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Landowner's Guide for Managing Deer

New York's deer hunting seasons span about three months. When taken advantage of, these seasons provide the means to manage deer populations. Successful management hinges on hunters being allowed adequate access so that they may take sufficient numbers of antlerless deer, most importantly adult does. While the archery and muzzleloader seasons provide opportunities to take antlerless deer, and should be taken advantage of, the harvest of antlerless deer under the Deer Management Permit (DMP) program is the primary means to manage deer. The DMP program is one of three programs designed to bolster management efforts or help reduce deer damage problems are described below.

Deer Management Permits(DMPs)

To manage deer in LARGE geographic areas, Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), DURING deer hunting seasons.

  • Available in all of the Southern Zone and WMUs 6A, 6C, 6G and 6K in the Northern Zone.
  • Available to hunters through the DECALS System from License Issuing Agents, the Department's web-site, or by direct mailing to hunters.
  • Only licensed hunters may use DMPs.
  • Permits numbers are set by DEC based on management needs in each Wildlife Management Unit.
  • Permits valid in all Southern Zone Seasons and starting November 1 in the Northern Zone.
  • Allow the taking of antlerless deer only.
  • Up to 2 DMPs available per hunter, depending on permit availability.
  • An additional 2 DMPs may be consigned to a hunter from other hunters.
  • DMPs valid for a specific Wildlife Management Unit.
  • Hunters must report harvest to DEC.
  • No fee, except $10 application fee with resident small & big game or nonresident big game license.

Application Deadline

  • Deadline for the initial application period is October 1.
  • Remaining permits will be available first come-first served during the late application period.

For more information on Deer Management Permits

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAPs)

To manage deer in SMALL geographic areas, individual properties or cooperatives, DURING deer hunting seasons.

Also called "D-Map" permits or tags.

  • Available throughout the state, in areas where existing laws (hunting opportunities) do not allow for adequate harvests.
  • Applications available to landowners from DEC Wildlife offices.
  • Taking by licensed hunters only.
  • Eligibility for permits based on management needs due to crop, forest or other vegetation damage or custom deer management interests.
  • Permits valid during all deer hunting seasons.
  • For antlerless deer only.
  • The number of DMAP tags issued is set based on acreage and damage.
  • DMAP tags are valid ONLY on permittee's lands or adjacent lands controlled by him/her.
  • Tags are issued to the landowner who then passes them to licensed hunters.
  • Limit of two DMAP tags per hunter in most areas.
  • Permittees and hunters must report harvest to DEC.
  • No charge.

Application Deadline
September 1st.
More information on the Deer Management Assistance Program

Deer Damage Permits (DDPs)

To reduce damage problems on individual properties, WHILE damage is occurring.

Often called "Nuisance" or "Damage" permits.

  • Available throughout the state.
  • Applications available to landowners from DEC Wildlife offices.
  • Taking by permittee and approved agents only.
  • Eligibility for permits is based on property damage and the lack of, or failure, of other practical alternatives to alleviate the problem.
  • Permit may be limited to harassment techniques or allow the taking of deer.
  • Permits generally are NOT available during an open deer hunting season.
  • Usually for antlerless deer only.
  • DEC issues tags to permittee for a limited number of deer.
  • Permit activity limited to lands specified on the permit.
  • Permittee must report all deer taken to DEC.
  • No charge.

Application Deadline
Permit issued when damage warrants it.
More information on Wildlife Damage Control

Frequently Asked Questions

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 guide lines 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, 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.