Finally, a Texas Politician Is Calling For an End to the State's Roadkill-Eating Ban

Categories: Politics

TinkNathan.jpg
If Tink Nathan doesn't belong in the Texas Legislature, we're not sure if anyone does. The 72-year-old Republican from Kerr County, just northwest of San Antonio, has the whole package: scraggly frontiersman beard; monogrammed Texas flag shirt; an eponymous line of hunting products derived from deer urine. He's the guy New Yorkers conjure up when they think of Texas.

He's also the only candidate, apparently in the entire state, bold enough stand up and defend Texans' God-given right to eat animals they run over in their cars.

As it stands, picking up roadkill is a crime. Partly, this is because of health-and-safety concerns (hard to know what vile pathogens might be swarming over any given carcass), partly it's to discourage people from using their cars as hunting weapons. (This has actually been documented. In a 2012 Dallas Morning News story, a state game warden's staffer recalled a couple of incidents in which motorists intentionally ran over exotic deer in Kerr County, right in Nathan's backyard.)

See also: Texas Is Mulling a Ban on Pouring Gasoline into Rattlesnake Burrows

Nathan thinks that scavenging roadkill is a personal decision best left up to a driver and the critter he just flattened. There's no need for the government to stick its nose in.

Besides, he told the San Antonio Express-News, why should buzzards be the only ones to benefit from the frequent animal-car collisions that occur by the thousands on Texas roads. "That meat goes to waste," Nathan says. "Why not utilize it?"

Nathan's position isn't really quite as far out of the mainstream as it seems at first blush, nor is it one exclusively held by rednecks. Illinois recently lifted its roadkill ban. Montana recently began issuing roadkill-salvage permits.

In Texas, such measures have the support of many hunters, newspaper columnists and, for a while at least, PETA.

Texas politicians, however, have been too hesitant or too cowardly to embrace the issue.

It's a shame, too. With the number of squirrels mowed down by cars every year, Dallas could feast for days.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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27 comments
phuc
phuc

So, a republican wants us to eat roadkill?  No.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I'm assuming here that you used a picture of roadkill covered in a Texas flag to accompany this story, right?

ruddski
ruddski

I just thought of a new use for those photo-copters. Buzzards got nuthin' on us.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Maybe add vegetables, just in case someone hits Abbott.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Don't know if it's still the case, but in Colorado, if you called the SP to a roadkill incident the first thing they asked you was "Do you want to claim the meat."

If you said yes, odds were the patrolman knew a good processor in the closest town.  If you said no, the meat was processed by the county and fed to someone, most likely us schoolkids.


Also, if you claimed the meat, most car insurance companies considered that fair compensation for the damage to your car, but the patrolman wouldn't let you in on that.


A lot of locals had great big 'cow catcher' bumpers on their pickups, not sure if there's any correlation.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

Several years back, my wife and I made a trip out to Tampa, and I'd already told her that one of the creepiest parts of the trip was noting the complete lack of roadkill animals between the Florida border and the middle of Louisiana when taking I-10. She thought I was exaggerating until we made the trip back. All through the Florida panhandle, we spotted everything from snakes to a lone bobcat, but right across the border in Alabama? Not a scrap, although a lot of disturbing stains on the side of the road coincided with car and truck skidmarks.She got progressively more and more disturbed by this realization, until we finally spotted a dead possum just short of the Texas border and she screamed like she'd won the lottery. 

Not that this is purely a Southern phenomenon, either. I knew of a guy in northeast Wisconsin who had to be warned by police multiple times about his penchant for bringing home roadkill critters in winter, burying them in a snowdrift behind his house, and pulling them out when he wanted dinner. Their main concern was with deer and game warden suspicions that he was running them down deliberately, but they also figured that since raccoons and possums hibernate during the winter and beaver and muskrat generally aren't found along residential roads, there were two species he was utilizing the most, and their owners might get upset at Spot and Whiskers showing up in this guy's chili. I mean, he was probably going to put macaroni in there, too, and that's just disrespectful to the dog or cat.

wcvemail
wcvemail

If we allowed road-kill consumption, we could also enjoy truly fast food while also learning about Texas wildlife in menu planning, and encourage people to seek their own food - by cooking on the engine of the same car that ran over Bambi. Below is a link to the free instructions, and there's also a real cookbook titled "Manifold Destiny." I'm a happier man for having shared this with you.

http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-Food-on-Your-Car's-Engine

mcdallas
mcdallas

Alaska REQUIRES certain roadkill to be repurposed into meat for homeless shelters and other nonprofits.  It's based on a combination of species and time of death.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I'm sure Tink is a nice guy and he looks genuinely happy.


But I have my doubts about him being a Texas native.  I'm thinking central Indiana.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Have you ever been in a vehicle that hit a deer? Those animals are worse than squirrels when it comes to darting in front of you with no predictable direction. If that dumb fucker is going to smash up my front quarter panel, the least it can do is get turned into some nice venison steaks, hot links, and chili meat. That is perfectly fine. Scraping a rotting skunk off the asphalt for supper? Not so much.

ruddski
ruddski

Got caught fishing without license in PA in the 70's. Warden said fine or jail. Asked what the menu was in jail. Warden said "road kill". Paid fine.

ruddski
ruddski

Those cow catchers are to push Texans out of the passing lanes.

ruddski
ruddski

"...If we allowed road-kill consumption, we could also enjoy truly fast food..."

Road kill, by definition, is most often slow food.

ruddski
ruddski

If you hit a moose, you're likely to be the road kill.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@ruddski  

There are certain sections of interstate highways where people will not "stay right".  My experience on these are the following:

I35 north of Denton

I35 between Hillsboro and Temple

I45 south of Huntsville.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ruddski Used to make a pretty fair chunk of change pulling southerners out of the bar ditches in the winter up there.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@wcvemail @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

When I grew up it was pretty common when working on cold days to set a can of beans or soup on the engine block of the tractor for about 10 - 15 minutes prior to lunch.

Note: ALWAYS VENT CANS!

ruddski
ruddski

No, likely not. Some, if not many Texans travel tho.

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