Ask a Trooper: How to stay safe and avoid deer collisions

Published 11:01 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Question: What is the procedure if I hit a deer with my vehicle, can I keep it?

Answer: The Minnesota State Patrol does issue permits for road-kill deer generally right at the time of the crash or soon after. Any Minnesota resident may claim a road-killed animal by contacting a law enforcement officer. An authorization permit can be issued, allowing the individual to lawfully possess the animal. For your specific request, I would advise you to contact the Department of Natural Resources. You can contact the conservation officer in the area you are closest to or where you’d want to pick up the road kill. They should be able to provide more information on the permits and this process. The following link will let you find officers statewide:

Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson

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Motorist safety tips to avoid deer crashes

• Drive at safe speeds and always be buckled up.

• Be especially cautious from 6 to 9 p.m., when deer are most active.

• Use high beams as much as possible at night, especially in deer-active areas.

• Motorists: Don’t swerve to avoid a deer. Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.

• Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.

• Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population — such as areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forest land; and whenever in forested areas between dusk and dawn.

• Deer do unpredictable things — they stop in the middle of the road when crossing; cross and quickly re-cross back; and move toward an approaching vehicle. Blow horn to urge deer to leave the road.

• If a deer is struck but not killed by a vehicle, keep a distance as deer may recover and move on. If a deer does not move on, or poses a public safety risk, report the incident to a DNR conservation officer or other local law enforcement agency.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.