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What To Do If You Hit A Deer

Here in Wisconsin, it is not unusual at night to see deer. Further, it is quite frightening if you are driving a vehicle and suddenly from the side of the road, a deer darts out causing you to slam on your brakes or swerve to get out of the way. What happens if you hit a deer? Are you obligated to call the police? What about the DNR (Department of Natural Resources).

According to the DNR, any person may claim a deer, bear or turkey that has been accidentally killed by a motor vehicle. The driver of a vehicle that collides with and kills a deer, bear or turkey, has first priority to the carcass. If the driver does not want the carcass, any other person who arrives at the scene may request possession of the carcass. You should contact the DNR vehicle hotline at 1 608 267 7691 prior to possessing or removing the deer from the scene. If you plan to remove the deer, should should definitely contact both the DNR and the local law enforcement. Law enforcement officers carry proper deer tags so the pertinent information can be filled out and the deer can be properly processed.

According to the Sheriff’s Department in Dane County, if a driver hits a deer, they should pull over and call 911. Reporting the accident is important, even if no one is injured and the property damage to the vehicle is modest.  It will also help document any insurance claims involving the mishap. Obviously, if there is significant property damage or the driver or the occupants of the car are injured, it is important to dial 911 and ask for emergency medical assistance. Wait for the police or sheriff to arrive before doing anything further, including touching or making an attempt to move the wounded deer out of the roadway.

The majority of deer collisions, according to the DNR, occur between October and November, when deer are most active during the breeding phase. There are also numerous report of accidents involving deer during the months of  May and June during spring fawning, when yearling deer are seeking out new home ranges.

Is there anything you can do to avoid hitting a deer? First off, when night driving, slow down, particularly in rural areas. Deer have a tendency to change direction very quickly, so it is very important to keep your open open and on the road at all times. Deer can change direction and dart back and forth across the road. If you are one of the unlucky ones and no matter what you do, you can’t avoid hitting a deer, don’t panic. Call local law enforcement to let them deal with the issue, and when you are able to do so, notify your insurance carrier of the accident so your vehicle can be properly repaired following the accident. If you plan on taking the deer, you must inform the DNR and local law enforcement. Don’t attempt to remove the deer on your own. Dial 1 608-267-7601!!!!!

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