Deer Management Options


Lethal Control

Lethal control methods focus on long-term deer population management. To achieve the greatest reduction in a deer herd, more than 30% of your doe population must be harvested. Deer meat should be utilized to prevent waste. 


Hunting within a municipality may occur under statewide deer hunting regulations with additional municipal restrictions. When hunting under statewide regulations, the only cost is a state hunting license paid for by the hunter. 

Archery is the option used most by municipalities.

  • Archery season runs annually Sept 15–Jan 15.
  • Community or landowner pays nothing.
  • Adequate access to private property is necessary to reduce populations.

Managed/controlled hunts can be done on property owned by the municipality or county.

  • Cities can choose to use MDC’s statewide managed-hunt system or administer the hunt on their own.
  • Cities can decide time of year (normally Sept 15–Jan 15) depending on method chosen and number of hunt days.
  • Rules, regulations, and requirements are specific to each hunt.
  • Hunters are selected through a lottery system to hunt specific dates and sites or through a sign-up process.
  • Managed hunts may require staff time to administer. 

Case study: Kansas City, Missouri, passed an ordinance in 2004 that allowed managed hunts. Hunting areas include private land; cemeteries; churches; urban parks; airports; residential, commercial, and industrial property. Between 2004 and 2017, archery hunters harvested 5,433 deer during this pilot program.


Sharpshooting by non-MDC, trained marksmen at deer bait stations can be effective and efficient for deer removal in locations where firearms are unsafe and deer numbers are too high to manage through archery. 

  • Sharpshooting requires a special permit from MDC.
  • Small-caliber centerfire rifles are most effective and are safe when used under controlled situations. 
  • Deer meat must be donated through a MDC program.
  • This option is expensive.
  • MDC will not be responsible for compensating contracted sharpshooters or for meat processing.

Case study: Town & Country, Missouri, has used sharpshooting to manage deer over the last decade. The municipality hired a professional deer-culling contractor to reduce the population, which was exceeding natural carrying capacity and human tolerance. During this effort, 1,573 deer were removed via sharpshooting. Deer numbers fell from 65 deer/sq. mile in 2009 to 26 deer/sq. mile in 2018.

Trap and Euthanasia

Trapping and euthanasia should be considered only in special circumstances.   

  • This method is effective only in small areas.  
  • Deer are individually trapped and euthanized with a captive bolt device.
  • A special permit from MDC is required.
  • Deer meat must be donated through an MDC program.
  • This usually does not require a municipal ordinance change.
  • This method is an expensive and inefficient way to lower populations.
  • MDC will not be responsible for compensating outside consultants.

Non-lethal Control 

Live trapping and sterilization

Live trapping and sterilization is the only method of permanent fertility control for free-ranging deer.

  • It requires animal capture and administration of drugs or surgery.
  • It requires authorization by the MDC director. 
  • This method causes high stress to animals and produces little, if any, reduction in deer density. 
  • It is increasingly expensive as more deer are sterilized.

Please note: Relocation is not an approved method of population control in Missouri. Due to potential spread of disease, stress on the animal, high costs, and lack of locations to take the deer, relocation is not a viable management option.