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New Washington State Law: ‘You Hit It You Eat It’

This is rather morbid but all be it, a new law has been passed in Washington State by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission allows people to salvage deer or elk killed in motor vehicle accidents under certain circumstances.

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This was not previously allowed under state law. The new rule will not take effect until July, 2016 to give the Department of Fish and Wildlife time to develop the administrative procedures necessary to implement the new rule.

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Provisions of the new rule:

  • It is permissible to salvage and transport a deer or elk that is accidentally killed by a motor vehicle collision except for any deer killed by a motor vehicle collision in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties.
    (These three counties were excluded to prevent potential conflicts with laws regarding the area’s Columbian white-tailed deer population, which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.)
  • A salvage permit must be obtained from the department within 24 hours of taking possession of the animal. Permits may be obtained on the department’s web site or at department regional offices.
  • Big game licenses and tags cannot be used for the purpose of salvaging motor vehicle-killed deer or elk.
  • The entire carcass, including entrails, of the animal must be removed from the road right of way.
  • Any meat an individual deems unfit for human consumption or unusable animal parts must be disposed of pursuant to WAC 246-203-121. Individuals salvaging and consuming this meat do so at their own risk. The department makes no guarantee as to the fitness for consumption of deer or elk collected under a salvage permit. (See Wild Game Meat Food Safety.)
  • An individual may not kill an injured or wounded animal that they encounter for the purpose of salvage. Only a law enforcement officer or individuals or entities authorized by the department may euthanize an animal injured in a motor vehicle collision and that deer or elk may be taken for salvage.
  • Possession of wildlife in violation of subsection (4) is punishable under RCW 77.15.750.

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