ODFW reminder: Roadkill salvaging of deer elk unlawful

In the wake of the signing of a new law allowing salvaging of deer and elk hit by motor vehicles, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife advises Oregonians the practice is still illegal.

The new law allowing the salvage of roadkilled deer and elk will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2019, at the latest. Salvaging roadkilled deer and elk remains unlawful until new rules are adopted to implement the new statute.

The Oregon State Legislature gave ODFW up to two years to develop a safe, responsible salvage program. Until that time, current Oregon wildlife regulations remain in place and state, “No person shall possess or transport any game mammal or part thereof, which has been illegally killed, found or killed for humane reasons, except shed antlers, unless they have notified and received permission from personnel of the Oregon State Police or ODFW prior to transporting.” Even licensed hunters may not pick up roadkilled deer and elk during legal hunting seasons.

The law, SB 372, was passed by the 2017 Oregon State Legislature and asks ODFW to make a wildlife salvage permit available for deer and elk that have been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision. The new law states that deer and elk can only be salvaged for human consumption, that antlers must be returned to ODFW, and that people will recover the roadkill and consume the meat at their own risk.

As with all regulations, ODFW staff will write draft rules and present them to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for public comment and consideration before adoption.

Salvaging roadkill has been unlawful to discourage people from deliberately hitting a game animal with their vehicle in order to keep the meat or antlers. “ODFW will work to write rules that make getting a permit to legitimately salvage a roadstruck deer or elk as simple as possible, but that also discourage poaching,” says Doug Cottam, ODFW wildlife division administrator.

For more information about roadkill and what to do if your car hits a wild animal, visit ODFW’s webpage on the subject at dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/roadkill%20_regulations.asp.

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