ODFW: Roadkill salvage law not yet in effect

Wildlife collision density from September 2009 through June 2017. (ODFW)

SALEM, Ore. – Elk and deer are on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of them becoming roadkill.

That’s prompting the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to remind the public Oregon’s “roadkill salvage” law is not yet in effect.

Senate Bill 372 was passed through the legislature this past summer. The new law tasks ODFW with making a wildlife salvage permit available for deer and elk that have been accidentally killed by a vehicle collision.

ODFW has up to two years to develop the salvage program. Until that time, current wildlife regulations remain in place. The agency has until January 2019 to design the framework.

In other words, it’s still illegal to salvage road-killed deer and elk in Oregon–even for licensed hunters. But that hasn’t stopped many drivers from asking ODFW if roadkill can be salvaged and taken home.

ODOT statistics indicate there were 1,160 accidental collision involving wildlife in November of last year and 1,052 in October. That’s compared to just 377 in December 2016.

“Be extra careful driving this time of year, especially where there is a lot of vegetation next to a road, or when going around curves as wildlife near the road might not be visible,” said Oregon State Police Captain Bill Fugate. “Drivers who see an animal near the roadway should try to reduce their speed and be aware that other animals will often be crossing, too. Finally, if you can, stay in your lane because serious crashes involving wildlife are often due to drivers swerving to avoid hitting an animal.”

While citizens may not be able to salvage roadkill, that doesn’t stop ODFW, OSP, or the Oregon Department of Transportation. If possible, they will try to salvage the meat and donate it to a local food bank.

For more information about what to do if your car hits a wild animal, visit ODFW’s webpage.

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