If a car hits it, is it not a trophy? For animals felled by bumpers, not bows or bullets, hunter's site creates a remembrance By Kevin Harter [email protected] Article Last Updated: 05/03/2008 07:08:57 PM CDT If a trophy 22-point buck falls by the side of the road and there is no Web site to preserve it, does it matter? Richard Sanders thinks it does. Which is why, earlier this month, he co-created a roadkill Web site. Found at roadkillrecordbook Redirecting to TRIBE.NET, it includes a gallery and registry for trophy bears, cougars, elk and other animals killed while crossing the nation's highways and byways. "What happens to these magnificent animals? There is no place for them to go. There is no place to register, to recognize these animals," said Sanders, 60, of rural Pierce County. Because they weren't taken by bullet or bow, roadkill animals can't be listed by Pope & Young, Boone & Crockett or the Safari Club, keepers of the recognized big-game record books. Sanders and his hunting buddies hadn't given the slight much thought until last fall. While on his way to train a new bird dog, Sanders' friend saw a very large bear, likely hit and killed by a passing truck, on the roadside near Hudson. He called the Wisconsin DNR to report it. He then asked what the procedure was to claim the animal and paid $50 for a seizure permit. The bear was bigger than any trophy bear Sanders or his hunting buddy had bagged over the years. While a skillful hunter had not killed it, the animal deserved a better fate than rotting in the ditch or being loaded onto a rendering truck, they thought. It should be preserved, mounted and remembered. "It is not their fault they were hit by a car or truck. They shouldn't go unnoticed. They shouldn't disappear into thin air because there is no place to register them," Sanders said. The roadkill bear will have its place in the den and on the Web. The bear is at the taxidermist. The Web site was launched three weeks ago. The Road Kill Record Book Club offers memberships, record-book listings, a gallery and merchandise. It was begun by Sanders and his friend, who since has opted out after taking some guff for the site. "Roadkill," Sanders said, "is a touchy subject." Indeed, some laugh, others scoff, at the idea of what is believed to be the only such Web site registry. "I thought I had seen everything, but I hadn't until now," said Lou Cornicelli, big-game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "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," Cornicelli said. "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, Eau Claire-based regional DNR warden, said people must notify the DNR of any roadkill, which can be salvaged for meat if fresh. "It's illegal to pick up roadkill in Wisconsin without authorization," he said. The claiming fee starts at $10 and depends on species and condition. A North Dakota native, Sanders has hunted for 55 years. The Web site is true to his actions and deeds as an outdoorsman and conservationist, he said. Among his trophies is a "perfectly formed" ruffed grouse. It was the best specimen he ever had seen and deserved to be preserved, Sanders said. The bird died after flying into a picture window. The Web site does not condone or encourage anyone to do anything as stupid or dangerous as trying to create roadkill. It is just the opposite, Sanders said, noting it will provide such information as peak danger seasons for vehicle-deer collisions and tips on whom to report road kill to. "The Web site is written in a serious vein, because it is a touchy subject," said Sanders, who is a marketing consultant for hunting-related clients. Kevin Harter can be reached at 651-228-2149. St Paul Pioneer Press. Now why didnt you think of this Chris?