Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


What is the new game salvage rule?

The new rule allows people to legally salvage deer and elk carcasses in the state, except for any deer killed by a motor vehicle collision in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. Nearly 20 states have adopted similar rules.

The rule is codified in WAC 232-12-287 - Possession of dead wildlife. It states:

- An individual must obtain a free salvage permit within 24 hours of taking possession of a deer or elk killed in a motor vehicle collision.

- The entire carcass, including entrails, of the animal must be removed from the road right-of-way.

- Individuals cannot kill an injured deer or elk they find in order to get a salvage permit. Only a law enforcement officer or individuals or entities authorized by the department may euthanize an animal injured in a motor vehicle collision and that deer or elk may be taken for salvage.

- Big game licenses and tags cannot be used in lieu of a salvage permit for deer or elk killed in a motor vehicle collision.

- Any meat an individual deems unfit for human consumption or unusable animal parts must be disposed of pursuant to WAC 246-203-121.

- Individuals salvaging and consuming this meat do so at their own risk. The department makes no guarantee as to the fitness for consumption of deer or elk collected under a salvage permit (see
Wild Game Meat Food Safety).

- Only elk can be salvaged in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties.

- Possession of wildlife in violation of these rules is punishable under RCW 77.15.750.

Free, printable salvage permits can be obtained from the WDFW website at

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Last Updated
5th of October, 2016