Deer Crop Damage Permit Program
The Deer Crop Damage Permit Program (Connecticut General Statutes 26-82) provides commercial agriculturalists that have a minimum annual gross income of $2,500.00 and an actual or potential loss of this income from their cultivated agricultural crops, the opportunity to reduce damage caused by deer when the firearms deer hunting seasons are closed. More information about the program is listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the Deer Damage Permit Season?
The Deer Damage Permit Season is from January 1 through October 31 of the issuing year. No hunting is allowed on Sundays. During November and December, landowners should use the regulated deer hunting seasons (Archery, Shotgun/Rifle/Revolver, Muzzleloader, and/or Free Landowner) to address deer problems.
What laws apply?
All standard hunting regulations apply with two exceptions; may shoot ½ hour after sunset and muzzleloaders are prohibited. A Summary of Laws, Regulations and Policies governing the Issuance and Use of Deer Damage Permits will be provided to all deer damage permittees. Please refer to Connecticut's Hunting and Trapping web page for further information regarding current hunting laws and regulations.
How do I get an application?
An Application for Deer Crop Damage Permits (Word Form / PDF) can be downloaded from the DEEP website, or obtained by calling the Wildlife Division at 860-418-5952, Monday through Friday between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, or by sending an email request to DEEP.firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications requested by phone or email will be sent via email.
Can I still get crop damage permits if I do not have an email address?
If you do not have an email address, you may request that a hard copy of the crop damage application be mailed to you or you may stop in at the Franklin Wildlife Office (391 Route 32, North Franklin, 860-418-5952) to pick up an application. However, there may be a delay in receiving your application if it is mailed.
Can I send my application by fax or email?
Original, signed, and notarized applications will be processed, as well as applications that are scanned and emailed, as long as they have been notarized and the raised stamp is made visible. Stamps can be made visible by lightly rubbing the stamp with a pencil before scanning. Faxes will not be accepted.
Will a renewal application automatically be sent in the mail?
No, you may obtain a renewal application in the same manner as described above. You can request a renewal application by phone or email as early as November 1. If you saved your electronic application from the previous year, you can simply change the date and any other information, re-sign it, and have it notarized again prior to sending it.
What would require an inspection prior to permit issuance?
An inspection may be required for any of, but not limited to, the following reasons; a first time applicant, lapse of one or more years between applying for permits, change in acreage or commodities, applicant request to change weapon use, change in ownership by transfer or sale, permit revocation during a previous permit period, denial of deer damage permits in the past, as deemed necessary by the Wildlife Division, and/or receipt of a written request from the Law Enforcement Division. Inspections are conducted by designated department staff. If a field inspection is needed, call the Wildlife Division at 860-418-5952.
Do I need a Connecticut hunting license to be an agent (designated shooter)?
Yes, a Connecticut hunting license is required to be an agent for deer damage. Out-of-state residents must purchase a non-resident Connecticut hunting license. A person who has been convicted of any deer hunting violation within the last 3 years will not be allowed to be an agent. (CGS Section 26-82, 26-85, 26-86a, 26-86b or Section 26-86a-2)
Who is exempt from needing a license to hunt during the deer damage season?
Landowners, lessees, spouses, and/or lineal descendants who live on the property do not need a firearms hunting license. However, if using bow and arrow, a small game/deer archery permit is required.
Where can I get copies of the Deer Harvest Tags?
Crop Damage Harvest Tags are on the DEEP website. Deer Harvest Tags are also in the current Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide. If you use the tags from the printed guide, you should write crop damage on them. Copies of Deer Harvest Tags also will be emailed with your letter indicating that you are approved for crop damage. You may photocopy or print Harvest Tags as needed. Handwritten versions of these Harvest Tags also may be used. Handwritten versions must be signed and include your Conservation ID#, name, date and time of harvest, town of harvest, and the type of permit and tag that you used.
How many agents can hunt on my property?
A maximum of 3 people, including yourself, primary lessee, spouse, lineal descendant, or designated agent is allowed on your property. A person cannot be a designated agent for more than one landowner or lessee during any calendar year.
How many permits are allowed to be issued for my property?
Each permit contains 2 either-sex and 2 antlerless tags. Replacement tags become immediately available after reporting the harvest via the online or telephone reporting system. If you immediately report your harvest, you will always have 4 tags available. Immediately upon making your harvest, complete a Crop Damage Harvest Tag. The Harvest Tag must be kept with the deer until it is processed for consumption. While transporting the harvested deer, you may keep the Harvest Tag in your pocket or wallet. However, if you leave the harvest, the completed Harvest Tag must remain with the animal.
How do I report my harvest?
- During the entire season (January 1 - October 31), deer harvests must be reported via the Online Hunter Harvest Reporting System or by calling 1-877-337-4868 within 24 hours.
- If you report by telephone, you will need to know the 3-digit number code of the town in which the deer was harvested. The current Connecticut Hunting & Trapping Guide lists Connecticut's 169 towns and their identifying number codes. The Town Number Code Table is also available on the DEEP's website.
- After reporting via the internet or by telephone, you will be given a confirmation number to write on your Harvest Tag. This confirmation number will serve as proof that you have legally reported your harvest.
Can I change my designated agent?
Yes, if an agent cannot assist you as needed, a written request can be made to designate a new agent to receive deer damage permits. The request must state the following: agents’ name, address, phone number, date of birth, and Conservation ID#. Mail to: DEEP.email@example.com or Franklin Wildlife, Deer Damage Program, 391 Route 32, North Franklin, CT 06254.
Deer damage permits are valid from January 1 through October 31 for the year in which they are issued. During November and December, landowners should use the regulated deer hunting seasons (Archery, Shotgun/Rifle, Muzzleloader, and/or Free Landowner) to address deer problems. An application for deer damage permits may be obtained by calling the Wildlife Division at 860-418-5952. Applications must be requested annually (beginning in November) and will be emailed or given only to the landowner or primary lessee.
- Under Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-82, a landowner or primary lessee of land may submit an application to the Connecticut DEEP indicating a minimum annual gross income of $2,500.00 from the commercial cultivated production of grain, forage, fruit, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants or Christmas trees and an actual or potential loss of this income as a result of severe damage caused by deer. The application must be notarized. An inspection by DEEP personnel may be conducted to verify damage and commercial status and to determine if safety factors dictate weapon and hunting area restrictions.
- Permits may be issued to no more than 3 persons, which may include the landowner, primary lessee, or spouse, lineal descendant or the designated agent of such landowner or lessee. Each permit comes with 4 tags (2 antlerless and 2 either-sex). However, for every two antlered deer that are harvested and reported, you must harvest and report at least two antlerless deer before harvesting additional antlered deer.
The landowner, primary lessee, spouse, lineal descendant or designated agent may use a rifle, shotgun or bow and arrow to kill deer. Muzzleloaders are prohibited. The DEEP investigator may place restrictions on the weapon type and the areas where shooting may take place to ensure public safety. A centerfire rifle 6 millimeters (.243 caliber) or larger may be used if the landholding is at least 10 acres in size. A 12, 16, or 20 gauge smooth or rifled bore shotgun using ammunition loaded with a single projectile may be used.
- All agents must possess a valid Connecticut firearm hunting license and/or small game/deer archery permit, as applicable. Landowners and lessees who live on the property for which the permits are issued (or the spouse or lineal descendants of such landowner or lessee) do not need a firearms hunting license. However, if using a bow and arrow, a small game/deer archery permit is required.
- No person shall be a designated agent for more than one landowner or lessee in any calendar year. Non-residents may be designated agents. Permits will not be issued to any person who has been convicted of any deer hunting violation within the 3 years preceding the date of application.
- Permits may be used from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. No hunting is allowed on Sundays.
- Shooting or carrying a loaded firearm within 500 feet of any building occupied by people or domestic animals, or used for storage of flammable material is prohibited unless written permission for lesser distances is obtained from the owner of such building and carried by the permittee. Shooting from or across the traveled portion of any public roadway and shooting toward any person, building, or domestic animal also is prohibited.
- With exception of permittees using a bow and arrow and the landowner, all deer damage permittees must wear above the waist at least 400 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing visible from all sides during the periods of January 1 through the last day of February and September 1 through October 31.
- Carrying a loaded firearm in or shooting from a vehicle is prohibited.
- Permits may be revoked at any time for any violation of the statute (CGS Sec. 26-82) or regulations governing the deer damage permit program, or if any term under which the original permits were issued has changed (e.g., change of land ownership, loss of commercial status, permittee license suspension).
Content last updated in December 2023.