Roadkill: Not the best way to get dinner

A deer crosses at a 'deer crossing' in the Shenandoah National Park.

There you are, driving home, thinking about what it is you’re going to eat for dinner, when THUMP, you peg a deer.

"It's actually very common," says State Farm’s Angie Rinock,  "we're estimating one and a quarter million drivers every year have some sort of altercation with a deer while in their car." And deer altercations can do some real damage. Rinock estimates the average claim is $3,300.


Learn more about roadkill laws by state and find out your odds of hitting a deer with your vehicle. View the interactive map.


The Montana legislature wants to help take the sting out of that bill, by allowing you to take home your deer, as a bit of a concession prize. "This is a bill that allows a law enforcement officer to issue a permit to take a roadkill animal if it's a deer, an elk, a moose or an antelope if the motorist is the person who smote that particular creature to death," said Montana state Senator Larry Jent during debate.

"I support this bill because I have a couple hunters at home who have poor luck and this would help them," joked state Senator Jonathan Windy Boy.

But there’s a problem with this plan. A deer that’s been slammed by a car might not have all that much edible meat. “Blood will go into that muscle and that meat is no good,” says Nick Bennett, who owns Montana Mobile Meats and processes wild game. Just how much meat you can get out of the roadkill depends on exactly where and how hard you hit it.

The hide isn’t worth that much either -- maybe in the range of five bucks. Hardly solace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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