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Thread: Road Kill Deer, What signs to check for edibility?

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    Question Road Kill Deer, What signs to check for edibility?

    So the other day I started asking myself why I don't try to harvest meat from roadkill deer. Wouldn't this be a great way to get more wild meat on the table?

    Can anyone tell me about the things to check for that tell me if the meat is still edible? Are there any best practices to follow?


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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Your state does issue salvage tags for just that purpose. I'm sure there are some guidelines that your state requires you to follow, but freshly killed and cold weather would be two things I would insist upon if I were harvesting them.
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    Thanks a ton. I have heard that there are signs to look for on a deer if you dont know when it was hit. Do you know anyone in the forum who might have a lot of experience with this?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nell67 has hit a lot of them, don't know if she has harvested them.
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    Poor Nell. She has hit a fair share of them. Rumor has it she has driven through the woods several miles and at high speed to hit them but I would never repeat that. She's the only woman I know that attaches a locomotive blade to the front of her truck during deer season...but that's only rumor.

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    One duck season opener the boys and I were headed to the dick ponds early. It was about a 45 min drive and most of it was long straight country highway. It was very foggy that particular morning and I had, just two day previous attached a grill guard to my 97 T100. I had a quart thermos of coffee between my legs but couldn't even take a drink for 20 miles because the fog was so thick and I was peering into it looking for deer or hogs on the highway. We finally hit a stretch with no fog and I took a swig on the coffee with one eye still on the road... but, there he was... At the same time the buck materialized out of the gloom one of the boys said, "Look out!" A young ten point buck lowered his rack into the left headlight at 50 mph, Whap!. Thank you fate for the grill guard. Bent the hell out of it but saved the light and lens.

    I turned around and told the boys I was going to drag it off the road so no one else would it it. Amazingly, the buck was sitting up in the middle of the road. I stopped and go out with my shotgun, a Model 11 Remington. I had a 22 pistol but only had rat shot for clearing water moccasins out of the duck blind. So, #6 steel shot was going to have to suffice.

    I dropped a shell in the chamber and pushed the button. At the sound the buck was on his feet and I was like.... "uh oh...." Fortunately he took off in the opposite direction, hit the barbed wire twice and decided to jump on the third try. His antlers were still intact but his face was a bit wongo.

    Most deer I've hit with a vehicle have been so thoroughly cussed that they probably weren't any good to eat anyway.

    Alan

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    If it wasn't there on the drive home last night, but is there in the morning?...It's been so tempting.
    But the rules here for picking up road kill would mean missing nearly a day's work. I've seen people picking up parts in buckets from nighttime semi hits. Hamburger maybe? With road grit for flavor? I dunno. Then there are those that say a pen knife and 10 minutes are all that is need to grab the backstraps. I should have someone teach me that one. I see road kill nearly once a week this time of year.

    Still bleeding would be my first requirement. Second would be a head hit, not a full body rupture. And cold weather.
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    In Texas no part of any roadkill game animal may be kept or retained by anyone. In fact it is even illegal to do what I was going to do, put the animal out of it's misery. We are supposed to report the collision and a game warden or police officer will come dispatch the animal. You're on your own with vehicle repairs.

    Alan

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    In KY we can throw them in the trunk and take them to the house any time of year. If you shoot it to put it down you have to call it in, no one does. There is a clause in our hunting laws that restricts shooting along, across or from a road.

    In some cases you can be charged if you hit one with specific Japanese, Korean or German vehicles. It is considered hunting with a sub caliber device.

    My guideline is simple, wait until winter. It is one of the advantages of having 4 seasons. If the deer was not there yesterday and the temp has not been over 40 degrees it should be good. I helped a neighbor process one killed in his front yard a couple of years ago in a situation like that.

    Generally we cut away any damaged portions, process the rest. I would think that if they lived for any time after the vehicle strike the meat would be shot through with adrenaline and be a bit tough. I have always noticed a difference in flavor between "shot and dropped" deer and the ones I had to track after shooting. Might be my imagination.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Thanks for all the advice everyone. Will have to keep my eyes out the next couple of weeks. It is getting cold up here in Wisconsin. I also bought a cooler and put meat bags, a knife, soap and water into it. So if a deer ever gets hit in front of me I will be prepared to make the best out of the situation. I mean essentially we are doing a service by taking the meat and not letting anything go to waste. Anyone have more best practice we could add to the list of things mentioned by others?

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