If You Hit a Deer in Wyoming, Can You Legally Take the Antlers?
So apparently this is a famous question being asked. I mean, I got curious myself. If I do accidentally hit a deer while driving down to Fort Collins on 287, can I take the antlers? I have a friend who loves them, so it would be a great gift, no?
I looked up the answers for us!
According to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the head or skull with antlers and horns attached to a big game animal cannot be removed from road kills or animals found dead in the field without prior approval from a Wyoming Game and Fish Department law enforcement officer.
So technically, you can, but with permission.
However, if you pick up and transport antlers or horns attached to a head or skull plate of a big game animal from the backcountry, you may do so but must contact a Game and Fish enforcement officer at their earliest opportunity to get approval to transport such items.
If approval is granted, the purchase of a Wyoming Interstate Game Tag is required for any antlers or horns attached to a head or skull plate of a big game animal.
Wardens may require substantial proof that the big game animal died of natural causes or was killed by a vehicle collision, and if in question or there are other circumstances, possession of horns or antlers may not be granted.
What to do when you have been granted permission?
According to Chapter 70, Section 4 of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department's Rules & Regulations, once given the authorization to possess road-killed wildlife:
- Only take possession of road-killed wildlife from a public road or highway from sunrise until sunset.
- Park the collection vehicle at least two feet to the right of the roadway’s solid white line and outside of the travel lane, or in the case of a paved or gravel road with no white line present, at least two feet off the paved or gravel road surface, so as not to impede traffic while collecting road-killed wildlife.
- Activate the emergency flashers on the collection vehicle during the entire time the collection vehicle is parked along a roadway. Collection vehicle emergency flashers shall be clearly visible from the front and rear of the vehicle.
- Immediately remove the entire road-killed wildlife during the authorized time period, including both edible and inedible portions, from the public road or highway. Road-killed wildlife shall not be field dressed within any public road or highway right-of-way.
- Upon request, present the road-killed wildlife for inspection to a Department representative to verify the road-killed wildlife in possession meets the requirements of this regulation.
Please note that nothing in this section allows a person to trespass onto private property to retrieve road-killed wildlife without obtaining prior approval from the private landowner or an agent of the landowner.
So, NO TRESPASSING.
But - there are exemptions to where you can possess road-killed wildlife.
As stated in Section 5, to address public safety, if you are on any of these public roads or highways, you are not allowed to apply and receive authorization to possess road-killed wildlife.
- Interstate Highway 25
- Interstate Highway 80
- Interstate Highway 90
- Any segment of a public road or highway designated as an active construction or maintenance zone
- Any segment of a public road or highway within the exterior boundary of lands administered by the National Park Service.
As with any Game and Fish law, you can get additional clarification, information, or questions answered by contacting your local game warden or Game and Fish office.
Read more on the roadkill regulations HERE.