Roadkill

I just read that Montana has now legalized the consumption of roadkill.  Now, if a deer or elk is killed by an automobile, a person may legally take the carcass for food, provided the person obtains a free permit for it within 24 hours.

I was surprised that until now in Montana it had been illegal to eat an animal killed by a motor vehicle.  That seems a strange law to me.  But doing a little research on it, I found that such laws aren’t uncommon.  In Texas, Tennessee, California and Washington, for example, it is illegal to collect roadkill for any purpose.   Strange.

It seems that Virginia requires that in order to take roadkill a person first obtain a permit, which seems to be a de facto prohibition.  I can’t imagine someone killing an animal in a collision, then going to get a permit before coming back to get the animal.

Some states, like Florida, allow a person to do whatever they like with roadkill.  Many states have no laws on the subject.

Although roadkill doesn’t sound appetizing to me, it does seem a pity to allow a potential food source to go to waste.  In Alaska it’s illegal to take roadkill home, but it’s supposed to be reported so the state can collect it and provide it to charities with feeding programs.

Here’s an interesting interactive map that identifies each state’s law on the subject:  http://www.marketplace.org/content/roadkill-roadtrip

I did find one provision of the new Montana law to be odd.  The law prohibits eating certain fur-bearing roadkill, such as sheep and bears.  Why?  Because of a concern that people might intentionally ram them in order to get the carcass.

Who in their right mind would intentionally ram a bear?  I imagine that would be pretty hard on the vehicle.

Collisions with deer are common here, and it’s a major problem.  Nationwide there are about 1 million vehicle/deer collisions every year, resulting in about 2oo human deaths, about 10,000 injuries and $1 billion in vehicle damage.  Far more people die in collisions with deer than are killed by any predator animal.

My guess is that anyone foolish enough to ram a vehicle into a bear would soon discover that the stew doesn’t compensate for the cost of repairing the vehicle.

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