Gag Alert: Taking Roadkill Is Legal And Gaining In Popularity
Wisconsin allows people to register their car-killed deer, bear or turkey online or by phone. Once confirmed, the animal can be removed and used as food without even waiting for a police-issued tag.
If you're thinking, "Well, sure. They also think bratwurst is a vegetable and cheese hats are fashionable," don't be so quick to judge. We can (and many do) do the same thing here in Illinois. At least with deer.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois motorists hit 15,354 deer with their vehicles this past year, including more than 1,000 in deep Southern Illinois.
If the driver who struck the deer is an Illinois resident, he or she has first right of refusal in claiming a deer killed or injured as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
If the driver doesn’t want it, the deer becomes anyone’s game (if you’ll forgive the pun). That is, unless you’re behind on child support payments or live in another state.
INDR says that, according to the law, “any citizen of Illinois who is not delinquent in child support may possess and transport the deer.”
According to The Guardian, over 600 moose are killed in Alaska each year, leaving meat on the road that tallies to thousands of pounds. Rather than wasting it, the state gives the roadkill to charities willing to process and use the animals at their own risk.
One study by the UCDavis Road Ecology Center counted about 6,600 roadkill instances in California during its study period. These accidents led to an estimated $307 million in expenses for the state, and estimates go as high as $600 million when factoring in accidents unreported to police.
And, it's not just people grabbing the meat for home use:
27 states now make some sort of allowance for the picking up, and consuming of, roadkill.
ALABAMA (ONLY NON-PROTECTED ANIMALS AND GAME ANIMALS DURING OPEN SEASON MAY BE HARVESTED)
ALASKA (INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HARVEST ANIMALS, BUT MOOSE, CARIBOU, AND OTHER SPECIES MAY BE DISTRIBUTED THROUGH VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS)
ARIZONA (BIG GAME ANIMALS MAY BE COLLECTED WITH PERMIT)
COLORADO (PROPER AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED)
GEORGIA (NATIVE SPECIES MAY BE HARVESTED; MUST NOTIFY STATE ABOUT ROADKILLED BLACK BEARS)
IDAHO (MUST REPORT THE TIME OF THE SALVAGE)
ILLINOIS (PROPER HUNTING OR TRAPPING LICENSE AND/OR HABITAT STAMP REQUIRED)
INDIANA (PERMIT REQUIRED)
MARYLAND (PERMIT REQUIRED)
MASSACHUSETTS (PERMIT REQUIRED; MUST SUBMIT ROADKILL FOR STATE INSPECTION)
MICHIGAN (DEER AND BEAR MAY BE SALVAGED WITH PERMIT)
NEW YORK (LICENSE OR TAG MAY BE REQUIRED DEPENDING ON SPECIES)
NEW JERSEY (ONLY DEER MAY BE SALVAGED WITH PERMIT)
NORTH DAKOTA (PERMIT REQUIRED)
NORTH CAROLINA (MUST BE REGISTERED OVER THE PHONE BY DNR STAFF)
PENNSYLVANIA (MUST REPORT THE INCIDENT TO STATE GAME COMMISSION WITHIN 24 HOURS)
SOUTH DAKOTA (PROPER NOTIFICATION AND AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED)
UTAH (PERMIT REQUIRED TO SALVAGE NON-PROTECTED SPECIES)
VERMONT (POSSESSION TAG REQUIRED FOR BIG GAME ANIMALS AND FURBEARERS)
WEST VIRGINIA (MUST BE REPORTED WITHIN 12 HOURS OF COLLECTION)
WISCONSIN (MUST BE REGISTERED OVER THE PHONE BY DNR STAFF)