What Should I Do? I Hit A Large Animal.
If you live in Montana, you know that it’s not just chickens who try to cross the road. During certain times of the year big game such as elk, bison, deer, and moose, cross the road a lot. In fact, Montana is one of the top five states for animal-related crashes. If you do hit a deer or other large animal, following these steps may help you.
1) Move your vehicle to safety, turn on your hazard lights, and check to see if anyone is injured.
After colliding with an animal, the first step you need to take is to move your vehicle out of the roadway, so that you can take a deep breath, evaluate the damage, and check on your passengers to see if anyone is hurt. Just like a regular vehicle accident, you will have to report the incident, and you may need to wait for emergency personnel. If possible, make the situation as can for other cars. Move the shoulder and turn on your hazard lights.
2) Stay away from the wounded animal.
Do not attempt to help the animal that collided with your vehicle. Do not chase it into the wilderness if it runs away. Do not approach an animal that is down. Wounded animals become even more fierce and defensive when they are injured. A wounded animal could attack you causing serious injury. If the animal becomes a threat to your safety, stay inside the vehicle.
3) Call 911.
If you have hit an animal, follow the same procedure you would if you had hit another car. Always report the incident to the police. Someone needs to deal with the injured animal, see to any injuries you or your passengers may have, and determine if your vehicle is safe enough to be driven away from the scene or it you require a tow truck.
It may seem tempting to simply take the injured animal home and treat it like a hunted game, but striking an animal with your vehicle does grant you a tag. If you were to take the animal home, it would be an unauthorized taking of an animal, which is illegal in Montana and can result in an $8,000.00 fine. However, police on the scene of the accident can issue a salvage permit allowing you to take the animal home and use it for food.
Conversely, do not simply the scene of the accident abandoning the animal. This is considered a waist of game. It is illegal too. It can result in a fine or jail time. You are not obligated to take the carcass home with you. The authorities will see the game is used by someone else. If you kill or injure an animal, you must report it. In addition, without a police report, you will have a hard time getting your car insurance to cover repairs to your vehicle.