Deer damage assistance for farmers
The Division of Fish & Wildlife currently offers two programs to assist farmers who are experiencing deer damage to their crops. In situations where established deer hunting seasons do not provide adequate regulating of the deer population for commercial farming operations, growers can apply for the Deer Damage Assistance Program (DDAP) or the Severe Deer Damage Assistance Program (SDDAP).
The two assistance programs, created in 1996 and 2006 respectively, are designed to promote the harvest of antlerless deer, specifically does, which has been proven the most effective way of helping reduce the state's deer population. Anyone hunting with the specific intent of harvesting an antlered deer, or buck, must follow the regular hunting season and bag limit framework
With the addition of the Severe Deer Damage Assistance Program, the two programs are a step-wise process. Applicants must first go through the DDAP for at least one year and if deemed necessary may be eligible to "upgrade" to the SDDAP.
As with all deer harvested in Delaware, deer killed within the auspices of these programs must be registered within 24 hours either by a toll-free telephone call or via the Internet.
Deer Damage Assistance Program Application
Individuals enrolled in the DDAP receive free antlerless deer damage tags from the DFW to use in conjunction with the regular license tags received with each hunting license. Furthermore, enrollees are able to harvest antlerless deer during the archery season with a crossbow and during the muzzleloader seasons with a shotgun.
Severe Deer Damage Assistance Program Application
Agricultural producers enrolled in the SDDAP also receive antlerless deer damage tags from the DFW, but unlike the DDAP, are able to harvest antlerless deer outside of the regular hunting season, specifically August 15 – May 15. The harvest of deer between May 16 and August 14 is prohibited due to the occurrence of the fawning season. Within this program, participants are able to use a shotgun, muzzleloader, crossbow, compound bow, recurve bow, or longbow to harvest antlerless deer every day of the week that the program allows, except on Sundays.
Delaware Deer Management Plan: