Oregon Decides Roadkill Can Be Harvested to Eat

Other states have similar laws on the books
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2017 11:27 AM CDT
Oregon Decides Motorists Can Eat the Animal They Crash Into
In this March 4, 2010, file photo, a deer runs across the road in Pittsburg, NH.   (Jim Cole)

Some folks in Oregon might not want to ask where the elk burger or a venison steak they're being served came from. Under a roadkill bill passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed by the governor, motorists who crash into the animals can now harvest the meat to eat, the AP reports. And it's not as unusual as people might think. Washington state began allowing the salvaging of deer and elk carcasses a year ago, and about 20 other states also allow people to take meat from animals killed by vehicles. Aficionados say roadkill can be high-quality, grass-fed grub. "A lot of people who don't hunt hear the word 'roadkill' and they get turned off," says one man who's harvested roadkill. "We're talking perfectly clean, cold meat."

Pennsylvania might top the country in road kills, with Oregon wildlife officials telling lawmakers that the eastern state had over 126,000 vehicle-wildlife accidents in 2015. Pennsylvanians can take deer or turkeys that are killed on the road if they report the incidents to the state's Game Commission within 24 hours. Gov. Kate Brown signed Oregon's bill last week after the Senate and House passed it without a single "nay" vote. Oregon's new law calls for the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt rules for the issuance of permits for the purpose of salvaging meat for human consumption from deer or elk that have been accidentally killed in a vehicle collision. The first permits are to be issued no later than Jan. 1, 2019. The antlers must be handed over to the state's wildlife agency. (More Oregon stories.)

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