Do you ever feel sad for the dead deer you see on the side of the road? I don't know why but I always feel bad for them. I'm not against hunting deer hunting by any means but there's something about them being blasted by someone going 70 mph down interstate 380 that hits me in a soft spot.

I would imagine no one really wants to hit a deer with their car. It can cause a ton of damage to your vehicle and cost you a lot of money in repairs but did you know, in the state of Iowa, there is a legal way for you to harvest a deer you or someone else hit while driving a car?

Unsplash - Laura College
Unsplash - Laura College

How To Legally Bring Home Roadkill Deer

Before you go driving down the road looking for dead deer on the side, it's important to remember you can't just willy-nilly grab any dead deer you find. You can't actually take any part of a deer home on the side of the road until you complete this process. You need to apply for a salvage tag.

According to Iowa Gov Natural Resource Commissions Chapter 80, a salvage,

is authorizing the possession of accidentally killed game for the purpose of human consumption or the feeding of domestic animals. Any benefits derived from the possession of legally salvaged game (such as sale of hides, plumage, or antlers) is a secondary benefit only.

I was a bit confused about how you go about getting a salvage tag so I decided to go straight to an Iowa DNR source. I spoke with Matt who works for the Iowa DNR and he shared with me, "any law enforcement agency can issue a salvage tag, they can be a conservation officer, Iowa state trooper, or sheriff. All of these entities can help in the process of getting a salvage tag."  Matt did also mention that "the process to do this is free."

Whoever hit the deer does have first priority to request a salvage tag but if that person does not want the animal, it's anyone's game.

I hope you never hit a deer with your car. For your sake and the deer's but if you do, you could essentially take it home and eat it if you wish. I wonder if roadkill deers have an aluminum car hood taste to them?

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