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Public Comment Period Now Open For Roadkill Harvest Regulations

Three antelope cross a fenceline near a wintery Wyoming road.
Joe Riis courtesy of Wenjing Xu

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is now accepting public comment on regulations for roadkill harvest. Earlier this year, legislation passed that made it legal to collect road killeddeer, elk, antelope, moose, bison, or wild turkey. While the law went into effect on July 1, it still isn't technically legal until regulations have been approved.

The draft regulations provide guidance for things like when roadkill can be collected, how to properly collect an animal, and safety precautions.

"We're looking for public input on all aspects of that. And especially, I'd point out, the safety concerns," said WGFD Public Information Officer Sara DiRenzo. "The other thing, a big portion that I think public input would be highly valued on, are the rules and considerations that we've proposed to address the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease."

DiRenzo added, "the third portion that I think people can really comment on and take time to look at is that there was a concern that this could potentially be used to cover up and attempt to take wildlife illegally. And there are sections in there that address the procedures that Game and Fish would go through to monitor and prevent that sort of action from happening."

When the bill was being debated by the legislature, a concern that was brought up multiple times was the unintentional spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) - a concern that is also echoed by the department.

"So the parts that are maybe in your possession, you'd still want to follow the existing regulations that we have for Chronic Wasting Disease. That's for the entire state of Wyoming," said DiRienzo. "And the reason that is is because we're trying to limit the spread and so no matter where you are in Wyoming, paying close attention to those carcass transport and disposal rules is still really important whether CWD has been identified in your area or not."

If the lymph node is still intact, it can be submitted for CWD testing.

Another concern brought up during debates was the possible hazard those collecting roadkill posed to other motorists and themselves. So the WGFD partnered with WYDOT to create guidelines for those collecting roadkill, which are included in the regulations. There are also certain locations, like I-80 and active construction sites, where roadkill collection won't be allowed for safety reasons.

Those interested in collecting roadkill will be required to get permission first. The WGFD is working with WYDOT to create an app that can be used offline to submit collection requests.

"If folks download that before they head out, it can be used offline to submit the request," said DiRienzo.

After submitting a request on the app, the Game Warden can follow up on it if needed. DiRienzo stressed that no part of these regulations allow a person to euthanize an animal following an unintentional crash.

The public comment period is open until September 24. Comments can be submitted online or mailed in. There will also be a public meeting held on August 26 at 6 p.m. at the Casper Game and Fish Office. After the comment period is closed, written comments will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission for approval at their November meeting in Riverton.

Corrected: August 27, 2021 at 1:59 PM MDT
A previous version of this story stated that permission to collect a roadkilled animal can be received by calling a game warden. That is not the case - permission can only be received digitally through the app.
Ivy started as a science news intern in the summer of 2019 and has been hooked on broadcast ever since. Her internship was supported by the Wyoming EPSCoR Summer Science Journalism Internship program. In the spring of 2020, she virtually graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in biology with minors in journalism and business. When she’s not writing for WPR, she enjoys baking, reading, playing with her dog, and caring for her many plants.
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