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Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner 

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Old 08-17-2013, 10:52 PM
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Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

Roadkill Gains Traction as a Home Menu Item

Stephen Morton for The New York Times

Sonny Lawson says that every year he picks up three or four fresh deer carcasses killed by vehicles near his home in South Carolina.

By DAN FROSCH

Published: August 15, 2013

As some Montanans see it, when it comes to the thousands of animal carcasses that litter the state’s roads and highways each year, there is only one logical thing to do: Eat them.

Under a new state law, people who come across dead deer, elk, moose and antelope — or strike them with their vehicles — may now haul the animals home for dinner.

“If there is some good stuff there, why not use it, rather than throw it away?” said Steve Lavin, a state representative from Kalispell, who introduced the legislation. “If someone has suffered damage to their vehicle, why not let them use that animal for some food?”

Mr. Lavin, who is also a captain with the Montana Highway Patrol, was inspired to draft the bill after years of responding to accidents in which animals had been struck by cars or trucks.

Under a previous state law, Mr. Lavin was required to tell people who had hit a deer or elk that they could not keep it. In some instances, he would take the dead animals to a local food bank, which would gratefully accept the meat, he said.

This year, the legislation passed with bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Steve Bullock. Now, anyone who wants to gather roadkill need only obtain a free permit from a peace officer within 24 hours.

“You have to take the animal in its entirety,” said Ron Aasheim, spokesman for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, which is currently accepting public comment on how the new law will be administered. “And you have to dispose of it.”

More than a dozen states have similar provisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Colorado, people can take the edible portions of roadkill if they get permission from the state’s Division of Parks and Wildlife. “The goal is to make sure that meat doesn’t go to waste, while making sure people don’t poach with their vehicles,” said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the division.

A 2010 Georgia law allows people there to take home dead bears — as well as other animals — after they inform law enforcement officials or a state wildlife conservation officer.

Eating roadkill has long been mythologized in American cultural lore, from John McPhee’s 1973 essay, “Travels In Georgia,” to Barth, the slovenly chef on the Nickelodeon show, “You Can’t Do That on Television,” who served repulsive-looking roadkill burgers to unsuspecting patrons.

Sandor Katz, a culinary author, touched on roadkill harvesting in his 2006 book, “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements.” Mr. Katz said that during his travels, some people he encountered who ate roadkill identified themselves as primitive enthusiasts.

“I’ve met people in every part of the country who do it,” he said, adding that he had sampled everything from bear to squirrel and, “lots of deer.”

“It’s just like any other meal,” he said. “It’s all about how you prepare it.”

But cooking up homespun roadkill stews and steaks is not a simple matter. The meat must be fresh and not too bruised, said Nick Bennett, owner of Montana Mobile Meats, a mobile wild game processing company.

“If there’s meat that’s consumable, there’s no reason not to consume it; it’s just fine,” said Mr. Bennett, adding that he had yet to come across anyone with roadkill.

In Appalachia, roadkill cuisine has become the focus of an annual cook-off and autumn festival in Pocahontas County, W.Va. Twenty years ago, it drew several thousand people, said David Cain, the cook-off’s organizer. Now, as many as 20,000 attend, he said.

Competitors do not use roadkill, but rather animals typically found by the roadside. Last year’s menu included possum stew, venison teriyaki and the winner: “Stuffed bear-ron-a-soar-us with groundhog gravy.”

“They once cooked a rattlesnake in some kind of a gravy type stuff and they had the whole rattlesnake in there,” Mr. Cain said. “That was tough for me, but we got through it.”

In Montana, the new law is expected to go into effect in November. While it is unclear how many drivers will be affected by the change, there is no question there will be plenty of opportunities. According to state figures, 7,406 animal carcasses were collected by the Montana Department of Transportation in 2012.

Like dozens of others, Sonny Lawson voiced his support for the law in an e-mail to the state.

Mr. Lawson, who lives in South Carolina and makes annual hunting trips to Montana, said he thought it was a shame to waste the countless dead animals he sees along the highway.

Each year back home, he collects three or four dead deer from the roadside, carving off the meat for venison steaks and burgers. “We do it all the time,” he said. “You wouldn’t know the difference.”

Photo of 2008 West Virginia Cook-Off, below, (Pocohantas Chamber of Commerce)

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Old 08-17-2013, 11:45 PM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

I guess there's no sense in letting it go to waste.

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Old 08-17-2013, 11:46 PM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

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Originally Posted by Megamel29 View Post
I guess there's no sense in letting it go to waste.
I thought of, "The Beverly Hillbillies," and Granny's possum stew and moonshine.

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Old 08-18-2013, 01:17 AM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

I ate a road-kill squirrel once. I was at an ice-cream shop with my dad when it ran out in the road and got it's head ran over. My dad told me to go get it, so we did, fried it up, and it was one of the best tasting meats I've ever had. To this day, if we see a deer get hit, we bring it home and eat it all year-round. A few tire treads, broken bones, and road rash is a lot cheaper than a few dozen pounds of fresh meat!

Though, I'd never eat an opossum, porcupine, etc.

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Old 08-18-2013, 03:59 AM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

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Originally Posted by Raevynn View Post
I ate a road-kill squirrel once. I was at an ice-cream shop with my dad when it ran out in the road and got it's head ran over. My dad told me to go get it, so we did, fried it up, and it was one of the best tasting meats I've ever had. To this day, if we see a deer get hit, we bring it home and eat it all year-round. A few tire treads, broken bones, and road rash is a lot cheaper than a few dozen pounds of fresh meat!

Though, I'd never eat an opossum, porcupine, etc.

Can you compare the taste to steak or chicken or something? I'm curious, but, I can't see myself eating it knowingly.

Steve-O from, "Jackass," tried to eat a grilled squirrel on a stick. Squirrel kabob?

He threw up

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Old 08-18-2013, 09:56 AM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

Nothing wrong with it

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Old 08-18-2013, 11:53 AM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

Why not indeed! I saw a documentary some time ago on this very subject and the man ate nothing but fresh roadkill. As long as it's fresh kill and then well-cooked, go for it

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Old 08-18-2013, 12:01 PM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

if we don't eat it the animals will eat it so why not

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:31 PM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

If you think "Fast Food" means hitting a deer at 80 M.P.H. You might be a REDNECK!!

Jeff Foxworthy



Sorry. I just couldn't help myself!

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:53 PM
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Re: Roadkill: It May Be What's For Dinner

It's a great idea and about time.

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