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Deer Farming Legal States 2023

Deer Farming Legal States 2023

While farms with cows, sheep, and pigs are more common, there are farms for other animals as well. Deer farms are less common but they are allowed in some states in the country.

Deer farms are legal in eighteen states with no permit required. These states are Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Vermont. It is also legal in Massachusetts, though as a limited venture.

While deer farms are legal in Kentucky, the white-tailed deer is normally a bane to farms because it eats plants and damages property. This means that deer would normally be kept on specialized farms.

There are many about 250 deer farms in Missouri, as deer farming popularity continues to grow within the state.

States That Require Deer Farming Licenses

Another group of states allows deer farming as long as the proper permit has been obtained. In California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, a license is required to own and operate a deer farm. Each of these states has its own rules for licensing.

California allows only fallow deer to be kept on farms. Oregon also limits ownership to fallow deer and reindeer.

Colorado identifies deer as wildlife, so they require a license to own, just like any other wild animal.

States That Prohibit Deer Farming

It is illegal to keep deer as pets or farm animals in Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

Montana allows deer farms that were already in operation to continue, but will not allow any new deer farms. Virginia and Alabama both prohibit keeping deer as pets.

Deer Farming Legal States 2023

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Deer Farming Legality
AlabamaIllegalAlabama law prohibits keeping wild animals as pets
ArizonaIllegalArizona has banned traditional deer farms where private owners raise deer to hunt or sell byproducts because of concerns about the potential
CaliforniaLicense RequiredOnly fallow deer (Dama dama) may be possessed for deer farming purposes. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be residents of California.
ColoradoLicense Requiredconsidered wildlife or alternative livestock and require a permit or license issued by United States Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture, or Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
District of ColumbiaIllegalThe Council of the District of Columbia is authorized to restrict, prohibit, regulate, and control hunting and fishing and the taking, possession, and sale of wild animals in the District; provided,
GeorgiaLicense RequiredNo person shall possess, buy, import, or transport farmed deer or engage in or carry on the business of deer farming without first applying for and obtaining a deer-farming license from the Commissioner of Agriculture.
IllinoisLegalWhitetail deer are normally the foe of the Illinois farmer, eating plants and damaging property. But some farms welcome them
IndianaLicense RequiredThere are deer and elk farms in a number of Indiana locations, but the top 10 counties for deer and elk farming, ranked by the number of BOAH permits (Indiana Board of Animal Health) in 2011
IowaIllegallandowner in Iowa is prohibited from keeping whitetail deer, odocoileus virginianus, unless kept as farm deer under Iowa Code § 170, or on a hunting preserve under Iowa Code § 484C.
KansasLicense RequiredRaising or owning domesticated cervids requires a Domesticated Deer Permit (DDP) in Kansas.
KentuckyLegalKentucky deer farmers are permitted and regulated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife.
LouisianaLicense RequiredAny person who engages in owning, raising, selling, or harvesting imported exotic deer, antelope, elk, farm-raised white tail deer, and other exotic cervidae, for any purpose, on farms or preserves of which he is the owner or lessee shall apply to the commissioner for a license to do so.
MarylandIllegalMaryland is one of three states that prohibit deer farming
MassachusettsLegaldeer farming is a limited venture in Massachusetts
MississippiLegalControlled breeding of white-tailed deer within a high-fenced enclosure may be allowed by permit at an annual cost of Four Hundred Fifty Dollars ($450.00).
MissouriLegalThe deer farming industry continues to grow in Missouri with more than 250 farms raising cervid livestock for various purposes.
MontanaIllegalNo new deer farms are allowed in Montana. Only those that were in business at the time of the 2000 initiative which stopped all new game
NebraskaIllegalstates it is illegal to have a cervid breeding facility in Nebraska
New HampshireIllegal
New JerseyLicense RequiredFarmers may only apply with one application. “Occupant” Farmer Deer Permits are for the farmer and immediate family who reside on the farm. The permit will be valid only for the farm property where the applicant resides. “Non-occupant” Farmer Deer Permits are for a farmer who actively farms at least 30 tilled acres.
New MexicoLegalOnly mule deers are legal to breed here
New YorkLicense RequiredThis license authorizes individuals to breed captive white-tailed deer and operate a commercial or private deer hunting preserve.
North CarolinaLegal
North DakotaLegal
OklahomaLicense RequiredThere are now 193 commercial deer breeders in Oklahoma. They are licensed by the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
OregonLicense RequiredPersons holding fallow deer and reindeer under a Cervid Propagation License — Type 2 must register with the Oregon Department of Agriculture an individual brand
Rhode IslandLicense RequiredSpecial Permits may be issued to commercial operators only for control of deer in locations where they are causing significant damage
South CarolinaLicense RequiredA person may not possess, buy, import, or transport farmed deer or engage in or carry on the business of deer farming without first obtaining a deer farming license from the Department of Natural Resources.
South DakotaIllegal
VirginiaIllegalprivate individuals are not allowed to own or keep deer in Virginia
WashingtonIllegalIt is unlawful to offer for sale, sell, purchase, or barter game-farm raised deer and elk,
West VirginiaLicense RequiredWest Virginia State Code mandates that farmed cervid facilities be licensed with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
WisconsinLicense RequiredBy Wisconsin law, you may not move live farm-raised deer with​in Wisconsin unless the deer is: Accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI)
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Deer Farming Legal States 2023