SALEM, Ore. — Want to scoop a dead animal off the highway for dinner? It’s now legal in Oregon.

Drivers who turn the state’s deer and elk into roadkill can now harvest them for food as a result of Senate Bill 372, which went into effect New Year’s Day.

About 20 states had already let drivers to turn roadkill into food, with advocates calling the practice healthier and more humane.

“Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most meat is today,” as PETA, or the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, notes on its site.

But there are rules before a dead animal can become filet mig-roadkill:  An animal’s antlers must be turned in within five business days, for example, and it’s illegal to intentionally hit an animal.

“It’s important to note that people are eating this at their own risk,” said Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’s up to each person to decide whether the meat is appropriate to eat.”

Here’s a breakdown of nine rules to follow if you want to dine on roadkill in Oregon, courtesy of the department:

1. Eat at your own risk

Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk. The state will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged under these rules.

2. Remove the carcass from the road

The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage

3. Selling the meat is prohibited

Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat.

4. Only salvage the animals for consumption

Deer and elk accidentally stuck by a vehicle may be salvaged for consumption only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk in order to salvage it remains unlawful. Oregon State Police could follow up if a situation appears suspicious.

5. Deer and elk only

This law only applies to deer and elk — not other animals. For information related to what to do about animals like bears or mountain goats killed by vehicles, see the state’s roadkill page.

“If this leads to animals that are accidentally stuck not being wasted, that’s a good thing and the intent of the law,” Dennehy said. “The goal is to put the meat to good use, if possible.”

6. Head and antlers must be turned in

Antlers and head of all salvaged animals will need to be surrendered to an ODFW office within five business days of taking possession of the carcass. This rule is intended to contribute to the Fish and Wildlife Department’s surveillance program for chronic wasting disease.

“A lot of people do collect and sell antlers, and that’s not what this program is for,” Dennehy said.

7. If the animal is put down for suffering, only the driver can salvage

In cases where a deer or elk is struck, injured and then put down to alleviate suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass. Law enforcement must be immediately notified.

8. You must complete the permit

Anyone who salvages a road-killed deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours and provide information including their name, contact info, where and when salvage occurred, species and gender of animal salvaged, and if they were the driver who struck the animal.

“The permit system is intended to track the number of animals being salvaged,” Dennehy said.

9. The state is not liable

The state of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.

Contributing: Associated Press

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