Deer management options still up in the air
PARKS Victoria has labelled their aerial deer shooting operation trialled over October 16 to 19, a success.
In total, 119 deer were shot by the professional aerial marksman in 20 hours of flying time, equating to nearly one every 10 minutes.
The helicopter was used to target deer in areas around Mt Buffalo, Mt Feathertop and Mt Pinnibar, which included inaccessible and rugged terrain.
During the operation, air observers were able to identify significant track networks and large wallows that had been formed by deer across the park.
An independent vet was employed to monitor the animal welfare outcomes.
All carcass locations were recorded and 10 per cent were examined by the vet to ensure shooting was carried out humanely. Those near waterways were visited and moved where required to prevent contamination of water catchments.
Representatives from key stakeholder groups, including the Australian Deer Association (ADA), the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA), the Game Management Authority (GMA), the Harrietville Community Forum and the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) attended a briefing on the operation on Wednesday 17th.
At the conclusion of the aerial control trial all of the data collected will be reviewed. The results will be combined with those from the ongoing ground shooting trial to find the best mix of methods to control the deer population. This will allow Parks Victoria to determine the level of deer control required to protect the environmentally sensitive areas and the best combination of techniques to use.
An ongoing, sustainable, landscape scale deer control action plan will then be prepared in line with the recently released Draft Victorian Deer Management Strategy.
Speakers from DELWP, Victoria Police, Game Management Australia and Wild Game Resources Australia will be at the Happy Valley Hotel next Wednesday November 21 from 6pm for a Deer Management Information Session.
Register online or call Gayle on 0448 983 109.
All management has been done in line with the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988).