Roadkill Is and Isn’t Legal to Take Home in Oklahoma
With grocery prices still sky-high across the country, new foods have entered the general chat in the most squeamish way possible.
Roadkill is the term used to describe any animal that is struck and killed by motorists. It doesn't matter what kind of animal it is, if it's dead from being hit by a car, it's roadkill. Turtles, snakes, birds, deer, etc...
While it's considered a very backwoods and hillbilly/redneck thing to do, it has been a shockingly regular practice for people to pick up fresh roadkill to be used as food at home since the invention of the car. It's a creepy trend that is still in wide use today, but how legal is it?
The first question is, is it legal to take roadkill home in Oklahoma?
It's not the easiest question to answer, or the easiest topic to chase down in any official capacity, but overall it is legal to take roadkill home if you go through the appropriate and required channels.
In the Sooner State, if there is a regulated hunting season for the dead critter species on the side of the road, there is a permit you'll need to obtain in order to haul it home.
This goes for all roadkill animals to be used for any purpose... according to the game warden I spoke with on the phone today.
So I can take a dead deer home and eat it?
Yes, but you'll need to first contact your local game warden and ask for a non-legal kill receipt.
That is the little piece of paper that allows a citizen to lawfully possess a carcass, allowing the state in on the process that normally goes with all game animals.
What if I skip the receipt?
This is where the conversation about legal roadkill goes awry. In having to add another person into the equation, your fresh food find on the side of the road could spoil.
Waste not, want not.
Most people I've personally known in rural Oklahoma that seek out fresh roadkill deer often skip that call because, with so few game wardens out there, there's no telling if your found protein will still be good when they finally get the time to help with paperwork and such.
All the same, without that receipt, if caught, you'll likely be treated and prosecuted the same as every other poacher in the state.
It's not limited to deer.
The requirement to obtain a non-legal kill receipt to claim and take roadkill isn't limited to just deer in Oklahoma. It goes for any game animal there's a season for... at least that's the inference the game warden I spoke with made.
We hit a pheasant one time while out joyriding as teens. Our buddy likes the taste of pheasant so he tossed it in the bed of the truck and had it for dinner at home days later. We had no idea he would have needed a permit to do so.
I suppose the same goes for beer, beaver, bobcats, elk, quail, etc... If it has a specified harvest season, it requires legal paperwork to obtain whether you want to eat it or not.
While it may seem squeamish, roadkill is one way to put a little grocery money back into your own pocket.
If the need arises, here is where you'll find your local game warden.