Monday, October 3, 2022


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.



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John Koenig
8 months ago

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.

Name Withheld
8 months ago

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.

Paul Schwengel
8 months ago

probably have eaten 5 roadkill deer to date….have a deputy sherif who calls me if a not too smashed deer is available

8 months ago

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.

Bob Weinfurt
8 months ago

If it’s fresh, sure. Why waste a good piece of meat?

8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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.

Diane M
8 months ago

My mom used to salvage our chickens if they had been hit by a car. We ate quite a few roadkill chickens.

Gary G
8 months ago

If it’s fresh, not if it’s been laying for an unknown time.

8 months ago

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.

Deborah Mason
8 months ago

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.

Dan A
8 months ago

I’ve salvaged many roadkill whitetail deer in MN.

Bob M
8 months ago

I only take a deer hit by a car, If I know it was just killed. Have gotten a few I hit with my car.

8 months ago

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.

Roger Worley
8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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.

John Macatee
8 months ago
Reply to  Patty

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.

8 months ago
Reply to  John Macatee

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.

8 months ago

No way!

8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

Had a fellow co-worker, in Virginia, who actively acquired road kill.

Larry Boswell
8 months ago

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.