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New law allows road kill to be picked up in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has been busy signing legislation into law. Yesterday, April 5, Gordon signed 32 Bills into law. Among those, was House Bill 95, game road kill.

The bill will allow Wyomingites the opportunity to pick up road-killed wildlife,” killed as a result of unintentional motor vehicle collisions on any public road or highway.”

According to The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the state averages about 6,000 collisions between vehicles and big game each year, 15% of all crashes in the state are crashes involving wildlife. The department estimates that these collisions result in $20-30 million in wildlife costs and $24-29 million in personal injury costs.

“We urge motorists to always be careful whenever they’re out on the roads,” said Wyoming Department of Transportation Director K. Luke Reiner. “We also ask motorists to be extra vigilant when they’re traveling in areas prone to more wildlife or in areas where there are natural wildlife migration patterns. We want to remind motorists to slow down, pay attention when driving and be on the lookout for wildlife to help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

Some 30 states, including Idaho, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Colorado allow for road kill to be retrieved with different regulations on reporting.

The bill also requires the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Transportation Commission to establish a program outlining the rules of possessing road-killed game. Requirements include contacting the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and receiving a special certificate. The law requires the collection of the entire animal both edible and inedible.

Supporters of the bill say that collecting the entire animal, especially the brain and spinal column, will reduce the spread of the highly contagious Chronic Wasting Disease. The disease can be transmitted through an environment contaminated by an infected carcass.

The new law does not allow for the possession of some road-killed animals found in the state. These animals include bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and “gray wolves within any area of the state where gray wolves are classified as trophy game.”

Wildlife species covered under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and federal Threatened or Endangered Species Act are also protected as well as, “those species whose possession is prohibited by federal or state statute or regulation are also not permitted to be taken”, according to the text of the Bill.

According to the bill, when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department pick up a carcass the animal becomes the property of the department, it can not be transferred to a private citizen and will be disposed of in accordance with procedures.

The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2021.

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