along major travel corridors just doesn't do it."

The DNR says the person it had hired to do the job wasn't getting it done. Peery says, "At the end of the day it ended up costing taxpayers between Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties somewhere in the neighborhood of $9,000 that was paid out to that contractor for no work that was done."

So the Peterson's took over. "Over about a month and half period he picked up over 300 carcasses in between Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties that had not been picked up by the previous contractor," says Peery.   

Gary says, "To see that many deer that were out there, I could not imagine how many people were unhappy and the complaints that were in this particular area."

But the sights and smells aren't the only occupational hazard.  "It's a fairly dangerous profession. As a matter of fact, the one long standing car-kill deer contractor we had in Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties, before the one that we had issues with in October, was actually hit while doing the job, which forced him to retire from that because he just couldn't do it anymore," explains Peery.  

Gary says, "The conditions sometimes, with what we pick up, can be a little bit rough but we still get to enjoy the country side lets face it, Wisconsin has a lot of beautiful countryside to enjoy. It changed my perspective as far as eating venison. I no longer do that."

The Peterson's take the deer to area landfills after picking them up.

WQOW News 18 asked the DNR how much the contractors are paid each month. They say the previous contractor made $1,755 between Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, per month. 

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