Tuesday, April 29, 2008
PRESCOTT, Wis. —Richard Sanders hadn't given much thought to roadkill until a buddy came across a very large bear on the roadside near Hudson. The animal was bigger than any trophy bear the friends had bagged over the years, and they thought it deserved a better fate than rotting by the road.
"It is not their fault they were hit by a car or truck," Sanders said. "They shouldn't go unnoticed."
Recognized big game record books, such as those kept by the Pope & Young and Boone and Crockett clubs, won't list roadkill animals because they weren't taken by bullet or bow.
To remedy that, Sanders created an alternative online: The Road Kill Record Book Club.
The roadkill bear, which is now at the taxidermist, will have its place on the Web site and in his friend's den.
The Road Kill Record Book Club Web site includes a gallery and registry for bears, cougars, elk and other animals killed by vehicles. It also offers memberships and merchandise.
But Sanders cautioned that the Web site should not be seen as promoting accidents or glorifying roadkill. He plans to provide information on peak danger seasons for vehicle-deer collisions and tips on reporting roadkill.
"The Web site is written in a serious vein, because it is a touchy subject," he said.
The friend who helped him start the Web site dropped out after receiving flak about it, said Sanders, 60, of Prescott, a marketing consultant for hunting-related clients.
Lou Cornicelli, big-game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, scoffed at the idea of a Web site devoted to roadkill.
"I thought I had seen everything, but I hadn't until now," Cornicelli said.
He added, "I don't see it serving a purpose, but if he wants to have a Web site for animals smacked by Buicks, more power to him."
Wisconsin wildlife officials were more charitable.
"It certainly is a novel idea," said Keith Warnke, Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources big-game specialist. "I suppose it could serve an educational purpose, especially if they provide information on peak seasons and what to do if you see a deer in the road."
Mark Burmesch, an Eau Claire-based regional DNR warden, cautioned that people must get permission from the DNR and pay a claiming fee before picking up roadkill. The fee starts at $10 and depends on species and condition.
On the Net:
Road Kill Record Book Club: http://www.roadkillrecordbookclub.com
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com
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