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Montana road kill bill brings practice in Utah to light

By Peter Samore | Posted - Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:13am

SALT LAKE CITY — Montana's legislature is hearing a bill that would allow its citizens to eat road kill. In Utah, the practice is legal, but not recommended.

Montana's HB247 passed committee and house on Feb. 12, and is heading to the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Steve Lavin, R-Kalispell, a former police officer. The bill would allow Montanans to salvage antelope, deer, elk or moose "that have been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision," the bill reads.

The bill allows a peace officer to issue permits to those who wish to salvage the carcasses for consumption.

Utahns already have a law in place that makes salvaging big game carcasses legal. Utah's law only allows eating big game animals, and usually, needy families receive their meat.

"We do have a donation slip that we give to people," said DWR conservation outreach manager Phil Douglass. "We actually have a list of people who are wanting this type of thing. If they're in a needy situation they can just give us a call, and we'll put them on the list."

Wildlife Resources, however, doesn't recommend consuming roadside venison or elk.

"They could be in good condition before the situation or the collision, but that collision generally leaves the animals less than quality condition," Douglass said.

He said hemorrhaging and bruising are common problems in the animals killed by cars.

Of course, like "trophy hunting," striking animals deliberately is illegal.

Contributing: Celeste Tholen Rosenlof

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