By Rebecca Martinez
Animal-vehicle collisions have long been a problem in western states, leaving big game carcasses discarded along – or in the middle of – roadways. This week, it became legal in Montana to salvage and eat deer, elk, antelope and moose that have been hit and killed by cars.
Similar legislation died in the Wyoming Legislature this year. Currently, anyone who picks up road-killed game without a game warden permit runs the risk of being charged with poaching.
Bill co-sponsor Representative Dan Zwonitzer says this means more work for state agencies, which manage the road kill.
“Currently, it’s a two-part process. If the animal is on the roadway, it’s WYDOT’s responsibility to get it off the roadway… After that, it becomes the Game and Fish’s responsibility to collect the carcass, dispose of the carcass, or, in some cases, they leave it to disintegrate along the side of the road.”
Zwonitzer says road kill attracts scavengers, which can lead to more vehicle collisions.
He says his bill had a lot of support from Wyoming residents who were interested in collecting big game for meat, hides or antlers… but that the Legislature ran out of time for the bill this session.
Zwonitzer says he hopes a similar bill will be more successful in the future.