Road Kill At Record Levels In North Idaho

COEUR D’ALENE — All the snow in the mountains is pushing wildlife closer to populated areas in search of food and officials says its leading to a record year for road kill in North Idaho.

Idaho fish and game officials say that between Sandpoint and the Canadian border it’s been a record year for moose road kill and when they can Fish and Game officials call on volunteers to salvage the animal and donate the meat to local food banks.

Depending on how badly injured the animal is you could salvage anywhere from four to 400 pounds of meat.

The freezer at Post Falls Food Bank is packed with wild game road kill that will soon make it’s way to someone’s dinner table. Food bank manager Kathy Larson says they can’t afford to buy meat on their own.

“Meat is expensive, we only have a little budget and if we use our budget to buy meat then we don’t have money for peanut butter, canned fruit things like that,” Larson said.

Jim Hayden, regional wildlife manager with Fish and Game, expects more road kill to pop up in the next few weeks.

“Well these low level areas where animals are focusing on is where we also find roadways and so what people are seeing are encountering animals more frequently because more concentrated- animals are looking for spots to walk with out being in the snow,” he said.

Hayden estimates close to a hundred moose have been killed by cars and trains between Sandpoint and the Canadian border this year alone with dawn and dusk the peak times for animals crossing roadways.

Even though there’s more road kill Hayden says there won’t be more salvageable meat.

“It’s tremendously hard work, tremendously difficult, dirty work. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who do it and we don’t get a lot of folks doing it simply because its a chore,” Hayden said.

He added that most of the time the meat isn’t even salvageable as some animals may be sick and wouldn’t be safe to eat. Even though some meat can’t be salvaged, Kathy Larson at the food bank is appreciative of what volunteers do gather for needy families.

“We’re happy with what we get and I’m sure Fish and Game is doing everything they can to get every animal that they know,” Larson said.