The Wyoming Legislature’s unanimous vote earlier this year on House Bill (HB) 95 means the state requirement that a game warden must first provide a tag before a resident can claim big game roadkill won’t any longer be mandated.
Wyoming is stepping through regulations for a new roadkill system starting in 2022, allowing motorists to collect certain species of dead wildlife from non-Interstate roads based on an app, not a tag.
The new rules have already cleared the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, with bison, deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, and wild turkey on the roadkill menu for residents. Wyoming’s regulatory process requires the Game and Fish Commission regulations to be reviewed by the Legislature’s Management Council, Secretary of State, and the governor’s office.
Rick King, Wyoming’s chief game warden, says the new roadkill app works with the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s existing 511 system by granting electronic authorizations to harvest roadkill. Cell phone coverage is not required to make the new app work.
Wyoming residents agree to harvest the entire carcass, not just usable parts, by obtaining electronic authorization. A landfill or receptacle going to a landfill must be used to dispose of unusable parts to control the spread of any diseases.
King said Fish and Wildlife is spending about $17,000 to develop the new system. He says it means residents can obtain an electronic authorization on the app “and away they go.”
King says it works “pretty slick” and won’t burden the state with much of a workload.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission did discuss whether there might be a downside to the new system. “Do you expect problems with people taking their own truck out there just to smack one just so they can be one?” F&G Commissioner Mark Jolovich asked.
King said it does happen, but it’s been “few and far between.” He said Wyoming law provides statutes with prosecution authority to address such instances that might occur.
Roadkill is a state’s rights issue with 50 solutions. Roadkill harvest in Texas is entirely prohibited and Texans plow through thousands of whitetail deer and small mammals each year.
Alaska prohibits individuals from harvesting roadkill, but two or more people can register to be called to collect moose, caribou, and other species that distribute food from the road to volunteer groups around the state through Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
Selected states where roadkill can be legally harvested:
- Alabama: Only non-protected animals and game animals during the open season may be harvested.
- Arizona: Big game animals may be collected with a permit.
- Colorado: Authorization required.
- Georgia: Native species may be harvested; must notify the state about roadkilled black bears.
- Idaho: Must report the time of the salvage.
- Illinois: Proper hunting or trapping license and/or habitat stamp required.
- Indiana: Permit required.
- Maryland: Permit required.
- Massachusetts: Permit required; must submit roadkill for state inspection.
- Michigan: Deer and bear may be salvaged with a permit.
- Missouri: Permit required, must contact a Conservation Agent within 24 hours of collection for authorization.
- New York: License or tag may be required depending on the species.
- New Jersey: Only deer may be salvaged with a permit.
- North Dakota: Permit required.
- North Carolina: Must be registered over the phone by DNR staff.
- Pennsylvania: Must report the incident to the state Game Commission within 24 hours.
- South Dakota: Proper notification and authorization required
- Utah: Permit required to salvage non-protected species.
- Vermont: Possession tag required for big game animals and furbearers
- West Virginia: Must be reported within 12 hours of collection.
- Wisconsin: Must be registered over the phone by DNR staff.
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