Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 24° Cloudy

Eye On Boise

Road-kill bill introduced

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, proposes legislation Monday to allow licensed hunters and trappers to salvage road-killed carcasses. (Betsy Russell)
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, proposes legislation Monday to allow licensed hunters and trappers to salvage road-killed carcasses. (Betsy Russell)

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, says a constituent of his in North Idaho complained that when he found a bobcat dead in the road near his place, Idaho Fish & Game threatened him with arrest if he picked it up. "He wrote me, said you're letting a $200 hide lay there on the road," Harwood said. So Harwood today proposed legislation to allow people with trapping or hunting licenses to salvage "furbearers" whenever they find them, in season or out of season. The purpose: "To allow road-kill animals to be harvested for the purpose of obtaining the hide." Under current law, it's illegal for anyone to pick up wildlife hit by vehicles; protected wildlife that has died of natural or accidental causes is considered the property of the state.

"Most of the time, the Transportation Department comes out and they throw 'em away," Harwood said. "Sometimes Fish & Game comes out." When Fish & Game recovers a road-killed carcass, on occasion usable meat is donated to the poor, Harwood said. Sometimes, road-killed carcasses are among the items sold at Fish & Game's annual auction of confiscated or found furs and hides, an event known as  "The Fur Sale."

Harwood said he's heard some resistance from Fish & Game officials to his idea, because "they're a little worried about people running it over to get the hide. But," he said. "I hit a dog once and it cost me $2,000 just to fix my car, so I don't think that'll be that much of a problem." The House Resources Committee agreed unanimously to introduce the bill, but several members said they had questions about its wording, which doesn't actually mention "road kill" in the text of the bill, only in the Statement of Purpose. Harwood said Legislative Services bill-drafters told him the word "salvage" covered that. "I'm sure we all have a lot of questions about this," said Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, but he moved to introduce the bill and the motion carried.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: