Montana Could Legalize Road Kill Consumption

Excludes dead squirrels in middle of road

Wikimedia Commons
February 21, 2013

Montana could allow people to eat their road kill, according to ABC news.

A bill passed Montana’s House of Representatives allows "game animals, fur-bearing animals, migratory game birds and upland game birds" hit by a car to be collected. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia all have similar bills.

State Rep. Steve Lavin introduced the bill.

Lavin said that in his "day job" as a state trooper he sees a ton of animals hit on Montana's roadways that could potentially be repurposed to provide meat for people in need. State troopers already alert food banks to viable bumper banquets. This bill would simply make the practice legal.

If passed, Lavin said the law would explicitly exclude species such as big horn sheep and bear over concerns there would be profiteering from horns, claws and other body parts collectors covet. He added that it certainly wouldn't apply to situations like "finding a dead squirrel in the middle of the road" either.

Lavin and food safety specialist Benjamin Chapman gave some practical advice to families using road kill for dinner.

Chapman advised using a meat thermometer and cooking large game to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When dressing the carcass, keep it away from other foods, scrub work surfaces with bleach afterward, and wash hands thoroughly.

"It's like any other meat—if you leave it outside the refrigerator for a couple of hours, you aren't going to want to eat it," Lavin said.

Published under: Montana