Deer Management Program

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option


Based on estimates from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the number of deer in Chapel Hill may range from 480 to a high of 700 animals.

Please Don’t Feed the Deer!

Feeding deer is harmful to the deer population and creates a nuisance for neighbors. Deer fed by humans are more prone to disease because of an unbalanced diet. Deer may return to the same source even when the feed is no longer available and often end up “visiting” neighboring property.

Information for Property Owners and Hunters

Property owners in the Town of Chapel Hill may hunt deer with a bow and arrow during the appropriate hunting seasons and with the proper hunting licenses. This is managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, which establishes an archery season.

The Town of Chapel Hill has been approved to participate in the Urban Archery Season in 2019. The dates for this season are Sept.7-Nov. 1 then the extended Urban Archery time is Jan 11-Feb 16, 2020.

Property owners CAN…

  • Hunt for deer on their own property with a bow and arrow with a proper hunting license and during Central North Carolina’s deer season. 
  • Apply to NC Wildlife Resources Commission for a Depredation Hunting Permit by showing property damage in excess of $50. This permit allows property owners to hunt on their own property outside of regular and urban archery seasons. 
  • Hire professional hunters to hunt on their land with a bow and arrow during the period of time allowed under a Depredation Hunting Permit. 
  • Use landscaping plants that are less inviting to the deer for food. Assistance on these plant species is available from the NC Cooperative Extension Service. 
  • Use a variety of chemical spray applications that are designed to protect landscape plants from deer by making them unappetizing.

Property owners CANNOT…

  • Use firearms within the Town limits
  • Hire professional hunters to eliminate the deer on their property (except when hunting under a depredation permit)
  • Track a wounded deer onto adjacent property while hunting without the permission of the adjacent property owner

Regular hunters can ...

  • Hunt within the city limits on private property with permission from the land owner
  • You may not hunt on town owned property or park land, or any other publicly owned or University owned land. 


For more information on obtaining permits and hunting season dates visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) web page at


A public forum on the issue of deer in Chapel Hill was held in spring 2010. A panel of experts from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Orange County Health Department and others provided information related to deer overpopulation, including the effects of the deer population on the environment, potential health risks related to deer overpopulation and the feasibility of an urban bow hunt for deer.

Based on the information gathered at the public forum and through staff research, the Town Council took immediate action to ask the Wildlife Resources Commission to authorize the Urban Archery Season for Deer Hunting. This extension of the regular hunting season was approved by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.


Questions can be directed to the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, at or 919-968-2784.

Council Memoranda  

Petitions to Council

Information Materials

View Full Site