Cleanin’ Up Roadkill on the Roadways

by Lia Biondo, MUCC Policy Intern
A proposed Wildlife Conservation Order, driven by changes to state law, would give Michigan residents an easier option to possess deer
Photo: Brian Allen/Corbis Photo: Brian Allen/Corbis
and certain other wild game species that were killed during a collision with a motor vehicle. Prior to the enactment of Public Act 255 of 2014, the regulations and permitting requirements for the taking of salvaged wildlife remains were both unclear and time consuming for the motorist and the DNR or local law enforcement. The newly enacted law is designed to provide clarity and speed up the permitting process. Here’s what you need to know.
How is the law different now?
Prior to this year’s legislation, motorists with a valid hunting license could possess certain game killed during a collision with a vehicle by obtaining a salvage tag from local law enforcement or DNR officials. This required officers to personally inspect the collision and determine if a salvage tag is warranted. This procedure took time away from properly preparing the carcass either for transportation or consumption.
Under the new law, Michigan legislators have decided that motorists may keep certain salvaged wildlife remains by making either a phone call or obtaining a salvage tag. In all instances, a written record of where and when the animal was harvested is required of the driver. This new process streamlines the entire ordeal, making the possession of salvaged wildlife remains more convenient and worthwhile for motorists.
What species am I allowed to keep?
The new procedures were designed to be applied toward bear or deer, as well as other small game or furbearing animals (coyote, beaver, raccoon, squirrels, woodchucks, rabbits, and others) not mentioned below.
What species am I not allowed to keep?
The new regulations do not apply to:
  • Certain big game: cub bear, elk, moose, spotted fawn deer, wild turkey, wolf
  • Certain small game and furbearing animals: badger, bobcat, fisher, marten, otter
  • Waterfowl and migratory birds:  brant, coot, crow, duck, Florida gallinule, goose, snipe, sora rail, Virginia rail, or woodcock.
What do I do immediately following the collision if I intend to keep the wildlife remains?
  • Bear (excluding cub bear): Call your local law enforcement agency or the Department of Natural Resources and inform them of your intent to possess the salvaged animal remains. When they arrive to investigate the collision, they will be able to issue you a free permit for your animal that must stay with the remains until the animal and its parts are consumed, composted or no longer possessed by any individual.
  • Deer: You now have three options:
    • obtain a free salvage tag from the DNR or local law enforcement as described above,
    • notify the Department of Natural Resources or a local law enforcement agency by phone or website, or
    • report your intent to possess the remains when making the call to 9-1-1 (if the collision warrants an emergency call).
  • Certain small game and furbearing animals (not excluded above): You must also prepare a written record with the following information – date, time and location where the animal was obtained, your name, address, date of birth and driver’s license number, the type of game, and what you intend to use it for.
DNR logoDo I need to obtain a salvage tag?
Yes, for bear you need to obtain a free salvage tag from the DNR. For deer, it is no longer necessary to obtain a salvage tag if you report it as described above and maintain a written record.
Who has first priority over the salvaged animal remains?
The driver of the vehicle has first priority to keep the animal remains. If the driver is not interested, any witnesses, bystanders or officials can lay claim to the remains.
Where can I find out more?
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will be discussing this issue and many others at their monthly meeting on October 9, 2014 in Cadillac, Michigan. Public is welcome! You can find NRC meeting agendas, calendars, and more information by clicking HERE.

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