If You Hit A Deer In Michigan, Can You Legally Keep It?
It's that time of the year again.
Honestly, I feel like I'm jinxing myself talking about it so much.
Fall is deer dodging season in Michigan. A game no one likes to play. When someone gets tagged, everybody loses.
The deer. Your car. The body shops might come out on top because of all the repairs.
We joke and kid about this but please stay safe and alert because some deer/car accidents do result in serious injuries and/or death.
So you've hit Bambi. Now what? Can you legally claim him and take him home?
Yes and no.
First off if there is a car-deer collision, you should report it to the police. That way you can document things, get that report to the insurance company, and eventually make your way to the body shop for repairs.
If your car isn't totaled.
If your car isn't totaled and you can drive it away.
But before you can strap the deer to what's left of your hood or roof, let's make sure of a couple of things.
- You called the cops and documented things.
- The deer is officially no longer with us.
If it's still alive, YOU can't kill it. The cops have got to do that.
Sometimes, the deer is still alive but badly injured when the authorities make it to the scene. Michigan State Police advise motorists not to try to take the matter into their own hands.
The public needs to know they don’t have the authority to shoot a deer. Only authorities can take care of an injured animal. (Mlive)
Then there's the issue of the Michigan Roadkill Salvage Permit.
DNR requires you to get one of these to claim wildlife killed in a vehicular collision.
If you hit a deer, you can actually apply for the salvage permit online.
Peep the list of animals you CAN NOT use this permit for.
The permit cannot be used to possess badger, bobcat, brant, coot, crow, bear cub, duck, elk, fisher, Florida gallinule, goose, marten, moose, otter, snipe, sora rail, spotted fawn deer, Virginia rail, wild turkey, wolf, or woodcock. (DNR)
Also of note, this can't be used if you INTENTIONALLY HIT AND KILLED an animal, not on the forbidden list.
You also have the first right of refusal on the animal you hit. Because if you leave it there, someone else may come along and then take it for salvage.
Plain and simple if you hit a deer, call a cop to report it and claim it before you drive off with it.
Think about how it's going to look explaining that to DNR. I mean sure, you've got a messed-up vehicle and a dead deer on your car because you hit him.
But you're still gonna need a permit for that.
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