Roadkill: It's What's for Dinner (in Oregon)
Good news, Oregonians! You now have a new source for free-range, grass-fed, organic meat.
Good news, Oregonians! You now have a new source for free-range, grass-fed, organic meat, and it's easily accessible from the interstate, mostly because it's on the interstate. Literally.
Earlier this week, Governor Kate Brown signed off on the state's roadkill bill, which allows Oregon residents to collect, cook, and eat any deer or elk that they hit with their cars.
The bill was first proposed in April and was swiftly passed by the state legislature without a single vote against it, which makes Oregon the 19th state allow grill-to-grill dining. (I'm originally from West Virginia which remains a pioneer in roadkill cuisine; its own version of the roadkill bill passed in 1998). The legislation was proposed by Republican Senator Bill Hansell, who lamented the fact that so much good meat went to waste on the white lines of I-84. "You see a deer carcass," he said. "A car has hit a deer and it just lays there to rot, or somebody else has to come along and pick it up and dump it some place."
Now, thanks to his efforts, you can dump it on your own dinner plate. (Just eat around the paint chips, kids). Unfortunately, you'll still need to visit an actual grocery store this weekend: the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has until January 2019 to adopt the new rules and to start issuing permits for roadkill collection. "Salvaging deer and elk remains unlawful until new rules creating a roadkill salvage permit program are adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission," the ODFW warns on its website. (But—good news—small varmints including coyotes, skunks, nutria, opossum, badger, porcupine and weasel are considered unprotected animals that you could pick up right this minute.)
READ MORE: I Ate Deer Roadkill and It Was Delicious
According to estimates from ODFW, more than 6,000 deer and elk are killed by Oregon drivers every year. And, although Washington, Idaho and Montana had already passed similar roadkill collection legislation, Oregon held out because it thought its residents would start hunting with their Honda Civics—something that probably isn't going to happen.
"The concerns [other states] started out with—that people would be running over deer or elk just so they could get them without having a hunting license and stuff didn't really come true," Mick Cope, deputy assistant director of the Wildlife Program at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said shortly after the state passed its own bill. "It turns out that people don't really want to mess up their cars that bad."
MUNCHIES has reached out to the OFDW and will update this post when we hear back. Until then, keep those weasel recipes coming.