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Janelle Schroeder/MEDILL

Roadkill could legally become a food source if Governor Pat Quinn signs a new bill that already passed in the Illinois Senate and House.  Game meat is a healthy substitute for beef if processed and cooked correctly.

Roadkill bill awaits Gov. Quinn

by Janelle Schroeder
May 18, 2011

How to safely remove road kill


1. Wear glove at all times to avoid direct contact with the animal.
2. Wear protective glasses to avoid fluids splashing into the eyes.
3. Wash hands immediately.
4. Wash any fluid stained clothing.

Pan Braised Squirrels


4 skinned and gutted squirrels -- feet also removed
8 milliliters olive oil
300 grams dandelion leaves
300 grams young sow thistles
100 grams young dock leaves
150 grams hairy bittercress
150g nettle tops
3 medium sized onions
100g wild chervil or parsley
80g dill
A few lemon balm leaves
Juice of one large orange
Pine nuts
Toasted sesame seeds
A few dried apricots or raisons
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Half a teaspoon curry powder
Quarter teaspoon of turmeric
Eighth teaspoon cinnamon
1 small chilli
Salt and pepper

Sweat the onions in the olive oil. Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and add the dock leaves sow thistle and dandelion leaves. Boil for about a 30 seconds to a minute. Strain off and discard the water (to remove excess bitterness from leaves). Add this as well as the chopped dill, parsley, nettles, hairy bittercress and all other ingredients to the meat pan. Also add about 3 cups of water. Simmer for about one hour with a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking and add a little more water if necessary. Serve with good rustic bread to soak up the juices.

Recipe courtesy of Fergus Drennan.

Roadkill soon could be yours for the taking, if you have the right license. In an attempt to help clean up Illinois’ roads in a recession, both the Illinois House and Senate passed a bill last week allowing the removal roadkill – free of charge.

The bill, awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature, would clear the way for fur-bearing mammals to legally be taken from roadways in season by people with the proper license or permit.

Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) introduced House Bill 3178 in February after a retired conservation officer in her district came to her with the idea to assist the state with both roadkill and financial issues.

“The bill will help clean up our state at no extra cost,” Hammond said.

The bill passed in the house 98-16 in March and passed the senate last week 56-0 vote. 

The Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability said that Quinn’s fiscal 2012 budget is short by approximately $2.4 billion.

Hammond said the bill did not encounter any negative feedback during the legislative process. The bill is geared towards the rural areas of the state because of the large number of dead animals on roadways. She said while urban areas may not be as affected as rural areas, there was general support for the bill due to the state’s financial crisis.

“We will no longer have those animals laying around on the road,” said Hammond. “The Illinois Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources do not have the labor force or the money to take care of these animals.”

The bill clarifies the current law regarding the legality of roadkill pickup in Illinois. Road-killed deer still may only be claimed by people who are residents of Illinois, are not delinquent in child support payments and do not have their wildlife privileges suspended in any state.

Those who choose to use roadkill for food need the knowledge to determine whether the meat is fresh.

“Any time you have an animal product that would be meat or something, you’ve got the hazard of potential food-borne illness,“ said Susan DiGrino, director of environmental health for McDonough County Health Department in Macomb.

Roadkill takers should check the animal for visible signs of bacteria and bugs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, game meat should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees to kill any bacteria.