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Deer Damage Permits

Deer Damage Permits (DDPs) may be issued in situations where deer harvest during the regular hunting seasons doesn't reduce the negative impacts of abundant local deer populations. These impacts include:

  • agricultural, horticultural, and silvicultural damage;
  • impacts to biodiversity and native plant communities; and
  • threats to human health and safety.

Damage occurs under a variety of circumstances. In most cases, deer populations in rural areas are managed through hunting. This lowers the impact of deer-related damage. Some farmland may experience damage due to seasonal attractants, such as crops. If the property is located near areas with low or no hunting pressure, damage is more likely to occur. Likewise, urban and suburban environments attract deer due to limited hunter access. Vehicle accidents, vegetation damage, and tick-borne diseases create a need for population reduction.

DDPs are not meant to be a replacement for hunting. They should increase deer harvest by licensed hunters. Individuals seeking DDPs should include legal recreational hunting in their efforts.

DDP Rules and Regulations

Deer may only be taken by the assigned permit holder and approved agents. Permit activity outside of approved lands is prohibited. All deer taken must be reported to DEC. Permits are generally issued for use before or after open deer hunting seasons. Deer damage permit activity may be limited to harassment techniques, though additional methods may be approved. They may allow the killing of deer through a variety of non-hunting techniques. These methods include shooting at night, use of bait, or capture-and-kill. Surgical sterilization of deer, as part of an integrated deer management program that also includes lethal removal, may be permitted. Removal of deer exceeding approved numbers is prohibited. Tags are provided for the number of approved deer per permit. Most permits are for the removal of antlerless deer (adult does and fawns) only. Capture and relocation methods are not covered under DDPs.

DDP Application and Eligibility

Individuals interested in obtaining a Deer Damage Permit should download a DDP application (PDF) or contact your regional DEC Wildlife office. Eligibility for permits is based on demonstrated impacts and the lack or failure of other practical alternatives to reduce the problem. Applications from municipalities or agencies must include a plan for monitoring impacts. This helps determine if their efforts are effective. Additionally, they should specify how they intend to distribute the venison. Applications are free and there is no deadline.