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Vehicle-Wildlife Collisions / Roadkill

Vehicle-wildlife collisions are most common during the months of October and November due to reduced daylight hours and greater movement of wildlife (especially deer) at this time of year. This ODOT-OSP-ODFW news release has some tips on how to avoid collisions with wildlife.  

If you do hit and kill a large wild animal or see a dead one on the roadway, remove it to the side of the road if it is safe to do so.  If this can’t be done safely, call Oregon State Police or 911. Position your vehicle in a safe way and turn on your hazard flashing lights to warn other motorists. If your vehicle is damaged, call OSP or 911 to report it.

Drivers should not take the animal home or attempt to dispose of it themselves. ODOT or county road maintenance crews are responsible for disposing of animals hit on roadways.

Can I keep a roadkilled animal?

Under Oregon law, the only people who can keep roadkill are licensed furtakers, and only for animals that are classified as furbearers (bobcat, gray and red fox, marten, muskrat/mink, raccoon, river otter, beaver). Some of these furbearers can only be taken at certain times of the year; licensed furtakers need to check regulations for those dates.

Game animals like deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat that are found as roadkill may not be kept by anyone, including licensed hunters. It’s not a legal method of hunting. This law is meant to discourage people from hitting a game animal with their vehicle in order to keep the meat or antlers. (Oregon wildlife regulations state: “No person shall possess or transport any game mammal or part thereof, which has been illegally killed, found or killed for humane reasons, except shed antlers, unless they have notified and received permission from personnel of the Oregon State Police or ODFW prior to transporting.”)

The exception to the above rules are unprotected animals, which can be picked up by anyone. Examples of unprotected animals include coyotes, skunks, nutria, opossum, badger, porcupine, and weasel.

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