HELENA, Mont. — Salvaging roadkill for the dinner table is not only legal starting this month in Montana, but state officials plan to let drivers who accidentally kill big game to simply print out permits at home that allow them to harvest the meat.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved regulations Thursday that allow people to go online for permits to salvage for food the animals they hit and kill within 24 hours of the fender-bender.
No need to present the carcass to a law-enforcement official in person within a day of a crash, as was originally planned. Drivers will be able to apply on a website and print out permits from their computers.
"With all the advances in technology, why not allow people to do that," said Ron Aasheim, spokesman for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency.
Montana lawmakers earlier this year passed the bill allowing motorists to salvage deer, elk, moose and antelope struck by vehicles. Supporters who didn't want to see the meat go to waste won out over skeptics who wondered whether the meat would be safe for human consumption.
Other doubters stewed over whether drivers would intentionally gun their engines whenever they spotted an animal in the road.
The Legislature left it to the state agency to sort out the details and how to issue roadkill permits. FWP released its proposed rules this summer, among them: the salvaged meat has to be eaten, not used for bait. Also, the whole carcass has to be taken, not just the choice bits with the rest left on the roadway for scavengers.
"We ask they remove the entrails, as well, to prevent further accidents with wildlife species," said Jim Kropp, administrator of FWP's enforcement division.