Roadkill: It’s What’s For Dinner

The good people of Montana may soon have expanded dining options.

The good people of Montana may soon have expanded dining options.

AP (“Montana Looks at Allowing Roadkill for Dinner“)

Elk, deer, antelope and moose: If Montana residents can scrape it up, they can eat it.

State lawmakers are poised to say just that after the Senate gave its initial backing Wednesday to a bill that would allow people to salvage roadkill for food. The measure is now a final vote from heading to Gov. Steve Bullock.

It makes no sense to let the carcasses of big-game go to waste on Montana’s roadways, supporters said.

“It really is a sin to waste a good meat,” said state Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman.

The measure calls for law-enforcement officers to issue permits to individuals who would be allowed to remove the carcasses of elk, deer, antelope and moose off the state’s roadways. An earlier version would have allowed fur-bearing animals, upland game birds and migratory game birds to be scraped up, too, but it got canned.

Opponents question whether the meat would be safe and whether it would create liability issues for food banks that accept it. Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, said law-enforcement officers are not qualified to decide whether roadkill is safe to eat.

“Despite it’s good intention, it doesn’t pass the smell test for me,” Van Dyke said.

The solution is simple: The person who rams the beast with his car gets first dibs. It ought to just about make up for the insurance deductible.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    The rule of thumb is that if you didn’t see it hit, don’t eat it.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Welcome to the Road Kill Cafe, from your grill to ours!

    We been doing that here in the Ozarks for ever. What took Montana so long to catch up?

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    That could breathe new life, as it were, into one of the great literary classics, The Field Guide to Flattened Fauna.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dave Schuler: Basically. When one hits a deer you rupture many of the internal organs. If you don’t gut it pretty quickly, the meat is soon tainted.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. JKB says:

    Mmmm, bruised, stress-hormone filled meat.

    You know there is a reason you go for a quick, clean kill when hunting and it isn’t all about not being cruel.

  7. Ah, the problems of a big state with a small population…..

  8. matt bernius says:

    There are good reasons for this type of law. Even if the carcass in question isn’t good eats for humans, they can provide food for domestic and captive animals. Additionally, this law means that these carcasses can be legally harvested for useful by-products.

    BTW, I’m happy to hear that while they are considering this, they were smart enough to stay away from migratory birds. While it sucks that their carcasses go to waste, allowing them to be harvested would have essentially reopened hunting season on raptors and other “valued” birds.

  9. Dazedandconfused says:


    Welcome to the Road Kill Cafe

    New to the menu (while they last!): Great Danishes

  10. matt bernius says:

    That’s so good that I don’t mind the hurt.

  11. Dave Schuler says:
  12. Tyrell says:

    There used to be a store down the road that sold canned possum!