Deer harvest soars
The 2017 deer harvest report reveals 106 000 deer were taken by approximately 37 000 licensed recreational deer hunters across Victoria.
Produced by the Game Management Authority (GMA) in collaboration with the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, the deer harvest report provides data on the number of deer harvested annually based on regular telephone surveys of licensed deer hunters.
Deer hunters were asked about their hunting activity including how many deer they harvested, what hunting methods they used, where they hunted, the number of days they hunted, and the species of deer harvested.
The results only account for deer harvested recreationally by licensed hunters and not those taken as part of control programs.
GMA chief executive officer Greg Hyams said the 2017 deer harvest was the largest on record, continuing the trend of an increase in both the number of deer recreationally harvested and number of licensed deer hunters. “During 2017, total licensed deer hunter numbers peaked at an all time high of 36 968, including 4829 hound hunters,” he said. “Surveys showed each licensed deer hunter hunted for approximately 5.5 days in 2017, or 184 300 hunter days in total, with an average seasonal harvest of three deer.”
The most commonly harvested species in 2017 was Sambar deer with an estimated total harvest of 88 816, followed next by Fallow deer, with an estimated 15 515. “While stalking was the most preferred hunting method used, accounting for the majority of the harvest, hunting Sambar deer with the aid of hounds was more efficient,” Mr Hyams said. “The top five towns where deer were harvested were Myrtleford, Mansfield, Bright, Dargo and Licola and the top five towns where most deer hunting occurred were Mansfield, Myrtleford, Licola, Dargo and Omeo. The majority of deer were taken on public land.”
Mr Hyams said the increasing harvest is likely due to the increasing distribution and abundance of deer as well as greater numbers of deer hunters in Victoria.