Monday, November 13, 2000

You kill deer, you can have it

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Strike a deer with your car in Ohio and you get first dibs on the carcass.

        “Under Ohio law, the driver of a vehicle has the first opportunity to take possession of that deer,” said John Wisse, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's wildlife division.

        All the driver has to do is report the accident to police within 24 hours and obtain a deer possession receipt, which can be obtained from most law enforcement and state wildlife offices.

        “Obviously the majority of people don't do that, but others do,” Mr. Wisse said.

        Most deer carcasses are hauled away by people contacted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

        “We keep a running list of people at each of our 57 posts throughout the state that we will call to come pick up these deer off the side of the road,” patrol spokesman Sgt. Gary Lewis said.

        The meat typically is consumed by humans or their pets, he says.

        Carcass retrieval is a service for some communities with landfills that no longer accept animal remains.

        David Haney of Lebanon is one of the first people the patrol's Lebanon post calls.

        The avid hunter said he's been hauling deer carcasses off the sides of Warren County roads for seven years. Last year he collected about eight.

        “I take them and get them butchered and keep the meat,” Mr. Haney said. “I love deer meat.

        “Plus, I can't stand to see a good animal go to waste just because it's been hit.”

        So how do you know whether the meat is any good?

        “A lot depends on the temperature outside or the amount of damage that's been done to the deer,” said Deb Abbott, a spokeswoman with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

        The department does not endorse eating road kill, she said, “but you should definitely not eat it if it's been laying around for more than an hour or so.”


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