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.)
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.
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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.