Can You Keep Your Roadkill Under Michigan Law? | Scott Goodwin Law

Can You Keep Your Roadkill Under Michigan Law?

by / Tuesday, 03 December 2013 / Published in Accident News, Legal News, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Tips
Deer crossing two lane highway in front cars

If you’re driving along and hit a deer, then why shouldn’t you be able to take it? It’s likely caused injury to your car, and unfortunately it would be hard to collect a judgment against a deer for a Michigan negligence claim. But is it legal to do this under Michigan law?

In September 2014, an amendment to 1994 PA 451, entitled “Natural resources and environmental protection act” (MCL 324.101 to 324.90106), which added section 40115, went into effect. The new bill enables you to hit an animal and take it home with you before getting a salvage tag. You are still required to get a salvage tag, but you could take the animal before having to do so.

Michigan Roadkill Law


Sec. 40115. (1) An individual may possess game, other than a bird, that is either killed by, or injured and euthanized following, a collision with a motor vehicle. The driver of the motor vehicle has first priority to take possession of the game.

(2) An individual in possession of game under subsection (1) shall prepare a written record with all of the following information: (a) The date when the individual took possession of the game. (b) The location where the individual took possession of the game. (c) Whether the individual has requested a salvage tag under subsection (5). (d) The individual’s full name, including middle initial, date of birth, mailing address, and telephone number.

(3) An individual shall maintain a record prepared under subsection (2) until the individual obtains a salvage tag under subsection (5) or until the game and its parts are consumed, are composted, or are no longer possessed by any person. The record shall be kept at the location where the game or its parts are kept. The individual shall exhibit the record upon request of a law enforcement officer.

(4) An individual in possession of the game under subsection (1) shall not deliver the game to a business for the purpose of taxidermy or tanning unless a salvage tag issued under subsection (5) is securely attached to the game. The person in possession of the game shall ensure that the salvage tag remains attached to the game as long as the game remains in an unprocessed state or in possession of a business for the purpose of taxidermy or tanning.

(5) The department shall promptly issue a salvage tag for the purposes of subsection (4) if requested by an individual in possession of game under subsection (1). The department shall accept requests for salvage tags by electronic mail, mail, telephone, or via the department’s website.

So fire up your grill and take a ride in your car. Under Michigan’s roadkill law, you’re eligible to take what you hit and use it for things like cooking, taxidermy, and trapping. Just remember to document it and get a salvage tag later.

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