Unfortunately, drivers hit deer on the road all the time.  According to State Farm, West Virginia is the top state for deer collisions, where drivers have a 1 in 46 chance of hitting a deer. 

It is not uncommon for some people in the area to want to take it home for food. According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, there are a few steps people need to follow before turning that deer into dinner. 

You can’t just take it home without having it checked in,” said Lt. Dennis Faezell with the DNR said.

Feazell said to immediately pull over and put your hazards on if you hit a deer. 

“The first thing you should do is contact your local 911 center and report the incident,” Feazell said. “If you want to keep the deer, you’ll have to get in touch with us or you can get in touch with us at our office and we have to issue you a non-game tag for it.”

It is illegal to take the carcass home without this permit. If you want to take the deer home, you must report the accident to authorities, and you must attach the permit or tag to the carcass.

Feazell said if the accident occurs outside of business hours, you can still notify the DNR office. 

“We’ll get the message, we’ll call you the next day and follow up,” Feazell said.

According to the DNR, you should wait until police arrive before trying to move the deer yourself. The permit covers most official game animals with one exception. 

“You can’t pick up a baby bear,” Feazell said. “It’s illegal to possess so just call our office and report it and leave it right where it’s at.”

Feazell said in West Virginia, if you take home an official game animal without a tag, you will be found in illegal possession of wild life. Claiming a carcass without the permit could get you up to a year in jail and heavy fines.