12 December 2022

Roadkill - it's what's for dinner

From a story in the StarTribune
About this time last year, Alan Bergo, the forager and onetime chef of Minneapolis' late, lamented Lucia's, was driving near his home in Menomonie, Wis., when a yearling buck bounded in front of his car. Bergo hit the brakes — and the deer, which bounced off his bumper.

Roadkill often ends up eaten by scavengers or disposed of by maintenance crews. But for people like Bergo, the silver lining of animals killed by cars is their no-cost, free-range meat. Heaven's manna, for the modern era.

When Bergo got out of his vehicle, he saw the deer he'd hit was still alive, but couldn't walk. After surmising its pelvis was shattered, Bergo dispatched the buck... Bergo called the local DNR conservation officer, then took the animal home and butchered it. "I probably got a good 70 pounds of meat," he said. "It was the perfect revenge for totaling the first car I'd ever bought myself."..

But as long as an animal had died recently, wasn't sick (chronic wasting disease can be a concern), and bruising or ruptured internal organs hadn't spoiled the prime cuts, Bergo realized its meat wasn't so different than what he'd plated on $30 entrees. And certainly fresher than what you'd buy in the supermarket...

Some states have banned roadkill possession due to concerns of drivers purposefully weaponizing their cars. But roughly half of the United States, including ours, allow the public to take roadkill. In Minnesota, a wildlife-possession permit, acquired through the DNR or other law-enforcement agency, is required. (Removing the animal would otherwise be considered an offense similar to having illegally hunted it.)
More information at the link.  The embedded photo is a venison shank glazed with birch syrup.   Re the birch syrup, see my 2020 post "An encounter with birch water."


  1. I grew up in NE Wyoming in the 1980’s - family didn’t have a lot of cash - and folks tried to help. The Sheriff would drop off fresh road kill deer a couple times a year. We ate like kings on fried venison - with a side of fried potatoes and onions.

  2. A friend of mine hit a moose (Canada) and lived -- alas the moose did not. But the manner in which the moose was hit meant that it would be fine for butchering. The tow truck driver hitched up the moose to his truck and took it to the local butcher so the meat could be donated to a local family in need.

  3. By requiring a hunter's permit for taking the roadkill, there's a silent acknowledgement that a car is a weapon akin to a rifle or a crossbow.


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