Cheyenne- (KCWY) A program would have to be created to allow people to collect road kill if a house bill passes the senate.
News 13’s Cody O’Hara reports game wardens are concerned this will cause problems and take them away from their other responsibilities.
“It comes forward almost as a challenge to the Game and Fish,” said Representative Gerald Gay.
The Road Kill Bill came forward in last year’s budget session and failed. But this year, more legislators got involved and pushed it through in the house, but with opposition.
“There’s some concern that people might use it for illicit means, running down animals in the road, but I think that we have enough structure and protection in the bill to go after the bad actors who try to poach and use that as a rational,” said Representative Dan Zwonitzer.
Motorists would either have to get a tag to pick up the animal, have prior authorization from the department, or have a educational or scientific purpose.
“Us as game wardens we want to get out in the field, we want to protect Wyoming’s wildlife, we don’t want to be having to come back to town and in some game warden’s districts it’s all they would be doing making sure all these animals nothing hocky about it and all were accidentally taken by motor vehicles,” said Daniel Beach from the Game Warden’s Association.
The bill does not allow picking up trophy game animals including gray wolves, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, or any animal protected by the federal government. Sponsor Representative Dan Zwonitzer says the main focus is not to collect road kill to eat, but rather to pick up rotting carcasses.
“Only about 5 percent of road kill is worthy of consumption for humans, certainly some people use it to feed their pets, dogs, etc,” said Zwonitzer.
EVEN THOUGH ZWONITZER SAYS DEAD ANIMALS POSE A SAFETY RISK …..BEACH SAYS THIS PUTS GAME WARDENS AND THOSE STOPPING FOR ROAD KILL AT RISK AS WELL.
“If a game warden or WYDOT picks up an animal with flashing lights, emergency lights, WYDOT yellow lights, if people are picking up road kill it just seems like a recipe for disaster,” said Beach.
Beach says he thinks this could open up a new avenue for people to validate poaching.