Deer-vehicle collisions are a problem across the state, especially during the fall months of October, November and December during peak breeding season and hunting season. Deer are usually most active during the early morning and late evening hours, and in fair weather periods before storms. Pay close attention in areas where deer-crossing signs are posted; there is a reason the signs are posted. Most collisions occur on rural roads, but because deer easily adapt to urban areas, deer accidents frequently occur in cities as well. Slow down at night and, if possible, use your high-beam headlights. This will give you more time to react to any deer on the road or on the side of the road. If you see a deer, expect there are probably more. Deer accidents frequently occur after a car has slowed for one deer and then accelerated, failing to see the other deer. If you see a deer in the road, don’t slam on your brakes. Remain in your lane and sound your horn while braking in a controlled manner. Do not try to swerve around the deer. You could lose control and hit another vehicle or go off the road, which is potentially much worse than hitting the deer.
If you are involved in a deer-vehicle collision, park your car in a safe location and turn on your emergency warning lights. Call an ambulance if anyone is injured. Immediately notify law enforcement to document the accident and dispose of the injured deer. If there are no injuries, less than one-thousand dollars damage to your vehicle and the deer is completely off the roadway, you are not required to report the deer-vehicle accident. If a deer or antelope is killed by a motor vehicle, anyone who desires to possess the animal can do so with proper written authorization from a conservation officer. The Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office possess game permits (written authorization allowing possession of the animal) which can be issued at the scene of the accident.
Reference: SDCL 32-34-7, 41-1-5.7
Contact any of the following for further information –
Sgt. Sue Fox Lt. Corey Brubakken Lt. David Berkley
Rapid City Police Department Pennington County Sheriff’s Office South Dakota Highway Patrol
(605) 394-4130 (605) 394-2151 (605) 394-2286
South Dakota Codified Law
32-34-7. Duty to give immediate notice of accident to law enforcement officer--Violation as misdemeanor. The driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injuries or death to any person or property damage to an apparent extent of one thousand dollars or more to any one person's property or two thousand dollars per accident shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the nearest available law enforcement officer who has jurisdiction. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
41-1-5.7. Disposition of deer and antelope killed by motor vehicle. If any deer or antelope is killed by a motor vehicle on a public highway, any person who desires to possess that animal shall notify a conservation officer, as defined by § 41-15-10, prior to taking possession of the animal. The conservation officer may give a dated and written authorization allowing possession of the animal. The conservation officer may give verbal authorization to take immediate possession of the animal prior to receipt of the written authorization. The written authorization allows the possession and disposal of the animal. The written authorization shall remain with the carcass while in processing or storage. No part of an animal so obtained may be sold, bartered or traded. There is no fee for the issuance of such authorization.