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Lawmakers approve 'roadkill' bill despite misgivings

Senate Bill 372 was unanimously passed in the Oregon Senate.

COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE - Despite some misgivings about a "roadkill" bill permitting drivers to salvage deer and elk accidentally killed by vehicles, the House Agriculture Committee has decided to refer the proposal for a vote on the House floor with a "do pass" recommendation.

Senate Bill 372, which would require Oregon wildlife regulators to create rules for such meat salvage permits, has already passed the Senate unanimously.

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, expressed concerns about poachers shooting deer and elk, then legitimizing the crime by claiming the death occurred due to a collision.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will write the rules, should monitor these permits closely to ensure there's not a suspicious uptick in roadkill incidents, she said.

"I want to track this carefully," Sprenger said, noting that misuse of the permits could prompt lawmakers to amend or repeal the law.

Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, said that experts from ODFW should be able to quickly notice such misrepresentations, since much of the meat from a vehicle-killed animal would be "blood shot," or contaminated with blood.

"I think it will be easy to find once you take the hide off," he said.

Sprenger noted that ODFW officials may not be able to inspect every deer or elk for which a roadkill permit is requested.

The committee's chair, Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, said he was doubtful whether poachers would go to the trouble of propping up an already-dead animal to hit it with a car.

"It's a lot of work to simulate an accident," he said.

Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, said that some people prefer to have their meat tenderized.

"With a pickup?" asked Clem.