Can people legally pick up road kill?


The in basket: Bob Arper of Central Kitsap hoped to fashion a coonskin hat for his costume during the Poulsbo yule activities.

“I am curious about what happens to those animals that are hit by vehicles on the highways,” he said. “My questions are who or what organization is tasked with picking up the carcasses, can a person get the hides from the organization that picks them up, and is it against the law for an individual to pick up a carcass?”

The out basket: Bob won’t be able to make such use of a dead raccoon, which is illegal. 

The state Department of Transportation and county collect road kill of wild animals along their respective thoroughfares,and Kitsap Animal Control handle the bodies of killed domestic animals. 

State law prohibits the possession of dead wild animals unless one has a permit from the Department of Wildlife. Such permits are only granted to organizations, usually for scientific purposes relating to disease, says Craig Bartlett of the department.

Raccoons are included in the law forbidding possession, though its mostly needed for large animals like deer or elk, he said. ” If you have the head of a deer in your truck and an officer asks to see your deer tag, and you can just say ‘I found it dead,’ it thwarts efforts to preserve the resources.” 

Even if it were legal,  the state highway folks wouldn’t make them available. Don Clotfelter, state maintenance manager for the Olympic region, says they don’t “provide citizens with hides or other animal remains for a variety of reasons including a lack of resources, logistics, potential for disease and other negative aspects associated with the handling of dead, wild animals.”



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