CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved new rules that will allow people to harvest roadkilled wildlife, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
While the commission approved the rules during its meeting this week in Riverton, people are not yet able to begin harvesting roadkill. The new rule awaits Governor Mark Gordon’s signature before it can take effect, according to Game and Fish.
“Game and Fish will share more information on the finalized rules and required mobile/online reporting in the coming weeks and publicize the effective date,” the department said Wednesday.
The new regulations outline rules for harvesting deer, elk, antelope, moose, bison and wild turkey killed on select roadways. The regulations were written in coordination with the Wyoming Department of Transportation and limit where roadkill harvesting will be allowed.
The rules come pursuant to a new law to allow roadkill harvesting that took effect in Wyoming July 1. While the law set a path to make roadkill harvesting legal, harvesting cannot begin until Game and Fish regulations governing such harvesting are in place.
Safety considerations under the rules will bar people from picking up carcasses from busy roadways, such as Interstate 25, I-80 and I-90. The rules will also prohibit roadkill harvesting in active construction areas.
Other rules outline where and how people will be required to park when collecting roadkill carcasses. Field dressing on the roadway would be prohibited.
Limiting the spread of disease is another concern that the rules aim to address. People will be required to take the whole carcass of a roadkilled animal and follow carcass transport and disposal rules that also apply to hunters.
The rules also aim to prevent efforts to cover up illegal poaching attempts as roadkill harvesting. Roadkill harvesting will only be allowed after unintentional vehicle collisions with wildlife and people will not be authorized to euthanize injured animals.
Game and Fish and WYDOT are also preparing to offer a mobile application people will use to receive authorization to collect roadkill. An online option will also be offered. People will need to have electronic authorization prior to harvesting a roadkilled carcass.
Wyoming averages about 6,000 collisions between vehicles and big game each year with 15% of all crashes in the state involving wildlife. Game and Fish reports that this results in an estimated $20-30 million in wildlife costs and an estimated $24-29 million in personal injury costs per year.
The department is working on strategies to reduce vehicle–wildlife collisions through the Big Game Animal Migration initiative. Some of these strategies include constructing overpasses and underpasses, improving fencing, mowing along the side of the road, and adding signage.