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  • No, you can't salvage the meat

    Taking roadkill home is illegal in Oregon to deter poachers and prevent health problems
  • Twenty states allow motorists unlucky enough to hit and kill a deer to take it home, but no such meals-under-wheels program has gained traction in Oregon in recent decades.
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  • Twenty states allow motorists unlucky enough to hit and kill a deer to take it home, but no such meals-under-wheels program has gained traction in Oregon in recent decades.
    Earlier this year, Montana became the most recent state to enact a salvage law allowing people to keep the meat, hide and antlers of roadkill animals, but such a bill hasn't been considered in the Oregon Legislature since 2008.
    Past attempts reached a Senate or House committee largely through the Oregon custom of allowing any citizen to offer a bill for legislative consideration.
    "I don't even think any of the bills have gotten out of a hearing, just a courtesy hearing for constituents," says Ron Anglin, Wildlife Division administrator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    Others have approached the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for permission to salvage roadkill, often arguing that not doing so is a waste of good meat.
    "We tend to point out, be careful what you wish for when picking up roadkill," Anglin says. "What looks like an animal that's in good shape very well might not be."
    Most animals' insides are ruptured when they succumb to such blunt-force trauma, sending rumens bacteria into muscles that become inedible, Anglin says. Often, that poor meat quality isn't noticed until butchering, he says.
    "They may not be as edible as people think," he says.
    Oregon State Police troopers have long opposed roadkill salvage bills amid concerns that poachers might use them as an excuse to possess illegally killed animals and that others might intentionally hit deer to get their meat and/or antlers.
    The OSP investigated a case several years ago in the Coos Bay area where poachers fortified the grill of a pickup for just one reason.
    "They were intentionally running over deer," says Lt. David Gifford from the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division in Central Point.
    Troopers also have resisted concepts of allowing people to keep roadkill on a case-by-case basis.
    OSP's fish and wildlife troopers are certified meat inspectors, Gifford says. If they certified a carcass as edible but the person who took it didn't cook it properly and got sick, the trooper could be liable, Gifford says.
    Most of the roadkill-salvage-friendly states are in the South and Midwest, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California and Washington join Oregon in banning it. The closest state to Oregon with legalized roadkill salvage is Idaho, which enacted its law in 2011.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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