Before you judge, you should know it's not entirely uncommon that someone would toss roadkill in their car on their way home.

It wasn't uncommon at least for one of my extended family members who would bring home so much deer he would run out of room in his freezer and need to store it elsewhere, including the chest freezer my parents kept near our kitchen.

My mom used to tell the story of how she came downstairs one morning to find this particular family member sawing away at a deer leg on our orange carpeted kitchen floor because he needed a "roast."

There was so much deer, I'm pretty sure he wasn't hunting them. If it was roadkill, it would have been perfectly legal in my home state.

Young Deer walks across highway on a blind curve
Getty Images/iStockphoto

States That Allow You To Take Home Roadkill

Every state except one allows their residents to take home dead animals they find while out on the road. Before considering this, you should know each state has specific rules regarding which critters you can and cannot throw in your trunk.

I currently live in Illinois where the Department of Natural Resources does not have a limit on the amount of dead deer you take home. They do, however, have guidelines on whether the deer can be claimed:

  • If you hit the deer with your car in Illinois, the deer is now yours
  • If you find a deer and you didn't hit it with your car, you have 24 hours to file a Road Kill Deer Claim Report
  • Only Illinois residents can claim roadkill deer found in the state (sorry, Wisconsin)

These rules only apply to deer. Illinois, like several other states, has different rules depending on the animal. I'd suggest reviewing this list of states' roadkill laws before running out to grab dinner.

Deer run over an empty highway
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Only State Where It Is Illegal To Take Home Roadkill

You can grab a free meal off the road in every state except for one.

No, it's not California where they now have the Kill It and Grill It Law.

READ MORE: Oklahoma Cow Born With Heart On Its Head Goes Viral

Texas is the only state where it is illegal to scoop up roadkill and toss it in your vehicle. Don't event think about taking home a deer that you hit with your car in Texas.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, you should call the local game warden dispatcher if a deer is injured. If the deer is dead, you are only allowed to move it off the road.

"If you are absolutely sure the deer is dead, you may move it off the roadway and leave it there," the department says.

Here is how Texas and the other 49 states rank when it comes to how likely you are to crash into a wild animal with your vehicle.

LOOK: Here are the states where you are most likely to hit an animal

Hitting an animal while driving is a frightening experience, and this list ranks all 50 states in order of the likelihood of such incidents happening, in addition to providing tips on how to avoid them.

Gallery Credit: Dom DiFurio & Jacob Osborn

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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