Reporting car-deer crashes
Question: “Driving around recently I noticed at least 10 dead deer on the side of the highway that were not there a couple of days. What are the requirements when someone hits a deer? Is it legal to take the deer home if I hit the deer? Can I take the deer home if I find it on the side of the road from some else’s crash?”
Many people do not realize you should report a car-deer accident as soon as possible after the accident takes place.
Preferably, a call to your local emergency dispatch center would be best. If the vehicle is disabled, your emergency dispatcher will be able to get an officer to you to help you with the report. If your vehicle is drivable, you should still contact the emergency dispatcher immediately and report the accident so they can place it on the log.
The driver must then contact local law enforcement in person with the damaged vehicle the same day or on the next business day to make a formal accident complaint for insurance purposes. Law enforcement is not able to take a report over the phone and must see the damaged vehicle prior to any repairs being made.
As for the deer, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to keep the deer. The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994 covers those requirements in MCL 324.40115, Possession of Certain Game Killed in Collision with Motor Vehicle.
Under Section 1, “An individual in possession of deer under subsection (1) shall do 1 of the following: (a) Obtain a salvage tag under subsection (8); (b) Promptly notify the department or a local law enforcement agency of his or her intent to maintain possession of the game under subsection (1) by telephone or on the department’s website.; (c) If the individual is the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the collision and as a result of that collision is calling 9-1-1 to report the collision, the individual must state his or her intent to maintain possession of the game under subsection (1).
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires a person to obtain a free salvage permit to possess deer killed in vehicular collisions. The driver of the vehicle has first choice to take possession of the game. If the driver leaves it, another individual may take the deer for salvage. The permit does not apply to an individual who uses a motor vehicle to kill or injure game intentionally.
If an officer is unavailable to issue a salvage permit for the deer in person, you must apply for a permit online. Go to michigan.gov/dnr, search, “Roadkill Salvage Permit,” complete the form with the requested information, and print it out.
Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the Michigan State-Police Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Ask A Trooper, MSP-Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave., Alpena, Michigan, 49707.