If You Hit A Deer In Iowa, Can You Keep The Antlers?
We're getting close to whitetail season and there are a few things deer enthusiasts should know.
This week, hunting licenses go on sale for the whitetail deer hunting season, which is just a few months away. Hunters everywhere will be trying to find that 10-point buck to put on the wall and a bunch of venison meat to put in the freezer. Bucks have been growing their antlers all summer after shedding their velvet in the spring so if you wanted a good buck, we're getting close to the time of the year for you to get it.
But. What if?
Deer are really active in the fall. I've seen several fawns and doe around lately. Deer will absolutely cross roads and what can you do if you accidentally hit one with your car? Can you keep the antlers if it's a buck?
Short answer: yes. But it's an intricate process you have to follow. You can't donate the meat to Iowa DNR's Help Us Stop Hunger program, since they don't accept road-killed deer. But what you can (and have) to do is get a salvage tag. The state defines you keeping the road-killed deer (or any animal) as 'salvage'.
Whether Or Not You Want It, Call The Police
Even if you don't want to keep the deer, you need to call the police to help you since a police report could help with insurance claims. But if you want the animal, Iowa Natural Resource Commission Chapter 80 says that if you want to salvage the road kill for any reason, you have to contact authorities immediately to get a salvage tag.
Any person wanting to possess game accidentally killed by a motor vehicle shall immediately notify the nearest conservation officer, Iowa state trooper, or sheriff’s department and request a salvage tag prior to taking possession of said game.
Whoever hit the animal has the first right to get a salvage tag. It's not the ideal way to get a set of antlers on your wall or get your fix of venison this fall but if you had to harvest the animal, you could.