The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most abundant species of the deer family and is common in most of the U.S. and throughout Kentucky. In areas where they are not hunted or have limited hunting, abundant deer can damage crops and ornamental plantings and increase the potential for deer-vehicle collisions.
The most effective and cost efficient way to control deer numbers is to utilize deer hunters. Allowing deer hunters to access your land during the deer season and encouraging them to take antlerless deer will help reduce the number of deer and deer damage in your area. Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry has initiated a program, Kentucky Whitetail Access, which matches landowners with hunters to help reduce deer damage. Hunters can be very effective in reducing the deer herd and can fill their freezers fast. So, when hunters run out of room in their own freezers they can donate deer to Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry. Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry is a statewide hunger relief program dedicated to providing a healthy source of protein to needy Kentuckians by processing and distributing donated venison. Visit Hunting in Kentucky for more information on hunting deer in Kentucky.
While there are a wide variety of repellents on the market today, most are considered to be of limited effectiveness when used by themselves. But if used in conjunction with other types of control methods, they can be effective. Repellents may prove to be more effective on very small crops or landscaping. For more information about repellents visit Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
Scare devices can be effective in keeping deer away from both small and large cultivated areas. These devices often produce short-term results but may be more effective when combined with other damage control techniques. Some examples of scare tactics are the use of propane cannons, a dog on a long tether, fireworks, and gunfire. Success can be improved by taking action at the first sign of a deer problem.
Where deer are abundant or crops are particularly valuable, fencing may be the only way to effectively minimize deer damage. Several fencing designs are available to meet specific needs. Temporary electric fences are simple inexpensive fences useful in protecting garden and field crops during snow-free periods. For more information, visit Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
Additional Control Measures for Severe Damage
If you are a landowner receiving severe damage to your property caused by deer, you may contact your local private lands biologist (PLB) or conservation officer (CO) to request a site visit. During the site visit the PLB or CO will recommend many different solutions to alleviate the damage, such as, exclusion, repellants, hunting, In-season control permits and out-of-season kill permits if necessary.
To find your local contact, visit Find My Local Contact.
In-Season Control Permits for Damage
Deer Control Permits (301 KAR 2:176) may be issued to landowners who are experiencing damage to their property. These permits are issued to landowners who need additional deer permits during the hunting season and are for antlerless deer only . The purpose of deer control permits are to help mitigate damage in areas where the number of antlerless deer legal for harvest is limited due to zone restrictions. Each control permit issued has a unique identifying number that is used to report a single harvested deer via telecheck. There are two ways to telecheck your harvest:
Telecheck by phone – call 800-245-4263
Online Telecheck - login to "My Profile" and report your harvest
Out-of-Season Control Permits for Damage
If damage is extreme and outside the hunting season frame work landowners may be issued permits to take deer out of the season. These are used in extreme cases and the landowner must have explored all options above before these permits can be issued. Furthermore, pursuant KRS 150.170(7) , landowners have the right to kill any wildlife in the act of causing damage on their property.
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For more information on the many different tools used to manage deer problems, visit Managing White-tailed Deer Problems in Kentucky.