Oh deer, they’re a big prob­lem

Shepparton News - Country News - - WOMEN IN AG FORUM -

The In­va­sive Species Coun­cil is con­cerned that re­cent changes to NSW laws sur­round­ing feral deer con­trol could make it more dif­fi­cult for farm­ers to con­trol the pest an­i­mal.

For most of the state, deer hunt­ing rules have been re­laxed, but there is no re­lief for farm­ers in ar­eas where hunt­ing rules were al­ready par­tially sus­pended such as the south-east, Illawarra, Up­per Hunter, North­ern Table­lands and Port Mac­quarie.

In­va­sive Species Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­drew Cox said the gov­ern­ment was ‘‘forc­ing shoot­ers through an ex­tra layer of red tape by in­sist­ing they get a game li­cence as well.’’

‘‘Con­trol­ling feral deer needs to be made eas­ier and pres­sure ap­plied to ir­re­spon­si­ble farm­ers that al­low feral deer to breed up.

‘‘The lat­est changes are a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment.

‘‘Ex­plod­ing deer num­bers have made feral deer the state’s big­gest pest prob­lem,’’ Mr Cox said.

He said feral deer caused havoc; they ate pas­tures and crops and cre­ated road safety is­sues, were a biose­cu­rity threat and de­stroyed creeks and for­est.

‘‘The game sta­tus of feral deer in NSW is an anachro­nism and must be dropped,’’ he said.

‘‘Deer are no dif­fer­ent to other feral an­i­mals such as pigs, foxes and goats.’’

In Vic­to­ria, deer are also con­sid­ered game and all hun­ters of the an­i­mal must hold a deer (stalk­ing) li­cence.

This year, the pop­u­la­tion is es­ti­mated to have passed one mil­lion, which trig­gered the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s release of the Draft Vic­to­rian Deer Man­age­ment Strat­egy.

The strat­egy aims to en­hance deer man­age­ment through part­ner­ships and com­mu­nity col­lab­o­ra­tion; re­duce the im­pact of deer on key en­vi­ron­men­tal, agri­cul­tural, cul­tural and so­cial as­sets; in­crease aware­ness, un­der­stand­ing and ca­pac­ity to man­age deer; and re­duce il­le­gal deer hunt­ing.

It is also sug­gest­ing a re­duc­tion in red tape for hun­ters and busi­nesses that want to process slain deer for eat­ing.

A na­tional Se­nate in­quiry into the im­pacts of feral deer, pigs and goats held its first hear­ings in Mel­bourne on Novem­ber 20.

Num­bers in­creas­ing . . . Deer num­bers are con­tin­u­ing to grow across the coun­try, cre­at­ing a nu­mer­ous is­sues for farm­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment.

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