Can I Shoot a Deer on My Property? (Check This First)

can you shoot deer on your property

When deer enter your property, they can threaten your safety and the health of any vegetation they may have their eyes on. But, before you think of shooting the deer, you need to know if you are allowed to shoot a deer on your property.

In general, you’re not allowed to shoot deer on your property if you live within city limits. Residents living in more rural areas typically have fewer restrictions and may be allowed to shoot deer on their property. It’s important to check with your state as regulations vary depending upon your location.

Although each state has its own hunting regulations, some similarities exist. Regardless, before you decide to shoot a deer on your property, you should always check with your local regulations. 

To give you a general idea of what is allowed, we will go through the regulations regarding shooting deer on your property and what you can do to keep them away if need be. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

If you are dealing with deer on your property and your state does not allow you to shoot the deer in your area, there may be other options for you.

Here are some of our favorite deer repellents:

1. Nature’s Mace Deer & Rabbit Repellent – An effective repellent that covers a large amount of area

2. Deer Repellent Pouches – An amazing option that hangs on your trees or plants

3. Mint Deer Repellent – An all-natural option that smells lovely (to you, not deers)

Shooting Deer on Your Property

Let’s discuss all the different regulations regarding shooting deer on your property.

Keep in mind throughout this article that different laws apply to each and every state and you should always consult with your state laws before making any hunting decisions.

Can You Shoot Deer on Your Own Property?

You are allowed to shoot deer on your property as long as you live in a rural area and your property is used for agricultural reasons and you have a firearm and hunting license.

There are several circumstances that make it okay to shoot deer on your property but each state has its own laws.

But, in general, you are allowed to shoot a deer on your property if you live in a rural area and the deer is causing destruction to your crops.

Therefore, your land has to be used for agricultural reasons and the deer is threatening your crops. 

You also must have a firearm license and a hunting license. Although, some states don’t require a hunting license.

You are not allowed to shoot a deer on your property if you live in a city as this can be too risky for your neighbors and their property. You are also not allowed to shoot a deer at night, again, for safety reasons. 

Can You Hunt a Deer in Your Backyard?

You are permitted to hunt deer in your backyard as long as you have a hunting and firearm license and you are hunting within deer season. 

Although each state has different laws, these laws are the most common. You are legally permitted to hunt deer in your backyard as long as you have a hunting license and a firearm license. 

You also have to ensure that you are hunting within deer season. Keep in mind, these laws only apply if you live in a rural area- this is not allowed in the city. 

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to hunt deer in your backyard if your backyard is used for agricultural reasons.

If the deers are a threat to your crops, you may have the right to shoot them out of season.

However, it is your responsibility to control the deer by setting up prevention methods to stop them from destroying your crops. It is better to prevent them from destroying your crops so you don’t have to kill them. 

Can You Shoot a Deer in Your Yard With a Bow?

You are legally allowed to shoot a deer in your yard with a bow under certain conditions. A bowhunting license is required on top of a hunting license. You must live in a rural area and it must be deer hunting season.

If you live in a city, you cannot use a bow to shoot a deer or a gun for that matter. Shooting in the city is illegal in most areas since it is far too dangerous for your neighbors. 

But, if you live in a rural area, you are permitted to use a bow as long as you have a bowhunting license and it is deer hunting season. 

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot Squirrels in Your Backyard

Can I Shoot Dear Eating My Garden?

It is generally not legal to shoot a deer that is eating from your garden. If a deer is eating your crops that you grow for agricultural reasons, yes, you can shoot the deer. But, for a small garden, typically no. 

Instead of shooting the deer, you should set up preventative measures that deter the deer from your garden. This can be anything from a fence to certain smells that are known to deter deers.

It is best to implement these strategies instead of being charged for killing a deer illegally. 

Can You Shoot a Deer on Your Property Without a License?

Some states do allow you to shoot on your property without a license, Vermont, for example. However, you must stay within the boundary of your property and only shoot within season.

Kind in mind that this only applies to rural areas. You may be allowed to shoot out of season if you have land that is used for agricultural reasons and the deer is feeding on your crops. 

Although this is allowed in Vermont, some states require that you always have a license, regardless of whether it is your own property. It is important to check with your state laws before deciding to shoot a pesky deer.

Is It Legal to Kill a Deer in Your Backyard?

It is legal to kill a deer in your backyard under some specific conditions. However, these conditions differ from state to state. But, in general, it is legal to kill a deer as long as you follow the rules. 

Most states require that you have a firearm and hunting license before you kill a deer in your backyard. You must also live in a rural area away from any other structures.

If there are homes nearby, you cannot shoot your firearm. 

Additionally, you have to be a certain length away from any roadways. For example, in Wyoming, you are not allowed to shoot anything if you are within 30 feet of a roadway. 

What Is the Punishment for Shooting a Deer in Your Backyard?

If you illegally shoot a deer in your backyard, you may be fined for deer poaching, hunting without a license, and putting your neighbors in harm if you live in a city.

The amount of the fine will depend on where you live. In New York, for example, the current fine for deer poaching is anywhere between $500 and $3000.

For hunting without a license, you can get charged up to $1000. 

You might also enjoy our post on If It is Illegal to Shoot Birds in Your Backyard

How Close to a House Can You Hunt?

How close to a house you can hunt depends completely on the state, and this law varies greatly. For example, in Georgia, there is no limit as to how far from a property line you have to be to shoot a firearm. 

But, in New York, you have to be at least 500 feet away from an occupied or used house, farm building, farm structure, and many other buildings. 

As you can see, hunting laws vary greatly between states. Before you decide to use your firearm, ensure that you check your local state laws so that you don’t break any laws. 

Can Deer Be Shot Out of Season?

The only circumstance that deer can be shot out of season is if you own agricultural land and the deer is becoming a nuisance to your crops, such as eating, crushing, or living among your crops.

However, it is your responsibility to prevent the deer from coming into your land before you decide to just shoot them. You should also begin by shooting indirectly at the deer to not kill them and only scare them away. 

You must follow all other rules of your state as well. If you need a hunting license to shoot an animal on your private property, this still applies if it is out of season. 

Can You Shoot a Deer on Your Own Property in California?

California has some of the strictest hunting laws in all of the United States and they differ throughout counties and cities. You are most definitely not allowed to shoot deer on your property if you live in the city.

But, whether or not you can shoot a deer on your rural property depends on the county you live in and the time of year and time of day.

 In California, there are separate hunting zones that you must abide by. In certain zones, mainly rural, you are allowed to shoot a deer if it is 150 yards away from an occupied dwelling. 

You might also enjoy our post on Can I Shoot a Bear on My Property?

Can You Shoot a Deer From Your House in NY?

The New York hunting laws state that you have to be at least 500 feet away from any dwelling or farm to shoot a deer unless you have permission from the person who lives there.

So, if you are wanting to shoot a deer who continuously comes to your property but your neighbor’s house is only 100 feet away, you have to ask your neighbor for permission before you shoot the deer. 

How Much Land Do You Need to Shoot on Your Own Property?

The amount of land you need to be able to shoot on your property differs between states but typically you need at least 50 acres and need to be at least 300 feet from any other house or farm.

As mentioned, this does differ between states. Some states don’t have any regulations regarding how far away from a house you have to while other states have very strict regulations.

Check with your state laws before shooting on your property.

Rules for Shooting on Your Property

Rules for shooting on your own property will differ between states but there are some common regulations. The main one being you have to shoot within the season of what you are planning to shoot.

For example, if you are planning to shoot a deer, you have to be shooting within deer season. However, this does not apply if you own agricultural land and the deer are destroying your crops.

Additionally, you need to abide by the regulations that state how far away from another house or farm you have to be before you shoot anything.

As mentioned, rules greatly differ between states when it comes to hunting. Always check with your local laws, state, and county, before engaging in hunting practices. 

When Is Deer Hunting Season?

Deer season typically runs anywhere from September to January. Each state has different dates for deer season and different lengths.

For example, in New Hampshire, deer season runs for three months from September 15 to December 15. But in California, it only runs for six weeks near the end of the year.

The season also changes each year, so it’s important to stay updated.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Bow in Your Backyard

How to Deter Deer From Your Property

For those of you not looking to hunt deer but to simply keep them away from your property, here are some natural deer deterrents that you can implement around your yard. 

What Smells Repel Deer

Deers have a heightened sense of smell, like most animals. If you need to deter deers away from your property you can use scents such mint, garlic, thyme, and oregano that should keep them away for good. 

Thankfully, you may already have a lot of these scents in your kitchen in the form of cooking spices! 

Or, you could create a garden full of certain plants that deers are known to hate such as mint, marigold, thyme, and lavender. When a deer smells these plants they will sense a predator is nearby and stay clear from the area. 

How Do You Deter Deer Naturally?

If you want to deter deer naturally from your property, you can either make a homemade concoction spray yourself or purchase one from Amazon that contains natural ingredients. 

To make your life easier, we recommend this natural deer repellent from Amazon. This deterrent can be sprayed on your yard without damaging your vegetation and will keep deer away at the same time. 

Does Coffee Deter Deer?

Coffee grounds may deter deer considering its strong bitter smell and deer’s sensitive sense of smell. The smell will signal to the deer that a predator is nearby causing them to avoid that area. 

However, coffee grounds are not well-known to deter deers. While it may work for some people, it doesn’t work for most.

You should try using a deterring spray that you can purchase or using scents that are more well-known to work such as peppermint and chili peppers. 

Does Vinegar Repel Deer?

Vinegar has such a strong scent that it is excellent to use to deter deer from your property. The strong scent will irritate the deer’s sense of smell and cause them to avoid the area.

The best way to use vinegar as a deer deterrent is to soak rags in vinegar and place them around your yard, especially in the areas the deers are known to go.

When the deers get close to the vinegar they will definitely take their business elsewhere. 

What Is a Good Homemade Deer Repellent?

A homemade deer repellent will save you money and time and you may even have all the ingredients already! The best DIY repellent spray will consist of essential oils and vinegar.

Follow this easy DIY deer repellent recipe to create one yourself:

  1. Add 8 ounces of white vinegar to a clean 16-ounce spray bottle.
  2. Add 6 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  3. Add 4 drops of rosemary essential oil.
  4. Close the lid of the spray bottle and shake all the ingredients together. 

What Is the Best Way to Keep Deer Out of Your Yard?

Installing a fence is definitely the most effective way to keep deer out of your yard. If the deer are not even able to see into your yard, they won’t find anything to be interested in and will leave your property alone.

This is why it’s important to install a tall and sturdy fence, such as a wooden one. Any short, plastic fences may not work since we all know how high a deer can jump. 

If you do not want to install a fence, you can try planting plants that are known to deter deer or you can spray your property with deer repellant sprays. 

You might also enjoy our post on If It is Illegal to Shoot Your Own Dog

Related Questions

Can I Shoot a Bear on My Property?

You are typically allowed to shoot a bear on your property if it is in self-defense since a bear attack can be lethal. But, if it is not in self-defense, then the regulations become more strict.

Certain bear species are going extinct and are therefore prohibited from hunting. But black bears can be hunted all over the United States. 

You are allowed to shoot the bear on your property if you live outside of the city and are a certain distance away from other dwellings, in some states.

You also might need a hunting license, but not all states require one. 

Can I Shoot a Dog on My Property?

The only time you are allowed to shoot a dog on your property is if you are protecting yourself or someone else from getting injured from the dog. However, sometimes this is still not enough.

You must be in immediate threat of serious injury from the dog in order to shoot it. Therefore, you can’t simply shoot a dog just because it is growling or barking at someone. 

Not many other reasons hold up for shooting a dog. If you shoot a dog without proper justification, you can get charged with animal abuse, which may mean time in jail and serious fines.  

Final Thoughts

Whether or not you are looking to hunt deer on your property or keep them away, knowing your state hunting regulations is the first step to making the right decision. 

Some states are more strict than others – looking at you, California – so don’t assume that your state is the same. Always do your due diligence or you may face some unwanted fines. 

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