Since Oregon’s roadkill law went into effect 10 months ago, more than 100 drivers have harvested animals hit by vehicles.
Oregonians have reported salvaging a deer or elk around more than 25 cities in the state, including Bend, La Pine and Redmond.
Within 24 hours of hitting the animal, drivers can print out an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Roadkill Salvage Permit.
Permit-holders who have salvaged a deer or elk must bring in the head of the animal to verify the species with ODFW. There, the animal will be screened for chronic wasting disease. So far, there have been no cases of Oregon deer with the disease since the program’s inception.
The permit allows Oregonians to salvage the animal for human consumption only.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, statistics black-tailed deer are being harvested the most, followed by mule deer, then elk.
Andrew Walch , a wildlife biologist at ODFW, said Tuesday the program is most popular during the fall and spring.
” Probably a couple times a week, we are checking in an animal, especially in the fall and spring, ” Walch said. ” Deer go through migrations. When they’re migrating, there is more likelihood of them getting hit. ”
The program has even spawned some Facebook groups. One group, Oregon Roadkill Recovery, has more than 1,300 members. John Thompson of Prineville is a member of that group and salvaged a deer himself this year. Thompson didn’t hit the deer himself; instead, he found it on the Powell Butte Highway.
” I just think that it’s a great program, and it’s about time that Oregon got on board with it, because you’re going to see a lot less animals on the side of the road — and a lot more food in people’s freezer, ” Thompson said.
Thompson said he uses all of the meat on the deer.
“I would say one deer could feed my family for two or three months,” he said. ” Other families that only have deer meat once a week or once every couple weeks, it could feed them the whole year, depending how often they eat it. ”
The permit allows people to salvage roadkill, but it does not give them the authority to purposefully hit deer or elk.
You can find more information about the rules and a link to the Roadkill Salvage Permit here: https://myodfw.com/articles/roadkill-salvage-permits