It's that time of year in New York State when deer are hanging out near roads and interstates in abundance. I don't know about you, but I despise driving at night because it's much harder to see deer creeping into my lane, potentially causing a dangerous crash. I know deer can be a risk during the day, but they are more likely to be out by the roads at night. As cute as Bambi might be, deer can be deadly to both themselves and humans. According to Car and Driver,

A new study published in Current Biology by researchers from the University of Washington found that the week after the annual shift back to standard time sees a 16 percent increase in deer-vehicle collisions each year. Without falling back out of daylight saving time, the U.S. would see 36,550 fewer of these collisions—including 33 human deaths and over 2000 human injuries—and save $1.2 billion in collision costs each year, the researchers estimated.

Deer made the list of the top 20 deadliest creatures in the world, landing at number 16.

Photo by Nicolas Lysandrou on Unsplash
Photo by Nicolas Lysandrou on Unsplash

Is It Legal To Keep And Eat Roadkill In New York State?

I personally don't eat venison, but I know there are a ton of people in New York who do. If you're one of them, and you happen to hit a deer with your car, can you keep it to eat the meat?

First, let's take a look at whether it's actually safe to consume a deer that was killed after a vehicle collision. According to Motor Biscuit,

Live Science says that generally, a deer killed in a traffic accident is just as safe to eat as a deer that was hunted, but there are still other factors to consider. Time is essential in taking deer meat. If you leave the deer sitting on the highway for too long, bacteria may start to grow.

California Approves Bill Allowing Salvaging Of Roadkill For Food
A dead deer lays on the side of the road on October 16, 2019 in Nicasio, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed senate bill 395 into law that will required the California Department of Fish and Wildlife develop a program that will allow a motorist who hits and kills a deer, elk, antelope or wild pig to take that animal home and use it for food. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

I always feel bad for the deceased deer I see on the side of the road. The poor things are just doing what nature tells them to do, then boom, they're roadkill.

While New York State doesn't have a law opposing taking roadkill to eat, you may need to get a permit (in theory). I mean, let's be honest, if you hit the deer in the middle of the night, you might be able to just take it with no issues. However, I would recommend following the rules. According to Tired Animals,

Big game, such as bear and deer may be taken with a tag written up by a Law Enforcement officer. This is usually done for someone that actually has the collision with the animal, but it could be provided to another individual if the driver from the accident doesn’t want the carcass.

***This article is not intended to provide any legal advice.

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