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Road kill bill runs over first obstacle

SALEM, Oregon – State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) is savoring victory as his bill that would allow motorists who kill a deer or elk while driving to process its meat has passed the Senate. The vote yesterday was 29 to 0, with Sen. Jackie Winters (R-Salem) excused from voting.

If it passes the state House of Representatives and is signed by the governor, Hansell says Oregon will become the 19th state to have a law that allows people to harvest a deer or an elk if they accidentally hit it with their vehicles.

His drives through his district has convinced him the measure makes sense.

“You see a deer carcass,” he said in an earlier interview with KUMA News. “A car has hit a deer and it just lays there to rot, or somebody else has to come along and pick it up and dump it some place.”

The senator worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in writing the legislation that would allow the unlucky motorist to report the incident to ODFW and quickly be issued a permit to remove the elk or deer. A similar measure went into effect in Washington state last summer, and Hansell said it was quickly deemed a success.

“The first six months they had over 1,100 permits issued,” he said.

ODFW estimates that more than 6,000 deer and elk are killed by motor vehicles in Oregon annually.

Senate Bill 372 is now with the House of Representatives, waiting to be scheduled for its first reading.

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