Booher bill signed to streamline roadkill collection permit process

LANSING — Sen. Darwin Booher’s bill to allow drivers to keep certain roadkill without obtaining a permit was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“This change could benefit everyone – drivers, taxpayers and local governments,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Making it easier for drivers who unfortunately hit an animal to remove it will help reduce the burden on state and local agencies and road commissions who currently pick up roadkill – saving scarce road funding dollars. I sponsored this legislation to eliminate unnecessary government red tape concerning the collection of roadkill from Michigan roadways.”

Previously, residents could claim an animal killed by a car, but only after first obtaining a permit from the Department of Natural Resources or law enforcement.

Under Senate Bill 613, now Public Act 255 of 2014, a driver hitting certain animals would have first priority to claim it. For most small game, drivers would have to keep a written record of information about the animal and the location.

For deer, the driver of a vehicle involved in a roadkill collision could call 911 to report the accident and state his or her intent to keep the animal; or the driver or other motorists not involved in the collision could either contact the Department of Natural Resources or local law enforcement to indicate their intent to collect the roadkill.

Due to concerns about abuse of the new law by poachers, it does not apply to several animals, such as badgers, bears, bobcats, elk, moose, otters, wild turkeys and wolves. It also does not apply to migratory birds, such as geese, ducks and woodcock, because of federal regulations.

“While fresh roadkill like deer can be consumed, that is not the reason I introduced this measure,” Booher said. “It came about after hearing from several constituents who wanted to use the roadkill animals for various purposes, such as hunting, composting or salvaging the hides. I see this reform as a way to reduce regulations, save taxpayer dollars and clean up our roads.”

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