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Illinois motorists no longer have to worry about roadkill citations

Anyone who has taken a trip on the many highways and freeways of the United States is undoubtedly accustomed to certain sights as they go speeding over the landscape, including forests, farmlands and, of course, flattened fauna.

Interestingly enough, it is actually against the law in the majority of states to attempt to salvage the fur and/or food of creatures -- opossums, raccoons, muskrats, deer, etc. -- that were unable to make it safely across the road

One such state was Illinois, where state law previously prohibited the recovery of roadkill and called for a potentially costly fine for scofflaws.

However, this all changed last year when state legislators easily passed the so-called "roadkill bill," which allows anyone in possession of an Illinois furbearer license to recover the pelts/food of those animals killed while trying to cross the road.

The law -- which is actually an expansion of a prior law allowing motorists to collect deer killed by passing traffic -- expressly prohibits the salvaging of animals that are not in season. This language was included to prevent the potential for poaching by those who would simply hunt out of season and later claim that the animal was found alongside a road.

While the admittedly quirky law did not garner much attention from the national or even state media, it was actually the subject of some political intrigue.

As it turns out, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn actually vetoed the roadkill bill once it reached his desk, largely out of concern over motorists potentially putting themselves in jeopardy while in search of a prized specimen.

However, the Illinois state legislature eventually overrode the veto, reasoning -- perhaps with some stifled laughter -- that the bill would create some economic opportunities for enterprising individuals (pelts can actually catch a good price in foreign markets), prevent waste and cut back on some of the work of overworked state road crews.

While state officials have not released any type of official figures concerning how many animals have been collected, the number of furbearer licenses did reach 4,202 in 2011, an increase of 389 from 2010.

They are, however, advising those brave enough to collect a roadside prize to take the necessary precautions -- gloves, protective clothing, and proper hand sanitizing.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


USA Today, "Illinois law lets motorists salvage fur, food from roadkill" Jan. 8, 2012

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