IDOT dumping deer on state-right-of-ways to save time and money

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Some Illinois road crews are resorting to dumping dead deer and other road kill near area interstates to save time and money in the debt-ridden state.

It may be surprising, but according to an Illinois Department of Transportation spokesperson, perfectly legal.

An area trucker says he started noticing dead deer placed near trees and bushes along Interstate 80 between Rock Island and Henry Counties about six months ago.

The trucker, who doesn't want to be identified, says he actually saw state highway workers dragging a dead deer to a wooded spot off an interstate ramp last Thursday, March 8.

"I seen two state workers with a red strap around the deer's neck, dragging the deer off the road, down the ditch. I came back on Saturday and took a picture of it, down behind the trees," the truck driver said.

Sure enough, five days later, the decaying deer is still there, tucked in an area off the interstate ramp.  About two miles east, along Interstate 80, another deer carcass had been dragged about 30 feet from the shoulder, nestled between two small evergreens. He says he's seen others.

"For the last six months, I've been watching them. You see the deer hit, the next day, you drive by and it you look good, they're (dead deer) up in the trees, hidden in the trees. They're not picking them up, they're just dragging them," said the truck driver, who drives the same interstate route five days a week.

Spokesperson for IDOT, Josh Kauffman, says it's all allowed under the agency's guidelines for dead animal disposal.

Kauffman faxed a copy of the guidelines that state, "Dead animals found along Illinois' state highways may be disposed of by allowing them to decompose on state right-of-ways."

Kauffman says it's up to each district's discretion, and a matter of what method for getting rid of road kill is most efficient.

IDOT workers came under fire last month in the Chicago area for illegally dumping road kill on private property.  Kauffman says the cases are different, because that involved private property and not a state right-of-way.

The trucker who saw the state workers drag the deer says he doesn't understand why they don't burn or bury the dead animals.

"I think if they're going to stop and get ahold of the deer, they can properly dispose of them. They're not doing their job. They're getting paid good money for it. They're littering, as far as I'm concerned," the trucker said.