Pennsylvania has a lot of deer. It also has a lot of people. Often times, those people hit those deer with their cars. Pennsylvania drivers have a 1-in-63 chance of hitting a deer, according to the most recent analysis by State Farm. Only West Virginians and Montanans hit more deer. (Hawaiians were the least likely drivers to hit a deer, with a 1-in-6,823 chance.)
There is an upside to all these car/deer collisions. (Not for the deer, though.) When Pennsylvania residents hit a deer—or turkey—they are legally allowed to keep the carcass. And in 2017, Pennsylvanians submitted more than 3,300 permits to the state’s Game Commission requesting the right to eat roadkill. Others surely ate roadkill deer without letting the state know about it.
The permit is free, but keeping inedible parts of the animal costs money; non-edible deer parts have to be given to the state or thrown out otherwise. Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesperson Travis Lau told Pittsburgh’s WESA-FM:
“Those are valuable food sources,” he said. “And it is a valuable use of our wildlife resource to allow that animal that’s been killed to now get to somebody who might be in need or who otherwise wants it for food.”
He’s right! Lau also said the 3,300 permits is about typical for the state.
So go ahead, Pennsylvanians: Drive your car all around the commonwealth with the knowledge that if you do hit a deer, you won’t have to buy dinner for a while.