Utilizing roadkills is not illegal as reported in last week's Blue Mountain Eagle, unless the state of Oregon has changed "road-killed animals may be given to low income or charitable organizations if accepted as is." The problem is neither ODFW or the State Police are doing their job in salvaging roadkills. There are plenty of low-income families in the county and an old homily goes, "Charity begins at home."
In both roadkill cases in the Grant County Circuit Court, the presiding judges saw through the double standard that was being imposed. ODFW and State Police have a criteria that if a road kill has any one of the following then the meat is not suitable for human consumption, such as, body temperature has dropped two degrees, bloodshot meat, ruptured organs, distended body cavity or rigor mortis has set in.
If a hunter were to use this mandate and leave an animal that has been killed, then the hunter would rightfully be cited for "wanton waste of a game animal."
I tried to cooperate with authorities concerning a roadkill, doe mule deer with a broken neck. The wildlife biologist I called would not salvage the animal or give me permission to do so. With the help of a friend, the deer was salvaged and a letter to the editor describing the incident was published. A State Police Game Enforcement Officer was soon at my home. I was not cited, but warned not to repeat the same "offense." I insisted on the meat being processed and given to someone. I was assured this would happen. Later, I learned the carcass was given to someone rehabilitating raptors. The meat was used for feeding hawks and eagles. When I confronted the officer with the information, his reply was, "The meat was not fit to eat."
My friend and I have nearly 100 years of hunting experience between us. We know the condition of an animal carcass. The doe had a small amount of bloodshot meat where the neck was broken and the body was still warm when we field dressed the animal. The meat was in excellent condition and one could not ask for a better handled carcass.
As long as there is big game on the highways, there will be roadkills. Oregon would do well to adopt policies that other states use to address the problem for the benefit of its citizens. It's either that or authorities will continue to look the other way. For if citations are issued, then we will again hear a judge say, "I'm restoring common sense to Grant County. Not guilty."