After some recent events at the King house, I became curious about the legalities and responsibilities surrounding accidental wildlife deaths in Maine.

In regards to road kill, specifically, Maine residents can be permitted to keep the carcasses of wild animals they unintentionally collide with on the state's roads. As laid out by the Maine Legislature on, §12403, clarifies the rights and responsibilities of folks involved in accidental collisions with wildlife.

Under §12403, the State of Maine is not liable for any claims for damages to a motor vehicle caused by a wild animal or wild bird. However, if an operator or owner of a motor vehicle is involved in an accidental collision with a deer, moose, bear, or wild turkey, certain procedures must be followed.

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Firstly, the individual must promptly report the accident to a law enforcement officer by the quickest means available. This requirement aims to ensure that authorities are aware of the incident and can investigate accordingly.

Once the accident is reported, an officer will conduct an investigation. If the officer determines that the motor vehicle has sustained apparent damage as a result of the collision, they will provide the person involved with a certificate. This certificate entitles the individual to take the entire carcass and remove it from the collision scene.

Importantly, those who are entitled to ownership of a deer, moose, or bear carcass under the aforementioned circumstances must take possession of the entire carcass. You can’t pick and choose. It’s either all or nothing.

Failure to report an accident as per the necessary procedures or incomplete removal of the full carcass, both of which violate the regulations, can lead to penalties. A civil fine ranging from $100 to $500 may be issued for violations of these provisions.

Additionally, if someone has previously undergone arbitration for committing three or more civil violations within the past five years under this section, the failure to report an accident or incomplete removal of a carcass can escalate to a Class E crime.

It’s worth noting that this law specifically applies to accidental collisions involving deer, moose, bear, or wild turkey. Other species of animals are subject to different regulations, and motorists are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the applicable laws to ensure compliance.

Our Pine Tree State’s legislation recognizes that accidental collisions with wildlife can occur and that’s why they’ve provided this framework to manage such situations. By allowing motorists to claim ownership of their “kill,” the law enables the utilization of the animal's resources while simultaneously promoting prompt reporting and responsible removal from the accident scene.

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