Deer damage control permits

Relief may be available for landowners suffering damage to their crops, gardens or ornamental trees because of deer. Deer damage control permits are available outside of Ohio’s hunting season (and occasionally during) to those who document damage caused by deer.

The permit allows a certain number of deer to be killed, depending on the extent of damage. In order to get a permit, landowners need to complete an online form documenting substantial damage caused by deer. An official with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources then follows up with the landowner via phone, email or an on-site visit. Sometimes the official will suggest an alternative to shooting the deer such as fencing, repellents or scare devices, said Amy Milam, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of legal education.

If the permit is authorized, only the designated shooters listed on the permit may kill a deer, and it’s encouraged that they be antlerless deer. The permit can be revoked if the terms listed on the permit are violated such as irresponsible shooting. Milam noted that it’s unlawful to sell, barter or trade any part of a deer killed or to keep antlers. She also said city or village ordinances may limit landowners’ ability to obtain a deer damage permit.

Last year hunters killed 172,040 white-tailed deer during the hunting season. ODNR said its hunting regulations are designed to maximize recreational opportunities and minimize conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Apply for deer damage permit

ODNR will consider issuing a deer damage control permit if landowners document substantial damage to:

Nursery stock
Christmas trees
Gardens and flower beds