Wyoming is unique for many reasons, not the least of which is its interest in its specific wild animals. No other state talks about the movement of Grizzly Bears, wolf packs, or wolverines the way they do in the Cowboy State.
So it should come as no surprise that the state’s new program for people to collect roadkill for food will be closely followed. Maybe it won’t be as exciting as whether Bear 399 will finally split with her now 2-year-old cubs this spring, but roadkill incidents won’t go unnoticed or unreported.
One of those early reports is the details of a doe crossing on U.S. 287 south of Lander early on the morning of President’s Day as Marta Casey hit the road for a day of snowboarding. She told of trying to slow her Subaru and get around the deer but had to settle for the promise from a Wyoming State Trooper to shoot the injured animal.
About 30 states permit the collection of roadkill for food, but only the Cowboy State has an App for that. The App makes it possible to quickly claim accidentally killed deer, elk, moose, wild bison, or wild turkey by identifying the animal and signing off on roadkill rules.
The Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s Jaden Bales claimed that doe killed near Lander, who Casey tipped off about the accident, and tapped the App to claim it.
Wyoming’s newly enacted roadkill system was approved this past year by the Wyoming Legislature’s House Bill 95, which passed by a unanimous vote. It replaces a system that required that a game warden first provide a tag before a resident could claim wild game roadkill.
Using an App, not a tag, the state’s new system is available on all non-interstate roads.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is largely credited with the new rules, with the app running on the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s existing 511 system.
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.
By obtaining electronic authorization, Wyoming residents agree to harvest the entire carcass, not just usable parts. A landfill or receptacle going to a landfill must be used to dispose of unusable parts to control the spread of any diseases.
King says it works “pretty slick” and won’t burden the state with much of a workload.
Collecting roadkill wildlife can be dangerous, so Wyoming’s Game and Fish urges people to do so safely. “Never try to collect roadkill if there is traffic on the highway, The department has prioritized your safety with the roadkill collection rules,” it says, “remember:
- Roadkill cannot be collected on on Interstate 25, Interstate-80 or Interstate-90.
- No one can collect roadkill at night; it must be daylight.
- You can’t collect roadkill within construction areas or national parks in Wyoming.
- Parking off the road is required, and you must turn on your vehicle’s emergency flashers.
- Field dressing is not allowed on the roadway.”
As for the app, here’s how Wyoming officials explained it at its February rollout:
- To start, download the Wyoming 511 app from your device’s respective app store. For those who have the Wyoming 511 already on their phone, the update might require users to reinstall the app for the new features.
- To request authorization through Wyoming 511, look for the “Report Roadkill” button on the app’s homescreen.
- Following a question series about the carcass, if the species is available for collection in an approved location, the user can request authorization.
- The app immediately sends a certificate upon completing the questionnaire. Requestors must currently have or create a username and password with the Game and Fish to gain authorization.
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