My first official salvage tag. This morning my housemates informed me that a fresh deer was laying at the end of the road. I strolled to the end of the drive and found a large doe. She had been side swiped very recently, and was still warm. I brought the venison gift home and immediately got online to file for a tag. It took moments, and the tag is free. I was so thrilled! This law was enacted last year, finally allowing Washington residence to pick up roadkill legally for the meat.
Some people might be apprehensive about picking up meat off the road, and there are a lot of things to be wary of. Hot and bloated carcasses are not suitable for salvage, but a fresh animal hit on a cool day is perfectly safe to consider. The next important step is assessing the condition of the meat during processing. I cut any damaged parts off the deer, like I would with blood shot meat. If anything smells off, like you would not want to eat it, get’s chucked to the wild animals in the scrap pile. On this doe, the choice parts of the muscle, lion and back strap, were untouched, offering the most tender cuts for harvest. The internal organs of the deer were also intact, though, because it had sat by the road a bit, I opted not to harvest them. Taking a look at the liver, I saw no splotches or other discoloring which would be a sign of disease. The doe was healthy, from her thick winter coat to the rich red meat.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to get a little more venison in the freezer this winter. I’m also very thankful to The State of Washington for making this type of harvest possible. The animal was tragically killed by accident, but the life of that doe will not go to waste.