Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Roadkill Laws – Because Times Is Tough

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One time my husband told me that our friend Jefferson was going to bring over some venison that he’d marinated.  They were going to grill it, and it was going to be delicious.  I’d never eaten venison, and I’d been watching a lot of Food Network, so I said, “Why not?”

Deer

It's what's for dinner

As it turns out, the meat was delicious.  It wasn’t gamey – Jefferson had marinated it for 24 hours.  But as I took my third or fourth bite of the dish, a question popped up in my head.  It wasn’t dear season, and the meat was fresh.  Where, pray tell, did this tasty Bambi come from?  I asked this question, and my husband looked at me and said, “You don’t want to know.”  Oh dear Lord.  Was this delicious food roadkill?

Technically, it was.  The deer was struck, reportedly in the presence of my husband and Jefferson, by an SUV.  Jefferson had picked it up, put it in his truck, taken it home, and cleaned it right away.  It had been grilled until it reached a safe temperature.  I was torn.  Was this actually better than buying meat at a store where I had no idea how the animal had been treated or what had been fed or injected into it, yet the FDA had had a hand in approving it, or was it worse?  What if the deer had an internal parasite that would then be transferred to me?  I didn’t want to pull a tapeworm out of my leg by wrapping it around a pencil!  What had I done?  What had THEY done?  Was this even legal?

tapeworm

my parasitic destiny?

That was over a year ago, and I’m still alive, and not skinny or (to my knowledge) full of parasite.  So, I guess it was either safe, or we lucked out.  I have, however, been curious about the legality of eating roadkill.  So I checked it out.

Tennessee – gathering and consuming roadkill is legal

Illinois – you can’t gather it from along the side of the road or the woods, but if someone kills it (either on purpose or by accident) they can keep it, or if they give it to you YOU can keep it.  Either way, it has to be reported to the DNR.

Maine – if you hit it, you call the police and have them tag it.  Then, you take it home and cook it.  MMM!

California – Nobody’s allowed to pick up roadkill, unless they have a scientific collecting permit and plan to study it.  Nobody’s allowed to eat it.

Minnesota – Pretty much the same as Illinois.

Missouri – You have to obtain written permission to keep a road-killed deer to eat.  I hope they are quick.  That stuff doesn’t stay fresh forever.

Texas – You’re not allowed to keep it.  Drag it to the side of the road and leave it there.  The TDT will take care of it.

Washington State – Call Animal Services.  Don’t eat it.  If it’s on your property, bury it.

Wisconsin – You can obtain a free permit to remove roadkill deer.  There are also contractors who do so.  I imagine, if you collect it, you can keep it.  Any Wisconsinite want to verify?

Wyoming – You have to get it tagged by a game warden, then you can keep it.

Georgia – Called and talked to the DNR Wildlife Division, awaiting response.

I’ll update as I get more state information, or if you know your state’s law, and it’s not listed here, go ahead and comment below and make my life easier.

incidentally, in  the UK, you can collect any dead “wild” animal you want to.  If you find a dead animal that has been kept in captivity, you have to call up and get them registered as dead and cremated.  So, no eating farm animals, pets, or circus animals.  Darn!  And that dead elephant looked SO tasty!

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