Motorists who kill deer along Massachusetts' roads may keep the meat or donate it to their favorite charity under new state wildlife regulations.

"It seems a shame to see it just wasted," Steve Williams, a wildlife biologist in charge of the state's deer management program, said Monday before the state Division of Wildlife and Fisheries board approved the change."A deer can do thousands of dollars of damage to a car and the meat can provide some compensation," he said.

Williams said that 600 to 700 deer are reported killed on the state's highways annually, but officials suspect the toll is three times higher.

"Some go off into the woods to die and some just end up in the trunk of the car," said Walter Bickford, commissioner of fisheries and wildlife.

Under the new rule, the driver or a passenger could keep the venison if they are residents of Massachusetts.