Take the deer, skip the Dan'l Boone cap
If I hit a deer or a raccoon with my car at night and it is alive but injured, what is the correct procedure? Is there a phone number to call?
— Max S., email submission
Well, Max, if you’ve got a taste for grilled raccoon, you’re out of luck. Oregon’s roadkill salvage laws don’t take into account the black-faced critters. Just big game. You’d need a furbearer’s license to take that critter home.
If and when you decide to salvage a roadkill deer or elk, you must report that kill to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Within 24 hours of picking up a carcass, salvagers must get a free permit from the ODFW website and provide their name, contact information, the species and sex of the animal, where it was hit and whether the salvager was the driver.
You can get that permit at myodfw.com and then search roadkill.
New this year because of the COVID-19 virus, those who take doe deer or cow elk from roadkill have to report their kill but they don’t have to bring the carcass in for inspection within five business days. However, by state statute, those who salvaged buck deer or bull elk must bring the head and antlers to an ODFW office for surrender. That can’t be waived.
To arrange a time to surrender the head and antlers, call either the ODFW office at the Denman Wildlife Area at 541-826-8778 or the Gold Beach office at 541-247-7605.
Thousands of Oregon deer and elk are killed by vehicles annually, with by far the most coming in October and November, when the animals are mating, Oregon Department of Transportation statistics show.
However, most are bloodshot and considered inedible by meat inspectors, so the Oregon Legislature in 2018 decided to leave it to the driver — or the first one to find the carcass — to decide whether it was dinner-plate worthy.
Under the law, whoever picks up roadkill must take the entire animal home and not leave a roadside gut pile that could attract scavengers that could also get hit.
The rules don’t give the driver first dibs on the animal that’s killed, so salvage is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. However, in the case of an injured animal, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal can kill it and take it home.
New this year, however, people can take home animals that were wounded by a vehicle and killed by a police officer.
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