Hayden Zelson Explore Big Sky Editorial Assistant
HELENA – Would you eat something you found on the side of the road? If so,
rejoice because according to a new Montana statute passed with bipartisan
support in Helena and signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock on Aug. 16,
you’re legally able to.
If you hit an elk, deer, antelope or moose with your car, you can load it up
after being issued a permit from a peace officer, and haul it away to be
eaten.
Rep. Steve Lavin of Kalispell, who introduced and drafted the bill, put his
logic simply when he said, “If there is some good stuff there, why not use it,
rather than throw it away?”
The Montana Department of Transportation estimated that 7,406 carcasses
littered state roads last year.
While there is some logic behind the legislation’s decision, it begs the
question: Is it really safe to eat animals that were under your wheel just
hours earlier?
The International Science Times reported that “with deer as road kill, one
would want to consider risks that already exist in consuming venison,
meaning chronic wasting disease, T. Gondii, and other infections.”
“Just like any other meal, it depends on how [roadkill] is prepared,” said
Sandor Katz, author of the roadkill-cuisine book, The Revolution Will Not Be
Microwaved
.
The law, which will take effect in November, has some precautions to
dissuade poachers. The main concern is for motorists who target livestock
such as cows and sheep, or endangered species like bear. There is also
constant danger that people will take advantage of the law by targeting
game animals.
Under the law, the only four animals allowable for collection as roadkill are
commonly hunted.
There isn’t a shortage of “yellowlane yummy enthusiasts” across the
country, and one roadkill cookout festival in Pocahontas County, W. Va.,
attracts up to 20,000 people. Montana roadkill-lovers will benefit from the new law, as long as they’re willing to try popular recipes like moose
meatballs.