Road Kill Salvage Permit Might Cause Problems - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Road Kill Salvage Permit Might Cause Problems

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KALISPELL -

In October, Montana's legislature passed the road kill salvage law.

Meat from a car versus animal collision now doesn't have to go to waste.

Getting a permit is so easy, could that create a way to claim poached animals?

Actually filling out a road kill salvage permit is pretty simple. You can just go online and answer a few questions about yourself, the animal, and where you hit it within 24 hours of hitting it. Then submit and print and you're good to go.

"It does create a potential loophole for somebody to try to launder something illegal. There's no doubt about it," said Lee Anderson, an FWP Game Warden Captain in Region one.

An animal that has been poached could be claimed if the shooter tries to make the case that they only crashed into the animal and applies for a permit. It makes game wardens' jobs that much harder, because it will be up to them to decide what really happened.

"We haven't had many issues yet that I can speak of, but I bet somebody will. It's like anything. Somebody always ruins it for everyone else," said Anderson.

Ideally, people will use the new road kill salvage law to make use of meat that might otherwise be left to rot. Anderson has already seen people take advantage of it. Flathead county leads the state so far for most permits requested, with more than forty, according to FWP's early February numbers. Lincoln county is the second highest at twenty-eight.

Before the law was passed, wildlife killed by cars could only be taken to a food bank, and that's only if it's reported-- or found if the driver keeps going-- and taken in before spoiling.

Now it's a different story. Driving home one night from Troy, Tracy Wessel hit a young yearling buck with her truck. She had to wait for the Lincoln county sheriff to put the animal out of its misery, but she was able to load the deer into her car and get a permit.

"It's fresh kill," explained Wessel, "I'm a farmer so I just feel like when an animal dies we can make use of it in some way."

She says the meat is in her freezer right now, instead of rotting and drawing more animals into the highway.

In the state, 286 people have applied and gotten permits, according to FWP's most recent numbers.

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