FWP Seeks Comment on Roadkill Salvage Rules

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on a proposed rule allowing motorists to salvage antelope, deer, elk and moose killed in vehicle collisions after state lawmakers passed the so-called roadkill bill in March.

FWP put out its proposed regulations on how to implement the new law on Thursday, The Missoulian reported. Comments must be received by Aug. 23.

The plan calls for anyone who wants to salvage one of the four species to obtain a possession permit by presenting the dead animal to a peace officer or FWP office. The meat must be used for human consumption and not for bait or other purposes.

The proposed rule also says big-game tags and hunting licenses issued for hunting won’t be recognized for salvaging.

“We’re trying to do something that’s efficient for the individuals that want to pick something up,” FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim said.

FWP officials said they are uncertain of the public’s interest in collecting and eating road-killed animals, but salvagers will have to remove the entire carcass and not take only parts.

“It’s one of those things, we just don’t know,” Aasheim said. “It doesn’t have to be an animal you hit, and you have to recover the entire carcass. So if you’re just looking for antlers, then you’ve got a little more on your hands.”

Supporters of the new law said it’s a good use of meat that would otherwise go to waste, but one of the concerns is that some drivers will intentionally run down wildlife instead of stopping to let the animals safely pass.

Others said peace officers won’t know if the carcasses are safe to eat.

State lawmakers passed the bill in March after scrapping an earlier version would have allowed fur-bearing animals, upland game birds and migratory game birds to be salvaged, too.

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