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Deer Damage Permits

Deer Damage Permits (DDPs) may be issued in situations where hunting does not reduce deer populations sufficiently to alleviate the negative impacts of high deer densities. These impacts include:

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

Under most circumstances, deer populations in rural areas are maintained through hunting at levels that minimize extensive deer-related damage. However, damage may still occur:

  • to native vegetation especially attractive to deer;
  • to lands being managed for agricultural, horticultural or silvicultural purposes - these lands are especially likely to experience impacts if they are in close proximity to seasonal deer concentrations or adjacent to areas with low or no hunting pressure; and
  • in urban and suburban environments where deer population management through hunting is constrained by local laws and limited hunter access - in these areas, deer-vehicle collisions, damage to native vegetation and ornamental plantings, and concerns about tick-borne diseases associated with deer can create a need for population reduction.

DDPs are not meant to be a replacement for hunting, but should augment deer harvest by licensed hunters. Landowners, municipalities, or agencies seeking DDPs should incorporate recreational hunting in their deer population control efforts to the extent that is legal and practical, and should make necessary changes to increase the efficacy of hunting on their lands.

DDP Quick Facts:

  • DDP applications are available here (PDF, 150 KB) and from regional DEC Wildlife offices.
  • Eligibility for permits is based on demonstrated impacts and the lack or failure of other practical alternatives to alleviate the problem.
  • Applications from municipalities or agencies must include a plan for monitoring impacts to evaluate the effectiveness of deer population reduction.
  • Applications from municipalities or agencies should specify how they intend to distribute the venison resulting from their activities.
  • Permit may be limited to harassment techniques or allow the killing of deer through a variety of non-hunting techniques (e.g. shooting at night, use of bait, or capture-and-kill).
  • Surgical sterilization may be permitted in certain circumstances as part of an integrated deer management program that includes lethal removal.
  • Relocation of deer from problem areas is not allowed.
  • Taking by permittee and approved agents only.
  • Permits are generally issued for use before or after open deer hunting seasons.
  • Most permits are 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.
  • There is no charge.
  • There is no application deadline; a permit is issued when damage warrants it.