Douglas County adopts limited regulations for deer farms

The new ordinance grants authority for the county to inspect farms to ensure state standards are met.
A deer pokes its head out from behind trees near Lakeside. An ordinance adopted by the Douglas County Board aims to prevent chronic wasting disease in the natural deer herd by regulating captive cervid operations. (Jed Carlson /

Douglas County has limited options for oversight of captive deer operations.

The Board of Supervisors adopted some of those options into ordinance Thursday, Oct. 15. The goal of the ordinance is to protect the natural deer population in Douglas County from chronic wasting disease through regulation of captive deer farms and hunting ranches.

The ordinance gives the Planning and Zoning Department the ability to perform inspections on captive cervid operations on an annual basis to ensure fencing standards comply with state law. Cervids include deer, elk and moose. Those inspections could happen anytime if there is cause to believe fencing is not in compliance with state standards.

It also requires operators to ensure that cervids brought into Douglas County are in good standing with the Herd Status Program; have a certificate of veterinary inspection and chronic wasting disease certification; and an affidavit certifying the cervid’s origin 10 days prior to bringing the animal into Douglas County.

Operators not in compliance with the county ordinance could face a fine up to $200.


Supervisor Mary Lou Bergman said the only meaningful control the county would have is through the creation of a new agricultural zoning district. The county’s zoning committee has started discussions to create an Ag-2 zoning district. Bergman said work on the new zoning designation is expected to take about six months.

Adoption of the ordinance lifts the nearly two-year moratorium on importing cervids into Douglas County, according to Carolyn Pierce, corporate counsel.

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