Michigan highways and roadways make for a scenic drive. Sometimes nature has different intentions and wild animals will dart out into our path. If you hit wildlife on  Michigan's roads, can you take it home?

I've accidentally run over a few squirrels and birds in my driving career but never thought about taking the roadkill home. I have zero use for it and it stinks.

This time of year, be on the lookout for deer and other wildlife, they're on the move and Michigan offers some tips.


What's The Deer Population Like In Michigan

Deer love Michigan. Nearly 2 million deer make up Michigan’s deer herd. Deer are most active from April through June and from October through December. During those months, most vehicle-deer crashes take place, although such crashes are a year-round problem.

Here Are The Stats From 2022

When the deer are on the move be extra alert. Especially in the morning and evening hours.

More than 58,000 vehicle-deer crashes occurred across Michigan in rural, suburban, and city settings. About 80 percent of those crashes were on two-lane roads. Because deer are most active at dawn and dusk, it is not surprising that most traffic crashes involving deer happen from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

David De Lossy

You Hit A Deer, It's Roadkill, What You Should Do According to Michigan?

Common sense says "check to see if everyone is ok". Michigan says:

  • Motorists
    Turn on your emergency flashers, stay buckled up, and move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road if you can. If you cannot drive your vehicle and it is still in the line of traffic, carefully exit the vehicle, and stand at the side of the road out of the way of oncoming traffic.
  • Motorcyclists
    If you can, remove your bike from the road. Get yourself to a safe place away from the road and oncoming traffic.
  • Motorists and Motorcyclists
    Call the police to report the vehicle-deer crash. Be prepared to tell them:
    *Your location.
    *If there are any injuries to you and/or your passengers.
    *If other vehicles have also been involved.
    *If you think the deer is alive or dead and if it is blocking the road.
    *Stay away from the deer. A wounded, frightened deer could be dangerous.
    *After help arrives and if possible, document the incident, damage, and injuries in photographs.
    *Do not assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for damage. Be prepared to call for a tow truck.
    *Call your insurance company to report the vehicle-deer crash. You may need a police report number to start your claim.

Can I Keep The Deer That I Hit or Any Roadkill in Michigan?

You can keep it, but you have to do it the right way per Michigan:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires a person to obtain a free salvage permit to possess wildlife killed in vehicular collisions.

Michigan also says:

The driver of the vehicle has first choice to take possession of the game. If the driver leaves it, another individual make take it for salvage.This permit does not apply to an individual who uses a motor vehicle to kill or injure game intentionally.

Get you application for Michigan's Free Salvage Permit.

Good luck this season. Travel safely and enjoy the ride.

Michigan Deer Season: Car v Deer, Which Kill More in Your County?

Between hunters and car-deer collisions, which one is responsible for thinning the herd more in your Michigan county? Using the Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer license sales from all seasons and crash data from MichiganTrafficCrashFacts.org, let's take a county-by-county look as we count down to the one with the most deer-involved crashes and compare that to the amount killed by hunters.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow