This is roadkill season in Oregon.
October and November are the months when this state's motorists are most likely to hit deer and other animals with their cars—in part because animals are migrating during these months, but also because the end of Daylight Savings Time means twilight descends earlier.
Yet Oregonians must wait two more grueling months until they can legally take that roadkill home for dinner.
In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that allows people who find game animals—such as deer and elk—along the road to salvage the carcasses. But that law doesn't take effect until January 2019.
That's because state wildlife officials have been honing the rules to prevent drivers from abusing the new freedoms. The government doesn't want you using your Ford F-150 to play Death Race 2000 with the local elk population.
So last month, state officials finalized rules around the law. Those rules include: If you take roadkill home, you must inform wildlife officials within 24 hours (and tell them if you're the driver who hit it). And if you eat the animal, the state isn't responsible for what happens next.
"You consume it at your own risk," says Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy. "You have to remove the entire carcass of the animal, including gut piles. And you need to remove it from the right of way."
As Dennehy describes it, the process of taking home roadkill sounds like… well, a lot of work, honestly. "This is only for the meat," she says. "You have to surrender the antlers and you have to surrender the heads." (You have five days to deliver the heads to state officials.)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dennehy says state wildlife officials have found it difficult to snag carcasses before they go bad.
"We try to salvage any elk we come across now, and donate them to charitable organizations, but it's usually not salvageable."
At any rate, the rules (and the waiting until January) applies only to deer and elk,.
If you hit a coyote, skunk, nutria, opossum, badger, porcupine, or weasel? You're free right now to take it home and chow down. This is Oregon.