(1) Subject to rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the commission, the secretary of the commission may designate, by order, special deer depredation seasons or extensions of existing deer hunting seasons. The secretary may designate a depredation season or an extension of an existing deer hunting season whenever he or she determines that deer are causing excessive property damage. The secretary shall specify the number of permits to be issued, the species of deer allowed to be taken, the bag limit for such species including deer for donation in accordance with the deer donation program established pursuant to sections 37-1501 to 37-1510, the beginning and ending dates for the depredation season or hunting season extension, shooting hours, the length of the depredation season or hunting season extension, and the geographic area in which hunting will be permitted. Hunting during a special depredation season or hunting season extension shall be limited to residents, and the rules and regulations shall allow use of any weapon permissible for use during the regular deer season.
(2) The depredation season may commence not less than five days after the first public announcement that the depredation season has been established. Permits shall be issued in an impartial manner at a location determined by the secretary. The commission shall, pursuant to section 37-327, establish and charge a fee of not more than twenty-five dollars for a special depredation season permit. The commission shall use the income from the sale of special depredation season permits for abatement of damage caused by deer. The commission shall also provide for an unlimited number of free permits for the taking of antlerless deer upon request to any person owning or operating at least twenty acres of farm or ranch land within the geographic area in which hunting will be permitted and to any member of the immediate family of any such person as defined in subdivision (2)(a) of section 37-455. A free permit shall be valid only within such area and only during the designated deer depredation season. Receipt of a depredation season permit shall not in any way affect a person's eligibility for a regular season permit.