Virginia House Unanimously Passes Bill to Expand Roadkill Laws: Turkeys and Elk Now Included

Richmond, Virginia – The Virginia House of Delegates has unanimously passed a bill that would change the laws regarding drivers’ rights to claim roadkill. The bill, submitted by Del. Tony Wilt (R-34), received a 98-0 vote in favor on February 6th.

Currently, if a driver hits a game animal with their vehicle, they must call a conservation officer or local law enforcement to verify the animal and grant permission to take it. Only the driver is allowed to claim the animal, and it must have been hit during the animal’s hunting season.

If the bill becomes law, it would allow someone other than the driver to claim the roadkill. However, they would still be required to contact authorities to verify the animal and obtain permission before taking it. The new law would also extend beyond just bears and deer, now including turkeys and elk, and would not be limited to specific hunting seasons.

During a review of the bill, Del. Tony Wilt explained that if no one claims the animal currently, it falls to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). In certain regions of the state, these incidents can pile up, and the animals end up in the landfill. The bill aims to address this issue, ensuring that the roadkill does not go to waste.

The passage of this bill reflects a change in how roadkill is managed in Virginia. By allowing someone other than the driver to claim the animal, it opens up new possibilities for utilizing the resource. This change is expected to reduce waste and provide opportunities for those who may benefit from the roadkill.

Critics of the bill argue that allowing non-drivers to claim roadkill may increase competition and potentially lead to more accidents. However, proponents of the bill believe that it will provide a practical solution to the current issue of roadkill being wasted.

The bill will now move to the Virginia Senate for consideration. If it passes, Virginia will join other states that have implemented similar legislation regarding roadkill.