FILE - In this June 11, 2008, file photo, a wounded deer lies in the road after being hit by a car on the northbound lane of Interstate 295 near Freeport, Maine. In Oregon, under a road kill bill passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed by the governor, motorists who crash into the animals can now harvest the meat for human consumption. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)

Oregon joins states where roadkill can be harvested for food

  • Jun. 22, 2017 2:20 p.m.

SALEM, Ore. — Some folks in Oregon might not want to ask, when served an elk burger or a venison steak, where the meat 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.

It’s not as unusual as people might think. 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.

“Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today,” noted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

Washington state began allowing the salvaging of deer and elk carcasses a year ago. 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.

“We are at or near the top of the list. We have a lot of roads and a lot of deer,” said Travis Lau, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, though he added the total number was uncertain.

Pennsylvanians can take deer or turkeys that are killed on the road if they report the incidents to the commission within 24 hours, Lau said in a telephone interview.

Gov. Kate Brown signed Oregon’s bill last week after the Senate and House passed it without a single “nay” vote.

But a few Oregonians voiced opposition.

Vivian Kirkpatrick-Pilger, a Republican Party official in mountainous, forested Josephine County, told legislators that people have been salvaging roadkill meat in Oregon for years — since vehicles and animals have been colliding — and they’ve never needed a law or permit to do it.

Actually, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said that before last week, the only people allowed to keep roadkill were licensed furtakers, and no one — not even licensed hunters — could keep game animals found as roadkill.

The rules were aimed at discouraging people from hitting a game animal with their vehicle to take the meat or antlers. “It’s not a legal method of hunting,” the department’s website says.

Les Helgeson, of the community of Beaver, near the northwest coast, told legislators that roadkill “would not be palatable, much less pass any sense of health standards for human consumption.”

But those who have sampled it say otherwise.

Todd Toven of Castle Rock, Colorado, posted a video on YouTube showing himself carving up a deer that had been hit by a vehicle on a highway and finished off by a deputy sheriff’s bullet. Toven made it into venison sausage.

“A lot of who people don’t hunt hear the word ‘roadkill’ and they get turned off,” Toven said. “We’re talking perfectly clean, cold meat.”

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.

Just Posted

Canada’s 150 year ends on ice, but no hockey pucks, triple jumps allowed

OTTAWA — No figure skating. No hockey. No racing. No cell phones.… Continue reading

Banner signing at Collicutt Centre

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Regulator investigating Sears Canada liquidation sale prices: monitor

TORONTO — The Competition Bureau is investigating allegations that prices on some… Continue reading

Liberals push cities to rethink planning with launch of ‘challenge’ program

OTTAWA — Cities looking for extra federal cash are being pushed to… Continue reading

Exclusive Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month