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Wed., Feb. 1, 2012, 6:17 a.m.

Bright side: lack of snow reduces roadkill

Members of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council's Wildlife recovery team bringing in a roadkill white-tailed deer to salvage meat for the needy. (Rich Landers)
Members of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council's Wildlife recovery team bringing in a roadkill white-tailed deer to salvage meat for the needy. (Rich Landers)

WILDLIFE -- It's not something that strikes everyone, but the relatively shallow lowland snow accumulation this winter has made an impact on the sportsman's club that volunteers to pick up road-killed big game.

"It seems we are picking up more animals hung up in fences than off the road," said Wanda Clifford, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council executive director.

The council has a special permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to deal with freshly dead or mortally injured big game around the area.  "Wildlife Recovery Team" members are trained in how to handle and sometime dispatch game. If the meat is salvagable, they have the permits to take it to local charities for distribution to the poor.

But this winter, the crew isn't working nearly as hard as it did last year.

"Right now it seems we are picking up one or two animals a week compared to that number in a day when the winter is heavy with snow," Clifford said.

Everybody likes to see wildlife getting a break, but the side effect is that fewer people get to eat salvaged meat.

Read on for the report on the more than SIX TONS of nutritious meat the Recovery Team was able to provide the needly last year.

The INWC’s Big Game Recovery crew is authorized (under permit issued by the WDFW) to pick up salvageable road-killed deer, elk, & moose in Spokane County (and in some cases in adjoining counties), and then gut, skin, & clean the meat and deliver it to the Union Gospel mission or Crown Foods in Spokane.

We are not wildlife vetinarians who can “fix them up”, nor are we a disposal crew for hauling away rotting carcasses. We fill the niche in between these two, processing the salvageable ones (and when necessary, humanely dispatching the wounded ones).

In 2011, our 28 active crew members responded to 76 deer, 2 elk and 6 moose.

This equates to an estimated 6,860 pounds of nutritious meat donated to some of our less fortunate folks in the Spokane area.

Our crewmembers traveled 3,535 miles, and logged 260.85 hours to make this all happen.

I offer a great big “THANK YOU!” to all of the Big Game Recovery crew.

--Ken Hoff, INWC Big Game Recovery chair




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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