Our View: Road kill buffet

Thursday , October 24, 2013 - 2:41 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

A legislative pitch from state Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, proposes that persons who accidently kill a deer — or other big-game animals — while driving through Utah, have the instant option of scraping “Bambi” off the road, taking it home, preparing the food and adding it to the buffet.

That’s a fascinating proposal. It reminds us of the colorful character, “Skink,” in novelist Carl Hiaasen’s tales of escapades in Florida. Skink, you see, lives off road kill. How many of us, after damaging our vehicle with a tragic collision with an animal, would start salivating over the dead animal?

What Pitcher wants is to do away with the bureaucracy. Instead of getting a permit from the Division of Wildlife Resources in order to keep a deer or other animal that has been hit by a vehicle, whatever law enforcement that handles an animal-vehicle accident could sign off on the spot, allowing the person to scrape up the dead carcass, as well as antlers, and take it all home for food storage. “I believe you have a right to the whole animal. It should be yours,” says Rep. Pitcher.

We don’t want to take away that right to whomever actually wants to exercise it, but Pitcher’s proposal makes things a little too easy. There’s no need for his bill. As mentioned, existing law in Utah allows individuals the right to keep meat, antlers, etc., from an accident if they have received a permit from the state Division of Wildlife Resources.

Getting a permit is not an inordinately difficult requirement for Utahns who have a taste for road kill. Maybe Pitcher can work with the DWR to add antlers as a legal “booty” for persons with permits who have hit a deer. Maybe the DWR can use social media to alert Utahns with permits that there is road kill somewhere, and they can hurry to the site and make a claim for the dead animal?

OK, that last suggestion is a bit tongue in cheek, but we do maintain that the DWR is better at road kill issues than the Legislature.

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