Roadkill Café Gets Green Light in Illinois
Granny, the lovable and eccentric backwoods culinary expert from
the popular 1960s television sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies, would
love Illinois Rep. Norine Hammond.
Or maybe the admiration society is the other way around?
In February, Rep. Hammond (R-Macomb) introduced a measure that
allows citizens to retrieve deceased furbearing mammals (a nice way
to say roadkill) from Illinois roadways for personal use. In order
to legally utilize this renewable resource, persons need only
obtain a current Illinois furbearers license, like the one normally
used by fur trappers and varmint hunters.
House Bill 3178 passed the Illinois state House 98-16 in March
and breezed through the Senate last week 56-0. Illinois Gov. Pat
Quinn has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
One of the primary selling points of Hammond’s bill was that it
is a “cost-saving measure,” – a popular catchphrase in state
capitols this year. While it may sound a little far-fetched to the
uninformed, the law was crafted to save taxpayer dollars because
state highway workers will need to remove fewer dead animals from
the state’s highway and byways-when hungry and creative citizens
will gladly do it for free!
“We will no longer have those animals laying around on the
road,” said Hammond. “The Illinois Department of Transportation and
Department of Natural Resources do not have the labor force or the
money to take care of these animals.”
Under the new law, the present regulation regarding road-killed
deer remains unchanged. Deer found in ditches and on highway
medians may be claimed by those residents of Illinois who are not
delinquent in child-support payments and do not have their hunting
privileges suspended in any state.
For those roadkill-cooking novices who don’t have Granny’s
expertise (or Jethro’s gastronomic preferences), Illinois offers
these important tips for safely removing ‘possums, raccoons, skunks
and other potential main dishes and hors d’oeuvres from the
tollroads and interstates:
– Wear gloves at all times to avoid direct contact with the
– Wear protective glasses to avoid fluids splashing into the
– Wash hands immediately following removal.
– Wash any fluid-stained clothing.
An article in Northwestern University’s MedIll, a
publication of the journalism school’s graduate program, suggests:
“Roadkill takers should check the animal for visible signs of
bacteria and bugs.” Yep, good one.
More good advice comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
which says game meat should be cooked to a safe internal
temperature of 160 degrees to kill any bacteria.
Here at the Outdoor News, we’d like to recommend,
“Don’t forget to look both ways.”
Anyone have any more suggestions to add to the list?