Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Would you eat roadkill? In many states you can…

Would you eat roadkill? Washington state allows elk and deer that have been killed by motor vehicles to be salvaged and consumed. In several Washington state counties where the Colombian white-tailed deer are protected, only elk can be salvaged. A permit for salvaging the meat must be obtained within 24 hours. The state is very clear that they do not guarantee that the meat is fit for human consumption.

Pennsylvania and Oregon have similar rules about roadkill, as do more than two dozen other states. In 2018, more than 3,600 permits to salvage road kill were issued in Pennsylvania. Each state has its own rules so check first if you think you might want to pick up a fresh kill one day. In Arizona, for example, only big game animals may be salvaged. So leave those squirrels alone.

Rules about salvaging road kill have been modified in some places due to COVID-19 concerns. In Oregon, for example, the rule to check in roadkill parts within 5 business days has been waived with certain exceptions. And watch for specific instructions about how to remove the roadkill from the road. Here is what Oregon says: “The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage.”

Free-range, wild animals are going to encounter vehicles, and it’s just a simple fact that roadkill is a consistent cause of their death. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) likes the idea of salvaging roadkill too. They feel that the meat is healthier – no hormones, no pesticides – and it’s more humane. The animals might not even know what hit them!

The next time you pass roadkill, get your BBQ ready! Raccoon, squirrel and possum are all the rage – and very tasty! And, if you want to turn the roadkill into a delicious and memorable experience, you might want to pick up the ever-popular Road Kill Cookbook.

Would you eat roadkill? Tell us in the poll below and please leave a comment, too.


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. I was a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) for 30+ years on Long Island, NY. Car vs deer collisions were not unusual. Officially, the NYS DEC (Dept Environmental Conservation) was supposed to send out an officer who would “harvest” said road kill and deliver the venison to “an orphanage”. In 30+ years, I never even heard of a DEC officer responding to perform this duty. I was VERY happy if ANYBODY wanted to take “bambi” (we had a HUGE deer tick problem on LI so, I avoided “hands on” handling). If no volunteer stepped up, I would use a “doggie noose” on bambi’s leg and drag it off the road. The town highway dept was then notified to remove bambi.

  2. I’ve been fortunate and never hit a deer, although I have clipped one once while driving through rural Missouri (it ran away and I hope it wasn’t injured!!). Honestly, after Iraq, I can’t hunt anymore, and having to watch critters suffer and die is just too much for me to handle. Thus, I don’t think I could harvest anything that I would hit. I do like venison, but just can’t shoot it anymore.

  3. I spent nearly 30-years working in a regional 9-1-1 call center and dispatching first responders, police, fire and medics, from 27-departments. one day one of the police officers in a department I was dispatching for called out that he was handling a road obstruction. we found out a bit later that he had come across a freshly killed deer. he stopped to remove the hazard by manhandling it into the trunk of his squad car and taking it home to butcher and dress. that wouldn’t have been my first choice. we heard that his sergeant was not happy.

  4. Have eaten a few fresh road killed deer over the years. One from in front of my house and a couple around the corner from a job site I was on. All good meat.

  5. I have in fact eaten “Road Kill” deer, but only the one I killed myself. The cops dispatched it, I stuck it in the back an butchered it when I got home.

  6. Saw a minivan pulled over on the side of the highway one day. Wife and kids were standing on the side of the road while state highway workers were helping load a recently killed cow elk into the back. The family has to eat.

  7. Have had 2 road kill deer & sampled other road kill game. Even took “Road kill Chili” to a number of potluck dinners. Always labeled, so the squeamish could skip it.

  8. I have eaten road kill – I am a hunter – venison is some of the best protein you can eat. But if you do not know anything about dressing out an animal or know how to determine if the meat is still good then you probably should not take it.

  9. Back in the mid 50s, and while traveling with my parents, a trucker in front of us hit a deer. My father and I loaded it in the trunk and continued to my Uncle’s for a Venison feast.

  10. Being a vegetarian for exactly 32 years this month, and having the best cholesterol ever at 58 and weighing 112 lbs, no way would I ever go back to eating anything with a face in a restaurant or on the road. We live in the country on 8 acres and I love to feed the wildlife. We feed the birds, “ 14 bird feeders” We put out corn and soybean for the deer, dove, squirrels and what other critters want a meal. It’s like living in a wildlife park for 25 years.

    • It’s illegal to feed wild animals for a reason!!! if you weigh 112 pounds and are only 5′ 9″ that’s a good for you, but stay out of the wind!! Being an omnivore, I’ll go with eating all the delicious meat, face or no face, as well as fruits, grains and vegetables as its important to have a well balanced diet and eat in moderation. I will continue to enjoy my better cholesterol, and all meat cooked on the good ol BBQ.

      • It’s not illegal where we live. All my neighbors feed the wildlife. In our tiny town of 480 folks. I weight 112 lbs because I got good genes from my petite mother and my dad. And I’m 5’3 not 5’9 ? Yes I eat healty. Going to get my vegan parfait “ almond milk” with organic blueberries and strawberries then I have an orange and drink my protein shake.

  11. In PA, you must report it to the Game Commission within 24 hours. Of course that’s if you’re honest and don’t get caught. Pa is near the top of the list for road kills.
    I’ve never done it and do not know anyone who has.

  12. When he lived in IL, my Son was the go-to-guy if anyone saw road kill deer anywhere. He’d salvage whatever was possible and it helped him out on his budgeting.

  13. I had a friend at work that if he came across a road kill if it was still warm he’d put it into his truck and take it home for his son to dress and butcher it and put it into the freezer. He said it was rare for his wife to buy meat at the store.

  14. In virginia I had a friend who would be called by the police if there was an injured or newly-killed deer. he would collect it, dress it, and donate the meat to local homeless shelters (for chili) it’s a win-win-win!

  15. Not only would, but HAVE eaten roadkill. At a more than one potluck (elk, antelope, venison). We salvaged 2 deer, one of which I hit. Only fresh, only legal, documented roadkill. Took Roadkill Chili to potlucks for weeks. I labeled it clearly so the squeamish could avoid it. If you like elk, venison, etc., it makes so much more sense to salvage the fresh meat than to see it rot alongside the road. The ones that aren’t fresh go to the scavengers anyway. Plenty for them to eat even if we take a few to salvage.

    • Forgot to include – in Colorado you cannot keep trophy bucks/bulls. This is to prevent “road hunting” for heads. Luckily I hit a young, tender doe.

  16. We have eaten Flattened Fauna off and on for years. Squirrel, Bambie, coons. If I hit it and it didn’t run away, it will probably make it into the pot

  17. Have had road killed venison a few times. One was hit in the street in front of my house and once on a job. The customers wife came home and said a deer had been hit around the corner. Took the work van there and found that actually two had been hit. One right after the other. Loaded both and took them out a woods road to gut and then to a butcher friend. Went back and finished the job at the customer’s.

  18. Here in Virginia in our development, My husband drove in to find both a doe and her fawn just hit and dead in the road. He called the State Police and his friend was able to show the trooper his valid hunting license and collect the deer.

  19. Only if I killed it! In Maryland if it damaged your vehicle, you would call the police and get an accident report for your insurance company. You then had the option to keep the animal. But I would process it very quickly, so no spoilage or contamination of the meat!

    • In Delaware, it used to be you still had to report it, but the state kept the meat as it went to the state prison system to feed the prisoners, but that was many years ago. I don’t know about today.

  20. Montana also lets you harvest Road Kill. I think it also depends on how badly the animal was hit and where, as some of the meat would not be harvestable. A lot of times the meat is given to the food bank.


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