Photo courtesy of lostinfog/Flickr

House Bill 247, also known as the road kill bill or salvage bill, passed its second reading in the Montana Senate today, March 20.

The bill passed with 33 yeas and 15 nays, mostly along party lines. During the hearing, legislators couldn't help but stir up a few laughs while talking about the bill, which is designed to allow the harvest of deer, antelope, and elk that are killed on Montana's roadways.

Those against the bill say the harvested meat could put those that eat it in danger by not being properly cooled or by containing particulate from the collision like glass or gravel. "Despite all its good intentions, no pun intended, this bill from a public safety perspective does not pass the smell test for me," said representative Kendal J Van Dyk (D) of Billings.

On the other side of the argument are those like representative Scott Boulanger of Darby. "every single morning there are five or six deer laying along the road and an occasional elk," said Boulanger (R) who described his drive to work each morning during the hearing. "I think this is a good bill, just to kind of clean things up."

The original sponsor of the bill, rep. Steve Lavin says he got the idea for the bill from a fellow trooper while working as a highway patrolman. Lavin says those involved in a collision often ask they can take the animals they've recently hit home.

Lavin says that even now, some elk and moose meat is taken to local food banks for processing. That meat is then distributed to needy families.


Steve Lavin: