More information about road kill than you will ever want or need

Catherine Price writes an amusing piece in Slate about her adventures trying to cook rabbit road kill that reminded me of two road kill stories from my own life. Yes. Two.

The first was a heated debate I got into with a deer hunter on Christmas about fifteen years ago.  The hunter in question was bragging about “taking down three deer this season” when his wife reminded him that one of the deer had been road kill that he stumbled upon on the way home from work.

“Road kill?” I asked. “You count a deer that was hit by a truck as a kill?”

“If you drag it out of the woods, it’s a kill.”

“And what if you drag it out of the breakdown lane?” I asked.

“Close enough.”

Apparently it is not uncommon for a hunter to include road kill in their seasonal kill numbers, especially if the hunter is the one to hit the deer.

Several states have actually gotten involved in road kill reclamation.

The state of Illinois, for example, requires hunter to register any deer claimed off the side of the road. The law states that “road kill deer may only be claimed by those individuals who are residents of Illinois, are not delinquent in child support payments and do not have their wildlife privileges suspended in any state.”

Am I the only one who thinks it strange for a state to link child support payments to road kill reclamation?

Colorado, on the other hand, issues permits for the “harvesting meat from road kill.” The law provides for the possession of “edible portions” of road-killed wildlife. Harvesters (their word, not mine) are therefore permitted to hack off certain parts of the animal but must leave the rest behind.

Antlers and fur, for example, come under a separate jurisdiction.

So you can take a drumstick and a little white meat but must leave your future deerskin coat behind.

Utterly bizarre. President Obama. in his State of the Union speech, talked about simplifying government, using the example of salmon, which change jurisdiction depending upon their location in the river.

Perhaps he should start the simplification process by eliminating governmental regulation as it pertains to road kill.

I’m pretty sure we were just fine before it.


My second road kill story takes place ten years before the Christmas Day road kill debate. I was attending a college party at North Adams State College in Massachusetts (now Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts). In the center of the room was a large, plastic garbage barrel from which the frat boys were spooning out spiked punch to guests. Floating inside the punch was a block of ice containing road kill.

The frat boys had scooped up some indiscernible species of mammal from the side of the road and frozen it in a block of ice with blue food coloring.  Then they froze that blue block of ice into another clear block of ice.

The goal of the party was to finish drinking the spiked punch before the clear ice melted down to the blue ice, thus exposing the punch (and any would-be drinkers) to the road kill.

One of the most ingenious and disgusting things I have ever seen.

And yes, they managed to finish off the punch in time.

I even helped out a little.