ELGIN, Ill. (STMW) – Illinois drivers involved in deer-car collisions will have an extra step to take this season if they want to keep their kill.

A new policy from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources requires drivers who want to turn the dead deer into jerky to report possession of the roadkill deer to the IDNR through the Internet or by phone.

According to the new policy, those wishing to keep their kill must report the possession within 24 hours using the new online IDNR Road Kill Deer Reporting Form, which can be found on the department’s website.

Possession may also be reported to the IDNR by calling (217) 782-6431 no later than 4:30 p.m. the next business day.

Drivers who are involved in a deer-related collision and do not wish the keep the animal are not required to report the accident to the IDNR, but anyone stumbling upon the dead deer at a later date must receive permission from the IDNR before moving or taking possession of the animal.

And area residents with a taste for venison should keep these numbers handy.

The LaSalle County sheriff’s office reported three vehicle-deer accidents that occurred on just one day last week. Deputies said no one was injured in the accidents, but a Somonauk woman did lose control of her vehicle, veering into a ditch and then a cornfield before her vehicle rolled over.

The accident occurred early in the morning on East 23rd Road, when a deer ran in front of the victim’s vehicle, police said.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to stay safe on the road,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. “If you see a deer nearby, alert your fellow motorists by gently tapping your breaks or flashing your headlights.”

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the number of people injured in deer/vehicle collisions has decreased over the past few years.

The number of people hurt in collisions with deer was 842 in 2007. That dropped to 752 in 2008 and 708 in 2009.

“The number of injuries … has dropped significantly in the last few years, and we want to see that trend continue,” said state Transportation Secretary Gary Hanning.

“Crashes involving deer are very difficult to avoid, which is why we strongly urge motorists to slow down, be alert and always wear a safety belt to help prevent injury or even death.”

Roadkill deer may only be claimed by those individuals who are residents of Illinois, are not delinquent in child support payments and do not have their wildlife privileges suspended in any state.

— Elgin Courier News, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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