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. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

WYOMING — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is taking public comment on a new regulation, Chapter 70,  governing the collection of road kill wildlife.

Signed into law on April 5, 2021, by Governor Mark Gordon, the law allows Wyomingites the opportunity to pick up road-killed wildlife, “killed as a result of unintentional motor vehicle collisions on any public road or highway.”

The draft regulations were written in close coordination with the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), in accordance with the bill, for collecting road-killed deer, elk, antelope, moose, bison or wild turkey.

“Safety is the main concern,” said Mike Choma, law enforcement supervisor. “It can be dangerous to stop on a busy highway, so the drafted regulation includes a series of safety requirements that Game and Fish and WYDOT feel are essential.”

As drafted, safety considerations bar people from picking up carcasses from extremely busy roadways, such as interstates 25, 80 and 90. It also disallows collection in active construction areas and within national parks in Wyoming.

Limiting the spread of disease is another concern. For wildlife managers, preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease is the foundation for requirements such as taking the whole animal — both edible and inedible portions — and following all carcass transport and disposal procedures — same as a hunter.

In the draft rules, Game and Fish also addressed the concern that people may attempt to cover-up illegal taking of wildlife by passing it off as roadkill. Choma said the rules help deter that.

“The proposed regulation addresses illegal taking of wildlife right upfront. The permission to collect roadkill is only valid for unintentional motor vehicle collisions and no one is authorized to euthanize an injured animal under these regulations,” Choma said. “People who submit false information will be in violation.”

Game and Fish is working closely with WYDOT to develop a mobile application to authorize people to collect roadkill, as well as an online option. An electronic authorization will be required for anyone who wants to collect a carcass.

The full draft of Chap. 70 is available online and open now for comments on the Game and Fish website until Sept. 24.

A public meeting will be held in Casper at the Game and Fish office beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will be asked to approve the regulation at their November meeting in Riverton. Until approved and effective, no one is permitted to collect road-killed big game.

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

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Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.