HERBSTEIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: A dead deer lies on the side of a highway after being struck by a car on February 11, 2013 near Herbstein, Germany. Though no precise numbers are available, forestry officials estimate the number of deer and other wild animals, including boars and wolves, have risen significantly in Germany in the last decades. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)2013 Getty Images
If you live in Montana and need a bite to eat, it may soon be possible to literally scrape up some chow from the highway. And I’m not talking about wild mushrooms.
Montana legislators are voting on a bill that could legalize usage of elk, deer, antelope and moose carcasses for food.
An earlier bill allowed for “fur-bearing animals, upland game birds and migratory game birds” to be allowed for consumption – but Montana lawmakers thought the proposal was too broad.
The road kill bill, one vote away from going to Governor Steve Bullock to sign and become law, would allow law enforcement to assign permits allowing people to remove the dead animal for food.
Supporters argue that letting the carcass’ rot or throwing them away is a waste of good meat.
Sen. Kendall Van Dyk believes law-enforcement officers are not qualified to decide whether it’s safe to eat meat that was ran over by a moving vehicle.
“Despite its good intention, it doesn’t pass the smell test for me,” Van Dyke said.
Montana is not alone in considering the usefulness of roadkill. Illinois allows people with a furbearing permit to remove roadkill for pelts and also allows for the salvaging of meat.
Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Troopers run a program that divvies approximately 820 moose carcasses to charitable organizations, like churches and nonprofit organizations, who cook up moose meat for needy people.
The Montana measure would defer to the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency to regulate how the roadkill is actually salvaged.
But as to whether the measure would create a new weapon for hunters — the car — Jent said he doesn't see that as plausible.
"We don't have very many suicidal drivers," Jent said.
The Senate voted 33-15 in favor of the measure. A final vote could be scheduled as early as Thursday.
Bullock didn't have an immediate comment on the bill.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.