Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New Law: Montana legalizes eating roadkill

Turkey vultures enjoying some road kill.

Turkey vultures enjoying some road kill.

You heard it everybody: very soon, it will be legal in Montana to eat your very own road kill, or someone else’s. This in response to concerns that roadkill is a waste of meat that some might otherwise hunt to eat. Even so, many find the concept unpalatable to say the least.

Starting this Thursday, Montana’s Fish and Wildlife commission is expected to approve regulations to allow those who accidentally kill animals with their cars, to go to an official website, print out an official permit, and harvest their roadkill within 24 hours.

If the roadkill occurs during regular business hours, the carcass can be presented in person to an officer or to a Fish and Wildlife office and a permit obtained. Earlier this year Montana passed a bill allowing those who strike and kill large game such as moose, deer and elk with their vehicles to harvest it legally. It is unclear what animals are covered under this new legislation.

Some, have expressed fear that drivers might intentionally try to kill an animal with their car just so they may eat it. This writer personally knows drivers who, salivating at the sight of a deer crossing the road, have intentionally gunned their engines at the mere thought of a venison dinner. Even those drivers, however, slowed down when they thought about just how much damage a deer could do to their car.

Others, no doubt picturing crushed, dried-out, flat animal carcasses baking on a hot summer road, questioned the safety of eating roadkill, though anyone who has ever gone hunting seems okay with the idea as long as the animal is gutted and harvested quickly. With that in mind, Montana Fish and Wildlife is looking to create an app to make obtaining a roadkill salvage permit that much quicker and easier.

For those of you not up on the whole eating roadkill trend, several states have enacted roadkill salvaging legislation including Washington State, Maryland, Colorado, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts and others, though many have restrictions on what animals and what parts may be salvaged, and almost all require some sort of permit to harvest.

And let’s not forget, “The West Virginia RoadKill Cook-off is one of the region’s most fun and exciting annual events. In years past, the Food Network, the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel have all covered this wild and wacky festival! If you’ve ever wanted to taste exotic dishes like squirrel gravy over biscuits, teriyaki-marinated bear or deer sausage, this is the place to be! ”

Yum. Gentlemen, start your engines.

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