Cooking Roadkill Is a Hot Commodity In Wyoming?

By Kristi Eckert | Published

roadkill

Driving past roadkill is likely to evoke a pretty strong reaction in a vast majority of individuals. You may feel compassion for the animal who lost its life at the hands of a careening vehicle or you might turn away in utter shock after glancing at the lost soul’s garbled remains. However, if you happen to live in the state of Wyoming you just may look at roadkill as an option for that night’s dinner. 

According to Food & Wine, the Equality State’s governor Mark Gordon passed a bill that allows residents to legally pick up roadkill and do with it as they wish, including cooking it up and downing it for dinner. In fact, Wyoming takes its roadkill reservoir so seriously that there is even an app that residents can download that allows them to claim the deceased animal carcasses ahead of time. The app allows those claiming the animal remains to provide information about where it was killed and what type of animal it was. It also allows an individual to attest to the fact that the animal was not killed purposefully or illegally. 

The roadkill app was a joint venture between Wyoming’s Department of Transportation and the Game and Fish Department. Despite the app’s seemingly odd purpose, there was in fact a method behind the two departments’ madness in introducing it to Wyoming’s populous. With the app, both departments hope to gather useful data pertaining to where roadkill incidents most often occur and what types of animals are frequently being killed. 

Additionally, by allowing state residents to pick up roadkill it could serve to alleviate the workload of officials typically charged with collecting the deceased species. Especially since a surplus of roadkill continues to be a significant problem in Wyoming. The Game and Fish Department cited statistics that revealed 6,000 of that state’s Mule Deer population were stuck down in vehicular incidents in a single year alone. 

Rick King, Chief Game Warden and Chief of the wildlife division in Wyoming, pointed out one potential benefit in a statement he provided via Wyoming Public Media, “…this could provide an opportunity for somebody to take home some wild game and put that to good use and put it in their freezer for consumption,” said King. Waste not, want not, right? Well, at least that is the sentiment in Wyoming. 

This new roadkill law ( in conjunction with the app utilization) is not without limitations, though. First, would-be roadkill collectors are prohibited from picking up protected species such as grizzly bears or mountain goats. Some species allowed include deer and elk. Secondly, there are various other roadkill rules that are explicitly outlined in the app. For instance, all animals (dead or alive) located on National Park grounds are not viable options for roadkill collectors. 

Collecting and then consuming roadkill may seem like an odd practice to those living in states characterized by more urban landscapes. However, for residents in Wyoming, the residual animal carcasses left behind by inadvertent accidents may provide them free meat that could go a long way in feeding their families and saving them money down the line. In the wide-open Wyoming wilderness that just may look like a win-win for many.