KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- The Roadside Collection team, or the 'Deer Sheriffs' as they like to be called, are removing roadkill from Michigan roadways as car-deer related crashes increase.
Removing bloodied and rotting deer carcasses off the road is not a job for the squeamish. It's definitely a dirty job with smells able to ruin most anyone's appetite. It doesn't phase the men and women at the Kent County Road Commission. When crews aren't out paving, patching, or plowing the roads, team members are picking up dead animals along the side of the road.
"We pick up about 2,500-3,000 deer annually," said Linda Dochod, a truck driver with the KCRC.
Both Allegan and Kent Counties have reported an increase in the number of deer-vehicle incidents from 2016-2017 to this point. Up North, 195 car/deer incidents have been reported in the last 17 days in Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmett Counties.
Dochod says deer are more active this time of year because it's mating and hunting season. Her co-worker, Glen Fankhauser, says the job can get a little messy, but keeping the roadways safe and clean is something the road commission prides themselves on. The Deer Sheriffs collect between 8 and 12 deer each day, all of which are composted at the 100th Street dump in Kent Co.
"I have a strong stomach and it doesn’t bother me," Fankhauser said. "You see these nasty looking deer and 15 minutes from now we’re going to eat lunch."
Both Dochod and Fankhauser tell people if they hit a deer to always call 911 and never get out to move it on your own.