Field Reports: Road-kill pick-up crew salvages tons of meat

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 – Farmers feed the world, but 24 volunteers from a Spokane sportsman’s club are putting meat on the plates of homeless people by harvesting dead or dying big-game animals along the region’s roads.

The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s Big Game Recovery crew is authorized by a state permit to pick up salvageable road-killed deer, elk and moose primarily in Spokane County.

The helpers use their sportsman’s skills to gut, skin, and clean the meat and deliver it to the Union Gospel Mission or Crown Foods for the needy.

“We are not wildlife veterinarians who can “fix them up,” nor are we a disposal crew for hauling away rotting carcasses,” said Ken Hoff, who coordinates the crew.

“We fill the niche between, processing the salvageable ones and, when necessary, humanely dispatching the wounded ones.”

In 2012, the 24 active crew members logged 210 hours, driving 2,648 miles to collect 45 deer, two elk and nine moose, which produced about 7,180 pounds of meat for the needy.

So far in 2013, the job hasn’t slacked off. Since Jan. 1, the crew has logged 101 hours and driven 1,240 miles to collect 32 deer, one elk and five moose to garner 4,250 pounds of meat.

PikePalooza offers $5,000 in prizes

FISHING – PikePalooza is offering more than $5,000 in cash and prizes for anglers who catch northern pike in various categories during the May 17-19 event on the Pend Oreille River.

The event on the Box Canyon stretch of the river is sponsored by the Kalispel Tribe. Info: kalispeltribe.com/northern-pike.

The derby is part of the program to curb the non-native species in the river.

This year, the tribe has removed more than 5,700 northern pike using gillnets in the second year of a pike-suppression project.

“The majority of these fish are age 3 or less,” said Jason Olson, the tribe’s fish conservation manager.

Pike suppression ended Friday as the tribe organizes to put out even more nets for a fisheries survey this week. If a large number of pike are determined to be in the lake, suppression nets will be deployed again, Olson said.

Native plants bugged

Pollination and other services provided to native plants by insects will be explored in a free program Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Gladdish Community Center in Pullman.  Info: (208) 874-3205.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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