Yum, Yum! You Can Now Salvage & Eat Roadkill with ODFW Permit

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While a lot of people prefer to eat elk or deer that they bagged on a hunting trip, others enjoy serving up meat from a carcass found on the side of the highway. Good news – the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has given those folks the green light so long as they get a permit. (Photo: Pixabay)

Deer and elk struck by vehicles can be legally salvaged in Oregon using a free online permit that will be available at the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website.

The change in law was required after the passage of Senate Bill 372 during the 2017 Oregon State Legislative session.

The following are the key regulations to follow to legally salvage a roadkilled deer or elk:

  • The free online permit application must be submitted within 24 hours of salvaging a deer or elk. (Completing an online permit is not allowed until the animal is actually salvaged as specific information about location, date and time of salvage is required.)
  • Only deer and elk accidently struck by a vehicle may be salvaged and for human consumption of the meat only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk remains unlawful.
  • White-tailed deer may only be salvaged from Douglas County and east of the crest of the Cascade Mountains because of the protected status for white-tailed deer in most of western Oregon.
  • The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage.
  • Any person (not just the driver who struck the animal) may salvage a deer or elk killed by a vehicle.
  • Only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage an animal in cases where a deer or elk is injured and then humanely dispatched to alleviate suffering; law enforcement must also be immediately notified as required by state Statute (ORS 498.016).
  • Antlers and head of all salvaged animals must be surrendered to an ODFW office within five business days of taking possession of the carcass; see office location list on the ODFW website and call ahead to schedule an appointment. (Tissue samples from the head will be tested as part of the state’s surveillance program for chronic wasting disease.
  • While antlers and heads must be surrendered, other parts such as the hide may be kept by the roadkill salvage permit holder.
  • Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk. The ODFW will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged under the roadkill permit program.

The new rules apply only to deer and elk. It remains unlawful to salvage other game mammals including pronghorn antelope, bears and cougars.

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