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You Can Harvest Roadkill for Food if You Live in One of These 27 States

Wide Open Eats – by Maria Christina LaLonde

Humans have been eating roadkill since the first ox cart flattened a critter in ancient Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Today, you can find “roadkill cuisine” simmering on stovetops in kitchens across the U.S. Animal rights activists and foodies alike hail roadkill as one of the most ethical and environmentally friendly meats. Advocates point out that these animals were not raised or killed for food, and argue eating roadkill makes use of a valuable free-range protein source that would otherwise go to waste.  

Over a million deer are hit by cars in the U.S. annually, meaning tens of millions of pounds of free-range venison could be salvaged by eating roadkill every year.

Roadkill is free of the antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants found in factory farmed meat. Any many roadkill species–including elk, deer, boar, and certain game birds–are pretty darn tasty, and sell for quite a bit when farm-raised, packaged, and offered in stores.

Hungry for some venison jerky or possum pot pie? If you live in Oregon, you could get a chance to try roadkill when Senate Bill 372 goes into effect. The bill allows residents to obtain permits to harvest wildlife killed by vehicles. Oregon is joining 20+ other states that have laws legalizing the salvaging of roadkill in some form. We’ve listed all the states you can legally harvest roadkill for food below.

  • ALABAMA (ONLY NON-PROTECTED ANIMALS AND GAME ANIMALS DURING OPEN SEASON MAY BE HARVESTED)
  • ALASKA (INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HARVEST ANIMALS, BUT MOOSE, CARIBOU, AND OTHER SPECIES MAY BE DISTRIBUTED THROUGH VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS)
  • ARIZONA (BIG GAME ANIMALS MAY BE COLLECTED WITH PERMIT)
  • ARKANSAS
  • COLORADO (PROPER AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED)
  • GEORGIA (NATIVE SPECIES MAY BE HARVESTED; MUST NOTIFY STATE ABOUT ROADKILLED BLACK BEARS)
  • IDAHO
  • ILLINOIS (PROPER HUNTING OR TRAPPING LICENSE AND/OR HABITAT STAMP REQUIRED)
  • INDIANA (PERMIT REQUIRED)
  • MARYLAND (PERMIT REQUIRED)
  • MASSACHUSETTS (PERMIT REQUIRED; MUST SUBMIT ROADKILL FOR STATE INSPECTION)
  • MICHIGAN (DEER AND BEAR MAY BE SALVAGED WITH PERMIT)
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE
  • NEW YORK (LICENSE OR TAG MAY BE REQUIRED DEPENDING ON SPECIES)
  • NEW JERSEY (ONLY DEER MAY BE SALVAGED WITH PERMIT)
  • NORTH DAKOTA (PERMIT REQUIRED)
  • NORTH CAROLINA (MUST BE REGISTERED OVER THE PHONE BY DNR STAFF)
  • OHIO
  • OREGON
  • PENNSYLVANIA (MUST REPORT INCIDENT TO STATE GAME COMMISSION WITHIN 24 HOURS)
  • SOUTH DAKOTA (PROPER NOTIFICATION AND AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED)
  • TENNESSEE
  • UTAH (PERMIT REQUIRED TO SALVAGE NON-PROTECTED SPECIES)
  • VERMONT (POSSESSION TAG REQUIRED FOR BIG GAME ANIMALS AND FURBEARERS)
  • WASHINGTON
  • WEST VIRGINIA (MUST BE REPORTED WITHIN 12 HOURS OF COLLECTION)
  • WISCONSIN (MUST BE REGISTERED OVER THE PHONE BY DNR STAFF)

Wide Open Eats

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12 Responses to You Can Harvest Roadkill for Food if You Live in One of These 27 States

  1. Martist says:

    Uh oh, wasn’t aware I needed to notify the psp about that venison. Bracing for dynamic entry team in 3, 2,1…

  2. DL. says:

    Naturally, harvesting roadkill is NOT legal in Texas (as much as I love living in far west Texas, the fact is this–Texas is too damned involved in loving law enforcement! And oh yeah, the death penalty, loyalty to Israel…). But that’s okay for us, since we can hunt on our own property if you know what I mean… bwahahahahahahahahahah!

  3. Mark Schumacher in LV says:

    If I harvested all the road kill I’ve seen, I could feed 100s of our people, daily. I know guys (drivers) that purposely put huge protection type bumpers on their trucks and try to kill the damn things, doesn’t hurt the truck, and the carcus feeds their family.

    They just take the back strap, easy beans pickens.

  4. KOYOTE says:

    DON’T EAT NOTHIN YOU DON’T KILL YOURSELF, OR AT LEAST, SEE KILLED…………YOU DONT KNOW HOW LONG ITS BEEN LAYIN THERE………….

    • Enemy of the State says:

      I agree with this

      especially if its over 30 degrees out

      I blasted a doe about 6 years ago doing 75 MPH as she landed on the road in front of me only 25 to 30 feet , no time to react
      wasted my pickup truck
      I literally drove over her double thumped her

      had an accident report made because the pigs showed up .. he said there wasnt enough of her left to fit in a 5 gallon bucket

      so much for dinner that night

      I love wild life ,.. right next to my corn and potatoes

      • Mark Schumacher in LV says:

        Lots of butter on that corn and potatoes, jesus, now I have to go to Kentucky fried chicken and order the sht out of the corn and potatoes.

  5. Judy Gange says:

    This is the MOST GROSS thing that I have heard of…Road Kill….equivalent to CANNABALISM eat at your risk….

    • Mark Schumacher in LV says:

      It’s best when you pull over and get on your hands and knees, take a long sniff, poke around a little, get your knife and fork out and dig in, yummy. 🙂

    • Martist says:

      Animals are not my own kind, and if consumed under guidelines of trusted individuals, how is it less dangerous than anything being consumed by the fda(federal death administration)? You would probably put more stock and thought into anything you consumed via roadkill than something “certified” by a known organization that has been repeatedly proven to be a for-sale death merchant.

  6. Enemy of the State says:

    chances are if that animal was out running around free range..its safer than EVERYTHING you are putting on your dinner table every day

    No shots
    no anti biotics

    i could list forever

  7. H D says:

    If someone else hits it fair game here in ky . Had to finish off one in front of my land a few years ago . It was already tenderrise

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