SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -California’s “Kill It and Grill It” legislation unanimously passed its first committee hearing on its way to becoming law; however, a number of changes to the bill were suggested, including making the roadkill program a pilot project instead of permanent law.
Senate Bill 395 would allow drivers who accidentally kill deer, antelope, elk, or wild pig to pick up the roadkill and eat it. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water committee Tuesday.
If passed, the Department of Fish and Wildlife would create an app allowing drivers to apply for a free roadkill permit within 24 hours of hitting and killing an animal. The permit would allow people to “recover, possess, use, or transport” dead animals in order to eat them. Drivers could also legally and humanely kill a severely injured animal and then recover the body. The permit also covers people who find dead animals, but didn’t kill them with their own cars.
Part of the bill’s goal is to improve roadway safety for wildlife and cut down on the number of wildlife killed by cars. The app would require people to input details of the crash, including specific location, time of day, and circumstances. The committee suggested requiring all agencies who pick up roadkill as part of their normal duties to use the app, as well.
The bill’s author, Senator Bob Archuleta (D- District 32), issued a statement along with the bill: “[e]ach year, thousands of large game animals are struck on California highways, endangering motorists and disrupting the flow of wildlife throughout our state. This bill, SB 395, provides Caltrans, the California Department of Fish and SB 395 (Archuleta) Wildlife, and other state agencies with a means of tracking these collisions, so that they might assess where wildlife highway crossings are needed most.”
The California Fish and Game Wardens’ Association raised some concerns about SB 395:
- Note that their members deal with “many, many thousands of wildlife injuries associated with traffic collisions,” and enforce the state’s laws for fishing and
hunting, including poaching.
- Express serious concern about allowing “unlicensed, untrained, and unregulated citizens to engage in the killing of injured roadside wildlife” particularly the safety issue raised by firearms being used on the side of the road which conflicts with existing state law.
- Express concern about the general public putting themselves at risk by stopping and exiting a vehicle on the side of the road in order to procure the roadkill.
- State that the proposed roadkill permitting process would “complicate and frustrate” existing wildlife protection laws and regulations, and make the
apprehension of those illegally possessing wildlife or poaching more difficult than it is already.
Another concern raised is enforcing hunting laws. Currently, it’s difficult for hunters to get a legal tag to hunt elk and antelope. The CFGWA says this could “provide an incentive to hunt an elk or an antelope without a tag and then report it as roadkill.”
Additional questions have been raised about how people can humanely kill animals close to a roadway. Firearms are prohibited from being discharged on or near roads, and knives are prohibited.
Other states have similar Kill It and Grill It laws, including Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.