On February 11, 2013, by a vote of 99 in favor and 1 against, the Montana House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow law enforcement officers in the state to issue permits authorizing the salvaging for human consumption of wild animals accidentally killed by motor vehicles. Montana HB 247. In tongue-in-cheek remarks before the chamber, Representative Steve Lavin introduced the measure as “the first true cleanup bill of this session,” and noted that the proposed law is “affectionately known as the ‘Roadkill Bill.'”
HB 247 provides in part that, “A peace officer may issue permits to applicants for the purpose of salvaging antelope, deer, elk, or moose that have been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision.” As explained by Representative Lavin (who also serves as a state highway trooper), many large game animals are struck by automobiles each year. It has been a practice of many food banks that serve the poor to collect freshly killed animals, clean and dress them, and serve them as food for needy families. Technically, this practice is prohibited by Montana law. HB 247 would legalize such salvage.
The only vote against the bill came from Bozeman Representative JP Pomnichowski, who cited public health reasons for her opposition.
With the House’s approval of HB 247, the bill moves to the state Senate.
An ABC News story on the Montana bill points out that Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana already have similar legislation in effect. Montana Bill Would Legalize Roadkill Dining, ABC News (Feb. 21, 2013).