BBC on Roadkill Cuisine

May 20, 2016

I have never managed to shoot a deer.  They don’t exactly volunteer, it turns out.  Before I retired time wasn’t available during the short hunting season: for some reason school administrators have a big conference that week, and I usually had to run the school in the principal’s absence.  After I had retired, I couldn’t be bothered wasting a week sitting still on a deer run when there were far more interesting things to do.

A few friends have stepped up over the years to fill my license for me, though, and there were occasional deer which had been whacked by a passing vehicle.  Of the two sources of venison, I’d have to rate the found carcasses generally higher in palpability than those shot with rifles.

I’ll provide a single example and then leave the subject.  One evening in early December I was driving down Hwy 15 when I came upon a large yellow truck stopped on the shoulder, with drivers shuffling around at the front of the truck in some confusion.  I stopped.  A dead doe lay in front of the truck without a mark on her.

The drivers needed to move on, had a long run and nowhere to put the doe.  I offered some steaks if they helped load it into the back of my SUV.  I drove directly to a guy I knew who had processed venison all through hunting season.  He skinned and cut it up for me for $100.

I reported the pickup to the OPP and the clerk concluded with:  “Enjoy your deer.”

Clifford told me that the only mark he could find on the large doe was a small hole in one ventrical of her heart, no doubt from the hydraulic shock of impact with a large, flat object, the front of a Hertz truck.  The meat was outstanding in flavour and texture.

I won’t tell the far messier story about a rifle-killed specimen which did not taste very good.

O.K., one more story.  While commuting from Carleton Place to Smiths Falls I occasionally encountered road-killed ruffed grouse.  Just about everybody picks them up.  They’re hard to hunt, easy to clean, and flat-out delicious.  One afternoon I was in a line of traffic when the Honda Accord three cars ahead of me took out a low-flying male with the tip of its antenna.

Three of us immediately braked for a U-turn.  My SUV had rear-wheel drive, so I could power around more quickly than the Golf and the minivan.  The grouse had landed on the centre line so I leaned out the door and picked it up.  The other two drivers saluted and resumed their trips home.  The thrill of the hunt.

Here’s a clever BBC article on why roadkill’s not just for the starving any more.


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