Drivers need to be watchful for deer and other animals along Plumas County’s scenic roadways. The CHP encourages drivers to be watchful for them even within communities. Photo submitted

What to do if you hit a deer

They can be seen peacefully grazing along the roadside one moment and in the next, bounding in front of a speeding car or truck.

Many Plumas County residents — those who should know to be alert for deer along or in the roadways — have a story or two about hitting or narrowly missing an animal.

With nicer weather and more people taking to the highways, the Quincy Area California Highway Patrol reminds motorists to watch for deer, bears and all wildlife along Plumas County roads and highways.

“If no one gets hurt, that is if no human gets injured, it’s up to the discretion of the driver whether to notify the CHP,” said CHP Public Information Officer Eric Logan. “I’m not going to tell anyone to pull it (deer) out of the road,” he added, but it is a good idea to report it to the CHP immediately so an officer can remove the dead animal so another motorist doesn’t hit it.

If it’s still alive and injured, Logan asked drivers to call the CHP immediately so the animal can be put down. “We don’t want it to suffer,” he said.

A bear usually doesn’t just leap onto the roadway, but if a driver hits one it generally causes a lot more damage, Logan said.


The non-emergency number for the CHP throughout the area is 252-1900, he said.

If there is a human injured in the collision, Logan said the driver or another party must contact the CHP and report it immediately. Again, the individual can call the number already noted.

If the driver happens to hit a dog or livestock, it’s an entirely different matter. They’re considered property, according to Logan.

The CHP should be contacted right away so the potential owner could be sought and notified. If a driver doesn’t do this, the individual can be treated just as if it was a hit and run incident, Logan explained.

The section of the California Vehicle Code that covers this is 20002. An investigation might also be necessary, according to the CHP.

“The requirements are the same as if the property damage were caused by a fender bender and another vehicle were damaged,” according to the CHP’s state office. “There’s a duty and obligation to locate the animal’s owner. You’re required to do due diligence. If a dog with no collar is injured, contact law enforcement. They will respond and take appropriate action.”


6 thoughts on “What to do if you hit a deer

  • I have learned that deer whistles are pretty good to keep deer on the sides of the road. The 2 whistles stick on the front of the vehicle and make a sound that humans can’t hear when you go over 35 mph or so. They can be found at local auto parts stores. The ones I have can be removed when you wash the vehicle. Of course these don’t work 100% of the time but it helps.

    • Never heard of them. Great idea!

      • They often scare the deer right into your car as the deer are totally spooked when they hear them

  • Can people salvage the venison if they notify Fish & Game through PCSO or CHP?

  • We salvaged a Deer off of the highway years ago. All we had to do was notify the Fish and Game where we picked it up at and let them know so they come out and stamp the meet for us when we cut it. The rules might have changed. You might want to contact a Game Warden now to make sure.

  • I have a question for the CHP and the Animal Controls Officers…. If someone Accidentally hits someone’s dog on the road and they do contact you. Are you going to issue a citation to the Idiot the owned the dog for letting they dog out off of it’s leash to begin with? These are after all Leash Law Counties!!! The drivers are suffering the Trauma of having hurt or killed and animal because some IDIOT could not keep their animal on a leash or in their yard so it was running wild in the road. Now the drivers are paying for it emotionally if not financially on their vehicle. Shouldn’t the Pet Owners also be cited for their responsibility in this action as well, even if their animal perished in the accident. They are the cause of…

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