Roadkill salvage rules for deer and elk will take effect Jan. 1, 2019

Oregon – Waste not want not, as the saying goes, and starting on January 1, 2019, if an Oregonian is unfortunate enough to accidentally hit and kill a deer or elk while driving Oregon’s roads, it might not be all bad – you’ll be able to legally harvest the meat for personal use, provided you follow up by obtaining a free online permit within 24 hours of salvaging the animal. 

The change of rules comes after legislation passed by the Oregon State Legislature in 2017 directed the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife to establish rules to allow the collection of deer and elk killed as a result of a collision. 

During an October 12 meeting in Klamath Falls, the Fish and Wildlife Commission formally adopted a set of rules to govern the harvest of roadkilled deer and elk. According to ODF&W, highlights of the new rules are:

  • Deer and elk accidentally stuck by a vehicle may be salvaged for consumption only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk in order to salvage it remains unlawful.
  • Anyone who salvages a roadkilled deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours of salvaging the animal and provide information including their name, contact info, where and when salvage occurred, species and gender of animal salvaged, and if they were driver that struck animal.
  • Antlers and head of all salvaged animals will need to be surrendered to an ODFW office within 5 business days of taking possession of the carcass. This rule will meet the requirements of SB 372 and will contribute to ODFW’s surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease.
  • The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage.
  • In cases where a deer or elk is struck, injured and then put down to alleviate suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass and law enforcement must be immediately notified. (This is a requirement per Oregon Revised Statute 498.016 and SB 372.)
  • Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk. ODFW/OSP will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged under these rules.
  • Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat. 
  • The state of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.

When the new rules go into effect, Oregon will join about 20 other states that have some form of salvage permit program, according to a report prepared by Beth Patrino, an Oregon legislative policy and research office analyst. 

For roadkilled animals that fall under the category of furbearers or unprotected mammals, a furtaker’s license or hunting license for furbearers is required as it has been in the past. 

For about 10 seconds, this article originally stated 2018, not 2019. The error has been corrected.