SALEM, Oregon – A new law allowing the salvage of deer and elk killed by motor vehicles will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2019 at the latest. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife warns motorists that until then, it remains unlawful to harvest those carcasses.
The new law gives the ODFW up to two years to implement a safe, responsible salvage program. Until that time, the current wildlife regulations remain in place.
“Until that time that the rules are implemented, it will remain illegal to salvage deer and elk,” ODFW’s Michelle Dennehy said.
The current law states that “No person shall possess or transport any game mammal or part thereof which has been illegally killed, found, or killed for humane reasons, except shed antlers, unless they have notified and received permission from personnel of the Oregon State Police or ODFW prior to transporting.” The law further states that even licensed hunters may not pick up road-killed deer and elk during legal hunting seasons.
State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) sponsored the roadkill bill. It states that the deer and elk killed by motor vehicles can only be salvaged for human consumption, the antlers must be returned to ODFW, and that the meat is consumed at their own risk.
ODFW is now working on the rules that will oversee the practice. As with all regulations, draft rules will be presented for public comment before being adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
“ODFW will work to write rules that make getting a permit to legitimately salvage a road-struck deer or elk as simple as possible, but that also discourage poaching,” ODFW Wildlife Division Administrator Doug Cottam said.