During his years of commuting to jobs at hospitals and other medical facilities as far away as Marlinton, Eberbaugh said, he has had fatal encounters with more than 30 deer, including eight in a single year, many of which ended up in his freezer.
More than 200,000 of his poetic, tongue-in-cheek, self-produced recipe books for serving up fender-harvested foods have been sold over the years and are now out of print. He said plans are in the works for a third book, with the working title "Road Kill Cooking, Government Style: We've Already Cooked Your Goose."
Eberbaugh's first book was the inspiration for Marlinton's annual Roadkill Cook-Off, which began in 1991 with Eberbaugh serving as its first and only judge. He returned to the Pocahontas County town last month to judge the competition again. Over the years, the Roadkill Cook-Off, which helps draw more than 10,000 visitors to Marlinton each fall, has been covered by the Food Channel and the Travel Channel, and was featured on Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods" program after Zimmern served as a judge in 2010. Among media outlets covering this year's cook-off were Yahoo.com, whose video crew interviewed Eberbaugh, and the Times of London.
Eberbaugh said he plans to respond to calls to pick up vehicular venison only if the deer has been freshly killed, and is located in the Wirt, Roane, Wood, Jackson and Calhoun county areas. "If the deer is really torn up bad, or if you didn't kill it or just see it get killed," he said. "we don't want it."
If road-kill-hotline calls come in when he is at work, Eberbaugh said his son might be available to pick up the road kill. "We won't be able to get to all the deer that could be used in this program," he said, "but we can get to a lot of them."
Eberbaugh said he doubts his roadside recycling program would violate any health laws since, in West Virginia, "there's basically no regulation in deer processing. And I don't think there's any law against giving away ground meat. But if I'm wrong, I guess I'll find out soon enough. I'd like to get this hotline up and running and see where it goes. The idea is just to give some good meat to people who want it."
Eberbaugh encourages those interested in his road-kill plan to contact him at wvroadk...@yahoo.com or at 304-275-1071.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.