Predators can be attracted to carcasses, and that can cause problems when trying to limit conflict between livestock and predators. We have some carcass management programs in place to to reduce that attractant, including a free livestock carcass removal service available during spring calving and a livestock carcass compost facility. More information below.


LIVESTOCK CARCASS REMOVAL SERVICE

BHWC provided carcass removal to local ranches this spring during calving season, which occurs March-May in the Big Hole Valley. Predators are especially attracted to carcasses during this time as mortality is an unfortunate but expected part of calving.

BHWC’s Wildlife Programs Technician, Kim Bingen, drove a USFWS dump truck to local ranches and removed carcasses, which were transported to the new Upper Big Hole Livestock Carcass Compost Facility. All information regarding livestock and ranching operations was kept confidential.

Participation in and support of our carcass removal program far exceeded expectations this year, proving that the service is valuable to both livestock producers and wildlife proponents. We will offer carcass removal again spring 2018, if funding is available.

BHWC’s Carcass Removal service was first implemented in 2015, when Kim removed 28 carcasses from 5 local ranches free-of-charge during spring calving. In 2015, carcasses were hauled to the Beaverhead County Landfill in Dillon. We were unable to provide carcass removal in 2016 due to a delay in funding.


LIVESTOCK CARCASS COMPOSTing

Our Upper Big Hole Livestock Carcass Compost Facility opened March 2017. The site is on land leased from Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) neighboring their Wisdom Maintenance Shop. BHWC’s Wildlife Programs Technician, Kim Bingen, manages the compost site. Carcasses are transported to the compost site via our carcass removal program; scheduled drop-offs will be available through the summer. Please contact Kim at 406-660-2158 or kbingen@bhwc.org to arrange for carcass disposal.

Removing and composting carcasses reduces predator attractant to prevent livestock-wildlife conflict and help manage predator populations by limiting their food supply. Carcass compost facilities have proven to be effective tools in the disposal of livestock carcasses and the prevention of livestock-wildlife conflict in Montana.

 All information regarding livestock and ranching operations is kept confidential.

BHWC’s carcass management programs are a collaborative effort with many contributors, including the USFWS-Red Rock Lakes NWR, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Wildlife Conservation Society – Community Partnerships Program, USFWS-Montana Partners for Fish and Wildlife, People and Carnivores, Cinnabar Foundation, Montana Livestock Loss Board, and many local ranchers who have contributed wood chips, use of heavy equipment, knowledge, donations, and support.

 

Contact us for more information or get in touch with Kim Bingen at 406-660-2158 or kbingen@bhwc.org to make arrangements for carcass removal. 


Centennial Valley Carcass Removal

This spring, the Big Hole Watershed Committee partnered with the Centennial Valley Association to provide livestock carcass removal free-of-charge to Sage Creek ranchers.  Carcasses are hauled to the Beaverhead County Landfill.  Removing carcasses from ranches during calving season – which is a high mortality period for the ranching industry – removes predator attractant, controls predator populations, and makes predators work for their lunch rather than feeding on livestock.  Carcass removal may also prevent livestock-predator conflict.  The carcass removal dump truck is on loan from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service – Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.


Carcass Management RESOURCES

Carcass Composting Fact Sheet (PDF)

Carcass Disposal Option: Composting

“Should You Consider Carcass Composting?” by Cora Helm