Deer harvest yields record
A GAME management report shows about 98,000 deer were taken by licensed recreational deer hunters in Victoria last year.
The document – produced by the Game Management Authority (GMA) in collaboration with the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research – provides summaries of key data based on telephone surveys of licenced deer hunters.
Throughout the survey period, more than 1600 licensed deer hunters were asked a series of questions related to their hunting activity, such as how many deer they harvested, what hunting methods they had used, where they hunted, the number of days they hunted, and the species of deer harvested.
GMA chief executive Greg Hyams said the report found the 2016 deer hunting season yielded record numbers.
“Surveys showed each licensed deer hunter hunted on about 6.6 days in 2016, or almost 208,000 hunter days in total, with an average seasonal harvest of about three deer, the highest ever recorded,” Mr Hyams said.
“The most commonly harvested species in 2016 was sambar deer, with an estimated total harvest of 80,875, followed next by fallow deer, with an estimated 15,059.
“In total, an estimated 97,776 deer of all species were harvested during the 2016 calendar year.
“Stalking was the most preferred hunting method used, accounting for the majority of the harvest, with scent-trailing hounds being the second most productive technique.
“Northern and north-eastern Victoria had the highest numbers of deer harvested during the year with top five towns Dargo, Mansfield, Licola, Jamieson and Myrtleford recording the greatest number of deer hunting days.”
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.
“Of the 51,000 licensed game hunters in Victoria, almost 35,500 or 70 per cent are endorsed to hunt deer,” he said.
“There was a bias towards female deer being harvested which suggests that deer are becoming sought after for their table qualities.
“We recognise that deer do have an impact on the environment and the data obtained from this report helps to inform decisions regarding their management in Victoria.”
The Victorian Government’s sustainable hunting action plan supports and guides the game hunting’s long-term growth, with specific actions relating to improving hunting opportunities, ensuring sustainability, promoting responsible hunting and expanding hunting benefits.
The government is also developing a statewide deer management strategy.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Victoria’s Game Management Authority believes about 98,000 deer of all species were shot in 2016.