A new Washington state law makes it legal for drivers to keep roadkill.
This is not a joke.
Effective this July, you can salvage deer or elk killed accidentally in a car crash. Previously, that was illegal. However, you cannot
intentionally run down an animal.
Also, Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties are exempt because of efforts to protect the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.
There’s a catch with the new rules: you must get a salvage permit within 24 hours of taking the animal.
Also, you must clean up the mess. The law reads, “The entire carcass, including entrails, of the animal must be removed from the road.” Yuck.
My colleague Jerry jokes that he cures squirrels in his smoker for tasty snacks. I figure he’s a likely candidate for deer or elk “harvesting.”
All kidding aside, vehicle collisions with deer and elk are no joke. Severe damage often ensues from colliding with such large animals, and it’s not unheard of to process a claim where a car is totaled after striking an elk. Read about the new law
on the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.