The Billings Gazette reported last week that more than 800 roadkill-eating licenses—sorry, I mean "vehicle-killed wildlife salvage permits"—have been issued during the first year of availability. Most of the wildlife salvaged were whitetail deer, but 33 lucky drivers bagged themselves a moose.
Or took home the corpse of a moose somebody else had bagged, at least.
Under Montana law, a person may apply for a salvage permit within 24 hours of finding a whitetail deer, mule dear, antelope, elk, or moose. The meat must be used for human consumption and cannot be sold. A permit authorizes one to possess all parts of said animal, and indeed it is against the law to leave any "parts or viscera" (aren't viscera also "parts"?) at the scene. Partly this is to protect scavengers from also being hit. And then going to waste because you can't eat the scavengers.
Montana is by no means the only state to legalize the taking of roadkill, although I don't know the exact numbers. I do know that Illinois has such a law, because we discussed that controversy (bill passed, bill vetoed, veto overridden) in 2011, and that Wyoming considered but failed to pass one. It was somewhat controversial in Montana, or at least the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks agency initially opposed it, but according to this report everything is going well.
As in Illinois, some opponents argued that the law was a bad idea because it would encourage poachers to hit animals on purpose so they could claim them as roadkill. My feeling has always been that most poachers know what guns are and would be much more likely to use one of those, but I'm no poacher. Montana's statistics seem to support that view, though, because only one-third of roadkill claimers to date reported that they had hit the animal themselves, as opposed to having seen a dead moose of indeterminate age lying by the road and thinking "that looks good."
The Gazette article also has some helpful tips on how to avoid wildlife collisions. They are pretty much all variations on "slow down" or "watch out for wildlife," but still good reminders. It also notes that you should never swerve to miss an animal, but to the extent possible you should "steer toward the animal's hindquarters, as they most often will move forward" to avoid you. That's also good advice that might save one or more lives. Plus, if you can't avoid hitting it, then you've at least tenderized some of the good parts.