CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is working to draft regulations for roadkill harvesting.
A new law allowing for roadkill harvesting took effect Thursday, July 1, but the public will not be able to collect roadkill until the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approves specific regulations as required under the new law.
Game and Fish said Thursday their draft rules will be open for public comment in mid-August. The Game and Fish Commission will be presented with the draft rules for approval during their November meeting.
The Wyoming Legislature passed the roadkill harvesting legislation during their 2021 General Session and Governor Mark Gordon signed the bill into law in April.
The new law will allow people to harvest the carcasses of animals they unintentionally hit or see get hit on Wyoming roadways as guided by whatever rules the commission approves.
“Unless otherwise provided by rule of the commission, a person desiring to possess a road killed animal shall contact the department before taking possession of an animal to obtain a donation certificate,” the new law states. “The rules may provide that a person requesting the donation certificate may have to present the animal for inspection to verify its possession meets the criteria of the regulation.”
People harvesting these animals will not be allowed to donate the meat or parts to a nonprofit organization. They will be required to collect the entire carcass if they want to harvest one.
The new law will not allow people to harvest any road killed:
- Bighorn sheep
- Gray wolves within any area of the state where gray wolves are classified as trophy game animals
- Grizzly bears
- Mountain goats
- Wildlife species covered under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- Federal threatened or endangered species or those species whose possession is prohibited by federal or state statute or regulation
The Wyoming Transportation Commission will be allowed to request that harvesting roadkill be prohibited on certain highway sections.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that the state averages about 6,000 collisions between vehicles and big game each year, that 15% of all crashes in the state are crashes involving wildlife, and that these collisions result in an estimated $20-30 million in wildlife costs and an estimated $24-29 million in personal injury costs.
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.
The new law does not change the ability for road-killed harvesting to be conducted for scientific purposes as is allowed under permits which were already legal in Wyoming.