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Deer Management Assistance Program

NOTE: There are important new changes to DMAP, highlights of which appear in bold below. See section 1.30 of Title 6 NYCRR for full program details.

What is DMAP?

The Deer Management Assistance Program enables biologists to help landowners and resource managers implement site-specific deer management on their lands.

DEC issues a special permit and a determined number of deer tags to a landowner or resource manager, or a group of landowners or resource managers, whose property is in need of site-specific deer management efforts.

DMAP permits are valid for use only during the open deer hunting seasons and can only be used by licensed hunters. Only deer without antlers or having antlers measuring less than three inches in length may be taken under the authority of a DMAP permit.

Under DMAP, the landowner or resource manager is responsible for distributing the antlerless deer tags and for submitting an annual summary report to DEC listing the deer taken. Hunters hunting under DMAP are responsible for reporting each harvested deer to both the permit holder and to the department. The permit holder must submit their report to DEC by January 15, except that permit holders in Suffolk County must report by February 15.All DMAP permits will expire on July 31, three (3) years following the year of application, unless revoked earlier by the department.

No more than two DMAP tags (four as per below) may be used per hunter per year per DMAP permit. In other words, a DMAP hunter may fill two tags (four as per below) on each of multiple separate DMAP permits. There is no limit on the number of DMAP permits that a hunter may be authorized to take deer on. Additionally, the department, at its discretion, may authorize the use of up to four DMAP tags per hunter per year on DMAP permits in WMUs where the objective is to reduce the deer population.

DMAP is intended to supplement but not replace Deer Management Permits on specific sites. In some situations, Damage Permits may also be necessary to help landowners reduce deer numbers.

Am I eligible for DMAP?

To be eligible for DMAP, applicant(s) must own or control lands in New York State that meet one of the following criteria:

  • Land where agricultural damage has been documented or can be documented by the DEC, or:
  • A municipality that has an identified social or ecological problem due to deer within their municipal boundary. A DEC-approved management plan is no longer required. Municipal applicants must maintain a list of all participating properties with written consent of the associated landowners, and ensure a process of tag distribution that provides equal opportunity for licensed hunters. or:
  • Land where deer damage to significant natural communities has been documented or can be documented by the DEC, or:
  • Land contained in one or more parcels totaling 100 or more acres of forest land and sharing a contiguous boundary or multiple non-contiguous parcels of forest land of at least 100 acres each within the same or adjacent Wildlife Management Unit(s) where forest regeneration is negatively impacted by deer. This negative impact must be identified in an existing forest and/or land management plan for the land, or:
  • Land contained in one or more parcels totaling 1000 or more acres and sharing a contiguous boundary that is involved in custom deer management such as Quality Deer Management (QDM). A deer management plan is required, or:
  • New Category: Land where deer damage has been documented or can be documented by the DEC, and which is adjacent to or bordering a parcel of publicly-owned land that is at least 250 acres and is not open to deer hunting by law, regulation, or public agency policy.

Two or more landowners with contiguous boundaries may cooperate to meet the above acreage requirements to be eligible for DMAP.

What will DMAP do?

  • Control targeted populations of white-tailed deer.
  • Reduce agricultural and plant community property damage.
  • Improve landowner and sportsmen relationships. Times and public attitudes have changed; landowners no longer provide the level of open access they once did. DMAP offers an avenue for landowners to meet deer management needs on their property, while providing an incentive to give licensed hunters access to deer and deer hunting.
  • Help to provide sound deer management practices, such as Quality Deer Management, to produce custom white-tailed deer hunting opportunities.

How do I apply?

  • Application instructions as well as application deadline will be posted on the department's website.
  • Depending on the category under which you apply, you may be required to submit a deer management plan describing the background and scope of the deer problem or stating the deer management goals.

Frequently Asked Questions about deer management on private lands:

The Bureau of Wildlife is responsible for deer management in New York State. Landowners and hunters actually carry out that management.

Q. What is the most efficient way to control deer numbers?

A. Regulated hunting remains the most efficient means to manage deer, with adequate harvests of antlerless deer being essential to successful efforts.

Q. How many antlerless deer should be removed?

A. It is hard to generalize, but harvest and other losses must exceed the number of fawns produced on the area if you want to reduce deer numbers.

If you have a sense for how many fawns are born each year on your lands, you have a valuable piece of information for setting harvest goals. More often, past harvests have to be reviewed to shed some light on productivity levels. On heavily hunted areas, the buck harvest provides a rough estimate of the male fawns produced on the area; a similar number of female fawns would also be born.

On heavily hunted areas, in much of the Southern Zone, taking about 7 or 8 adult does for every 10 antlered bucks harvested will tend to stabilize deer numbers. If you want to reduce deer numbers, more does need to be taken for a year or two. On areas with less hunting, or restricted buck harvest, more does per antlered buck would need to be taken to accomplish the same result.

Doe harvest rates needed to stabilize deer numbers vary around the state due to differences in habitat quality and mortality rates other than legal hunting. Your local DEC Wildlife office can provide guidelines for your area.

Q. As a landowner, what can I do?

A. Like managing any resource, or controlling any nuisance problem, deer management requires forethought and planning. Knowing the management options available and the importance of antlerless harvest are key.

  • Evaluate what is being done on your land. Are you allowing hunting? If not consider providing access to some hunters. If you allow hunting, get to know the hunters using your lands and their harvest tendencies. Hunters who are only interested in taking bucks do little to help control deer numbers.
  • As the property owner you can control access and put conditions on those using your lands. Be sure hunters are aware of your deer management interests.
  • If your goal is to reduce deer numbers, encourage antlerless harvest. Ask, or insist, that hunters apply for and use Deer Management Permits. If the hunters currently hunting your lands are not willing to take antlerless deer, provide access to others that will.
  • Finally, when standard hunting opportunities alone do not provide the means to adequately control deer numbers or problems, apply for Deer Management Assistance Program Permits (DMAPs) or Deer Damage Permits (DDPs) as appropriate.