Know What To Do Legally If You Hit A Deer With Your Car In Texas
Recently I had a couple of deer hunting buddies call and ask, "What are the laws around Abilene for reporting a car accident with a deer? Who do I need to call to report it? What do I need to do with the deer? Can I keep it?" Good questions. Here's what I know.
Can You Keep The Deer?
The simple answer is no. There is a statute in the state of Texas that says the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department can donate animals killed accidentally by vehicles to group homes, orphanages, and other places in need of food. But typically the state law says let it lay. If you want the deer, most of the time game wardens will let you have it.
If you would like to file an accident report, you can contact the local game warden in your particular county or contact the local sheriff's office. If you must document for car insurance purposes, Warden Lacy Loudermilk instructs: "Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and of the deer if possible, doing so in the safest manner where traffic won't be impeded. If the deer is in the middle of the road, in the safest way possible, move the deer away from all traffic and out of the road. If you cannot do it, contact the local game warden or sheriff's office immediately."
Is It Okay To Cut The Antlers Off a Dead Deer?
The answer to that is a big fat NO. Harvesting the antlers off a dead deer is against the law and punishable by fines and jail time. Don't touch the antlers.
With deer hunting season upon us, our West Texas deer are on the move. Especially at dawn and dusk - when deer come out to feed - there is a greater risk of having a car crash with a deer. To avoid damage to your vehicle or far worse injury, the Texas Parks and Wildlife experts offer tips to avoid a serious crash.
Game Warden Capt. Scott Haney offers this advice to drivers throughout Texas where white-tailed deer are roaming: "Maintain your course. If you hit the deer, you hit the deer, but the effects are going to be more severe if you try to swerve or completely slam on the brakes because of other factors that come into play, like hitting other cars, weather, losing control of the vehicle. My suggestion is to maintain your speed and direction, but sometimes it is just an unavoidable accident."
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.Gov
To learn more, go to the TPWD.gov website. Be safe out there, and know who to turn to and what to do.
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Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany