If You Hit a Deer in Idaho is it Legal to Take the Antlers?
People have entire Pinterest boards of things you can make out of antlers. A vehicle crash with a deer is a dangerous way to get close to a pair of antlers, but should it happen to you…can you legally keep them in Idaho?
There’s a running joke in our office that we “work in Disneyland” because Bambi and his friends always come to visit. Before they were torn out, it wasn’t uncommon for them to walk up and start munching on the shrubbery in our parking lot. On other days, we held our breath as we watched the deer bravely cross Parkcenter and head toward Kristen Armstrong Municipal Park. Deer on the roadway near our office is common because of how close we are to the Greenbelt.
Unfortunately, they’re becoming more and more common on roadways in other parts of the Treasure Valley because developers are taking away their homes. More deer on the road means greater danger for the deer themselves and you, too.
According to the 2021 “Idaho Traffic Crashes” report from the Idaho Department of Transportation, there were more than 1,600 wild animal crashes in Idaho last year. One was fatal and 17 were suspected to have caused serious injuries. More than 1,400 of the wild animal crashes involved property damage like totaled cars or smashed-up grills, bumpers, mirrors, and windshields.
I Hit a Deer, Can I Keep the Meat?
In 2012, Idaho approved a wildlife collision rule allowing people who accidentally hit certain animals to salvage them for meat. Deer are among the animals that you can legally salvage and take home with you if you hit one. If you come across a deer that was killed in a vehicle crash that you weren’t involved with, you’re also to salvage it.
However, you must report the salvage to Fish & Game within 24 hours and get a salvage permit within 72. They have a link set up where you can do both of those things online and print out your free permit at home.
It’s a unique and unorthodox way to enjoy venison. Fish and Game reminds you that the meat does NOT meet Idaho FDA requirements. You’re eating that roadkill meat at your own risk.
I Don't Want the Meat! Can I Take Just the Antlers?
After seeing D&B Supply’s incredibly unique antler tree sell for $12,000 at the Canyon County Festival of Trees, we can’t blame you. There are some cool projects you can make with antlers.
Yes, under this law you are permitted to harvest just the antlers if you’d like. According to the Spokesman-Review, that’s something that hunters are not allowed to do. Under Idaho’s hunting laws, hunters are required to remove and care for the edible meat of a deer.
Fun fact? If you come across a deer that died of natural causes like being attacked by a predator or perishing due to winter weather, you can take their antlers home without a permit.