Do You Need A Salvage Permit For Deer Skull/Antlers?

tag deerEvery winter and spring shed hunters find and pick up big “deadheads,” and many of them can’t wait to post images of their finds on Facebook or Instagram.

Let me remind you that if you find any size skull with antlers attached in the woods you might—actually you probably– need to obtain a salvage permit (or at least verbal permission) from the state to possess and transport that skull/antlers. You do not need a permit to pick up and possess shed antlers (no skull).

In most states a deadhead—the skull and rack from a buck that died of disease, was hit by a car, or was lost by a bowhunter in the fall—is treated like a roadkill buck, and subject to the same state laws, which in most cases means you need to call a conservation officer or sheriff and get a salvage tag (or official permission) before you move and take possession of the antlers.

States where I can confirm you need a salvage permit, which is usually free and available online, for a deer skull include: Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Arkansas, Montana, Washington, Michigan, Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, and there are certainly many more.

Check your state regulations before you go shed hunting.

3 thoughts on “Do You Need A Salvage Permit For Deer Skull/Antlers?

  1. Pa. charges you for that permit same as roadkill, apparently they need the $$ so bad for their primo pension and health care plans for employees. Or to buy out another Commissioner they want to retire.

  2. CT you can take a dead head or shed antlers with no salvage tag as long as your not hunting… But if you hit a deer with motor vehicle you need a salvage tag/police report to take the deer…

    In Maine you can’t take a dead head unless you want to use your only deer tag during hunting season. You may pick up shed antlers no salvage tag…

    I think it’s a good rule for dead heads in certain states like Maine, might keep poaching down…

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