It will be legal to salvage roadkilled deer and elk to eat starting Jan. 1, with new rules adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday.
The new rules are in response to the passage of Senate Bill 372 by the Oregon Legislature in 2017.
Among other changes, the new rules allow deer and elk that are accidentally struck by a vehicle to be salvaged for consumption only, though intentionally hitting a deer or elk to salvage it remains illegal, according to a release from the commission.
Anyone who salvages a roadkilled deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours, providing their name, contact info and information about the incident and the animal that was struck. Additionally, the head and antlers of all salvaged animals need to be surrendered to an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office within five business days after salvaging the animal so the state can monitor for chronic wasting disease, a fatal and easily spread disease that affects deer and elk.
The new rules also mandate that the entire carcass of the animal must be removed from the road and the right of way during the salvage — salvagers can’t leave the guts behind. In cases where a deer or elk is injured and killed to alleviate its suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass, and law enforcement must be immediately notified.
ODFW and Oregon State Police will not perform inspections of the meat, and any person who consumes meat from a salvaged deer or elk does so at their own risk.
Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat, according to the release.