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Fall is the most likely time for motorists to hit deer; here's what you need to know

Fall is historically the time of year when Pennsylvania motorists encounter deer on the road as the days get colder and the days get shorter.

According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation data, 125 deer-related crashes were reported in Lancaster County in 2018. It was fourth in the region after Chester County with 254, York County with 184 and Berks County with 177 reports.

The Insurance Information Institute reported that Pennsylvania was third nationally — after West Virginia and Montana — for the most insurance claims from a collision with deer, elk, moose or caribou in 2018.


So what should motorists do if they strike a deer?

Do you have to report a deer you hit? 

No. Motorists in Pennsylvania are not mandated by law to report if they strike a deer with their vehicle or if they see a deer carcass along a roadway, said Dustin Stoner, information and information and education supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

What if you want to report it?

PennDOT is responsible to remove carcasses on state roads and the Game Commission is responsible for roads in municipalities.

However, if a carcass is hazardous to motorists, law enforcement should be alerted, said David Thompson, PennDOT spokesman. Authorities should also be contacted if there have been any injuries to the vehicle’s occupants, he said.

Where can you report it?

To report deer on state roads, call PennDOT at 1-800-349-7623.

To report deer on municipal roads in Lancaster County, call the Game Commission’s regional office at 610-926-3136.

What if you want to take the carcass home?

If you want to take the deer carcass home for consumption, you must report it to a Game Commission’s regional office within 24 hours to get a possession permit, Stoner said.

If you find a deer carcass along the road, you still need to report it to the Game Commission within 24 hours of picking it up.

A dispatcher will issue a free permit number over the phone. Only Pennsylvania residents can pick up roadside deer for consumption in the state.

What about chronic wasting disease?

Deer Accidents formatted for web

Reporting a deer carcass found in Lancaster County is especially important because a portion of the county is part of a 364-square-mile quarantine zone for chronic wasting disease, Stoner said. The quarantine also stretches into parts of Lebanon and Berks counties.

Before anyone moves a deer carcass from the quarantine zone, they should first call the regional Game Commission office and not wait to report it within 24 hours, he said.