Tracking roadkill with a new app is Wyoming’s new wildlife hobby

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Wyoming is unique for many reasons, not the least of which is its focus on its specific wildlife. No other state talks about the movement of grizzy bears, wolf packs, or wolverines like they do in the cowboy state.

It’s no surprise, then, that the state’s new program for people to collect road kills for food is being watched closely. Maybe it won’t be as exciting as whether Bear 399 will finally part ways with its now 2-year-old cubs this spring, but the traffic accidents won’t go unnoticed or unreported.

One of those early reports is the details of a doe crossing on US 287 south of Lander in the early morning of President’s Dy as Marta Casey hit the road for a day of snowboarding. She said she tried to slow her Subaru and drive around the deer, but had to settle for a Wyoming state trooper’s promise to shoot the injured animal.

About 30 states allow collecting roadkill for food, but only the Cowboy State has an app for it. The app makes it easy to quickly claim accidentally killed deer, elk, moose, wild bison or wild turkeys by identifying the animal and signing the roadkill rules.

Jaden Bales of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation said the doe was killed near Lander, whom Casey informed of the accident, and tapped on the app to claim it.

Wyoming’s new highway destruction system was approved last year by the Wyoming Legislature’s House Bill 95, which passed unanimously. It replaces a system that required a game warden to first provide a tag before a resident could claim roadkill wild game.

Using an app, not a beacon, the new state system is available on all non-interstate routes.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is largely credited with the new rules, with the app running on the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s existing 511 system.

Rick King, Wyoming’s chief game warden, said the new Roadkill app works with the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s existing 511 system in granting electronic clearances to harvest roadkill animals.

Cell phone coverage is not required to operate the new app.

By obtaining electronic authorization, Wyoming residents agree to harvest the entire carcass, not just the usable parts. A landfill or container intended for landfill should be used to dispose of unusable parts to control the spread of any disease.

King says it works “pretty smooth” and won’t burden the state with a heavy workload.

Collecting roadkill wildlife can be dangerous, which is why Game and Fish of Wyoming urges people to do so safely. “Never attempt to collect traffic casualties if there is freeway traffic. The department has prioritized your safety with the Traffic Casualty Collection Rules,” he says, “ remember:

  • Roadkill cannot be collected on Interstate 25, Interstate-80, or Interstate-90.
  • No one can pick up road casualties at night; it must be daylight.
  • You cannot collect roadkill from construction zones or national parks in Wyoming.
  • Off-road parking is mandatory and you must turn on your vehicle’s emergency flashers.
  • Ground dressing is not permitted on the roadway.

As for the app, here’s how Wyoming officials explained it when it rolled out in February:

  • To get started, download the Wyoming 511 app from your device’s respective app store. For those who already have the Wyoming 511 on their phone, the update may require users to reinstall the app for new features.
  • To request authorization through Wyoming 511, look for the “Report Roadkill” button on the app’s home screen.
  • Following a series of questions about the carcass, if the species is available for collection at an approved location, the user can request authorization.
  • The application immediately sends a certificate after completing the questionnaire. Applicants must currently have or create a username and password with Game and Fish to obtain authorization.

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