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Species: Deer

Protection Level
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Federally Protected No
State Protected Game Species
VA Nuisance Species No


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White-tailed Deer
Odocoileus virginianus

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Odocoileus virginianus
[© Charles Warren, CMI]
county distribution map for Odocoileus virginianus

Sika Deer
Cervus nippon nippon

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county distribution map for Cervus nippon nippon

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In Virginia deer are deemed a game species. Deer can only be taken during the designated hunting season 29.1-100, 29.1-513. If the preventative measures outlined below do not prove fruitful in deterring deer from causing damage to a landowners property the landowner can contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishers to have a game warden visit their property who access the damage and will deem the best management option (DMAP, DCAP, Kill Permit) if any for dealing with the problematic animal. The contact for a local game warden can be found on the Who to Call page.

In Virginia it is illegal to
• trap deer at any time. 4VAC15-50-100
• kill a deer anytime other than during a defined deer hunting season. 29.1-100,29.1-513
• poison any animal (including deer) other than rats and mice on your property. 4VAC15-40-50

In Virginia it is legal to
• contact VDGIF to access damage and determine if a damage permit is warranted. The VDGIF reserves the right to trap and move problem deer. §29.1-529



Management Options
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In Virginia Deer may NOT be

  • trapped,
  • captured,
  • or killed without a permit.

For instances where non-lethal deer management has not worked the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has created 5 management options available to landowners and municipalities. These five programs, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), Damage Control Assistance Program (DCAP), Kill Permits, Deer Population Reduction Program (DPOP), and Urban archery season all require meeting with a VDGIF representative to determine if an area qualifies for one of the programs. The objectives of each of these programs are:

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).---- DMAP is a site-specific deer management program that increases a landowner's or hunt club's management options by allowing a more liberal harvest of antlerless deer than offered under general hunting regulations. The primary goal of DMAP is to allow landowners and hunt clubs to work together on a local level to manage their deer herds. Landowners/hunt clubs have the option to increase, decrease, or stabilize deer populations on their property enrolled in DMAP. These objectives are accomplished by harvest strategies that control the number of antlerless deer taken, primarily through the issuance of DMAP tags. DMAP tags can be used only to harvest antlerless deer (does and male fawns) and are not valid for antlered bucks.

Damage Control Assistance Program (DCAP).----Like DMAP, DCAP started in 1988 and also is a
site-specific deer damage management program designed to increase a landowner's management options by allowing a more liberal harvest of antlerless deer than offered under general hunting regulations. The primary objective of DCAP is to provide site-specific assistance to control crop depredation or other property damage by deer. A landowner who demonstrates damage from deer can use a kill permit at the time of damage (see below) or may defer removing deer until the hunting season using DCAP tags. DCAP permit tags can be used only to harvest antlerless deer (does and male fawns). DCAP is not available in cities and counties east of the Blue Ridge in which the general firearms deer season is full season either-sex (except Fairfax County).

Kill Permits.----As provided by Virginia State Statute §29.1-529. Killing of deer or bear damaging
fruit trees, crops, livestock or personal property or creating a hazard to aircraft, the VDGIF is authorized to permit owners or lessees of land to kill deer where deer cause commercial or personal property damage. Under the kill permit system, a landowner/lessee who sustains deer damage must report the damage to the local game warden for investigation. If, upon investigation, the game warden (or designee of the Director) determines that deer are responsible for the reported damage, he/she may authorize in writing that the owner/lessee, or other person(s) designated by the game warden, be allowed to kill deer when they are found upon the property where the damage occurred.

Deer Population Reduction Program (DPOP).----DPOP is a site-specific urban deer management tool that allows managers of public or private properties with unique deer management needs (e.g., parks, airports) to use sharpshooters and/or recreational deer hunters to kill extra antlerless deer outside of traditional established seasons.

Urban archery season.----An urban archery season was initiated in 2002 to help reduce deer-human
conflicts in urban areas while providing additional hunting recreation. Only antlerless deer may be taken during this season. This special season provides hunters with 2 additional weeks before the statewide archery season begins in October and 3 additional months after general firearms season ends in January. Several urban counties and all but a few cities and towns are eligible to participate in this urban archery program. In order to participate, a locality must submit its intent to VDGIF and advise VDGIF of any applicable weapons ordinances or other restrictions. The season offers maximum flexibility to localities. No special hunting licenses or permits are required beyond archery and big game licenses. (http://www.dgif.state.va.us/draftdeerplan/2006draftdeerplan.pdf)

Virginia Sources

Low-Cost Slant Fence Excludes Deer from Plantings, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Other Sources

Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife, Maryland Cooperative Extension (need to scroll to appropriate species)

Deer Control in Home Gardens, West Virginia Cooperative Extension

Deer Control and Management Information, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management

Deer Problems in Residential Areas, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission

High-Tensile Fence—Do’s and Don’ts, West Virginia Cooperative Extension

Identification of Deer Damage, West Virginia Cooperative Extension

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage- 1994

Wildlife Damage Management: Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage, Maryland Cooperative Extension

Life History
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Life History information can be found at the Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service Web page.

White-tailed Deer

Sika Deer


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There are many diseases that wildlife species are capable of carrying and transferring to humans (zoonotic diseases). While all zoonotic diseases are a serious threat to humans this website will only address those that are a concern for Virginia residents.