The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP): What It Is and Why You Should Enroll

What is DMAP?

Better known as DMAP, a Deer Management Assistance Program is offered by many state wildlife agencies to help manage deer populations when management can’t otherwise be accomplished solely through regularly issued hunting licenses, tags, or permits.

DMAP provides additional antlerless tags or permits to meet site specific goals like reducing deer density, balancing the buck:doe ratio, or reducing deer impacts to agriculture or other plants. These tags aren’t “crop damage permits,” however, and are to be used by hunters during the legal hunting season.

Benefits of DMAP

The overall goal of DMAP is to match the available food and cover with the deer population in an effort to maintain a healthy, balanced deer herd in line with what the habitat can provide, also known as carrying capacity.

State wildlife agencies work with landowners to set achievable goals on their property. DMAP is property-specific, which allows agencies to not only strengthen their relationships with landowners, but it provides more efficient management where it is needed most.

Another benefit of DMAP is that it provides additional hunting opportunities which just increases the appeal of the program to hunters everywhere.

DMAP Requirements

Not all states have DMAP, but in a recent survey published in NDA’s 2022 Deer Report, 22 of the 46 states that provided information for the survey stated that they had DMAP or a comparable type deer management program in place.

In NDA’s latest survey of state agencies, 22 of 46 states that responded said they offered DMAP (“Yes” or dark blue in the map above).

A lot of states have a minimum acreage required to participate in the program. This can be anywhere from 1 to 1,000 acres.

In many cases, a single landowner might not be able to meet the acreage requirements, which can lead to building relationships with neighboring landowners to participate in DMAP or even lead to forming wildlife cooperatives.

Some states also require additional data collection and reporting to participate in DMAP. This could include conducting observation surveys prior to season, getting an approved harvest management plan from the state agency, providing proof of damage caused by deer, or collecting and reporting harvest data during the hunting season.

In some states, DMAP is not always limited to just resident private landowners either. Municipalities, other public lands, as well as non-resident landowners could also be enrolled to help accomplish their deer management goals.

Summary

DMAP is another great tool to have in your deer management toolbox. If you are interested in learning more about DMAP in your state, contact your local deer biologist to find out the details of how you can get enrolled. A list of these contacts is printed in the back of our NDA Deer Report.

NDA’s Deer Outreach Specialists, Cheyne Matzenbacher and Karlin Gill, along with Missouri Department of Conservation’s Private Lands Deer Biologist, Kevyn Wiskirchen, will be hosting a DMAP webinar on July 28, 2022 at 6 pm CDT which will cover the basics of DMAP and the details of the program in Missouri. Click here to join.


About Cheyne Matzenbacher

Cheyne Matzenbacher is an NDA Deer Outreach Specialist in Missouri. A Missouri native and lifelong deer hunter, Cheyne works with private landowners to establish and support Wildlife Management Cooperatives in the southern half of half of the state.